Nono, Luigi

Nono, Luigi

(lo͞oē`jē nô`nō), 1924–90, Italian composer, b. Venice. Nono studied with Hermann Scherchen and Bruno Maderna. He adopted the twelve-tone method of composition (see serial musicserial music,
the body of compositions whose fundamental syntactical reference is a particular ordering (called series or row) of the twelve pitch classes—C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B—that constitute the equal-tempered scale.
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), and his first major work, the Canonic Variations (1950), is based on a tone row from Arnold Schoenberg's Ode to Napoleon. (Nono married Schoenberg's daughter in 1955.) Reflecting his Communist views, several of Nono's works are overtly political. Examples are the cantata Il canto sospeso (1956), to texts from letters by resistance fighters, for soloists, chorus, and orchestra and the antifascist opera Intolleranza (1960–70). In later years Nono wrote electronic music. A Floresta é jovem e cheja de vida (1967) is for three speakers declaiming texts expressing the struggles of Vietnamese guerrilla fighters, with clarinet, bronze sheets, and tape. The most important work of his later years was the lengthy and ambitious opera Prometeo (1984), widely considered his masterpiece.

Nono, Luigi

 

Born Jan. 29, 1924, in Venice. Italian composer. Fought in the Italian resistance movement.

Nono studied under G. F. Malipiero, the Italian conductor and composer B. Maderna, and the German conductor H. Scherchen. In the 1950’s, Nono, P. Boulez, and K. Stock-hausen were the leaders of the avant-garde in music. An exponent of the tone-row (serial) technique, Nono uses aleatory and electronic music.

Nono’s works, which deal with the most important problems of contemporary life, are a protest against totalitarianism, fascism, and violence against the individual. Among his works are Epitaph to Federico García Lorca (1953), the cantata Interrupted Song (1956; text based on letters of fighters condemned to death for their participation in the European resistance movement), and the orchestral composition Polish Diary 1958 (1959; written after a visit to the death camps). Nono is also the composer of the opera Intolerance 1960 (1961), the cantata On the Bridge of Hiroshima: Songs of Life and Love (1962), and a composition for voice and electronic music (A Specter Haunts the World, 1970). In addition, he has composed lyrical music celebrating the beauty of life.

L. G. BERGER

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