A Letter to a Friend Regarding Berio’s Folk Songs

Words from Randy
Letter to Ellen

Dear Ellen,

I went to the CalArts library yesterday and listened to Cathy Berberian singing Berio’s Folk songs. Thank you for introducing me to them. Berio’s arrangements are quite beautiful, especially some of the sparser stuff where he is not so much “being Berio”. But she is the one who really makes it happen. I found myself wanting to know what the whole scene was like at that time — the personalities, who was hanging on who, who was pretentious, who was having a good time, who was jealous, who was generous. I did sense the kind of dynamic energy I associate with fresh collaborations, or with going (not toward something in particular but just GOING). In a way I felt like the pieces were trying to capture a fleeting moment as it went by, and through the use of folk material shine the light of ages on it.The recording made me feel like listening to two other recordings. One was the recent recording of American songs by the late Jan DeGaetani who, among other things, was the girl next door to my dad growing up in Massillon Ohio. The other was the first Velvet Underground albrum — the one produced by Andy Warhol and the only one with the late Nico as ‘chanteuse’ on some of the songs. This one, along with their other records has etched itself on my brain over the years since my first experience of it in college.

Randy Hostetler
Date Unknown