After recording two thoroughly excellent LPs for the Mainstream label, Expressions East and Oud Artistry, John Berberian followed his benefactor, A&R man Peter Spargo, to the notorious Morris Levy's Roulette Records, where he waxed this standout album. Recorded in 1965 or 1966 and released around the same time, Music of the Middle East continues the oud master's progressive interpretations of traditional Armenian, Turkish, Greek, and Arabic material.
Catherine Anahid Berberian (July 4, 1925 – March 6, 1983) was an American soprano and composer. She interpreted contemporary avant-garde music composed, among others, by Luciano Berio, Bruno Maderna, John Cage, Henri Pousseur, Sylvano Bussotti, Darius Milhaud, Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, and Igor Stravinsky. She also interpreted works by Claudio Monteverdi, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Kurt Weill, Philipp Zu Eulenburg, arrangements of songs by The Beatles, and folk songs from several countries and cultures. As a composer, she wrote Stripsody (1966), in which she exploits her vocal technique using comic book sounds (onomatopoeia), and Morsicat(h)y (1969), a composition for the keyboard (with the right hand only) based on Morse code.
Luciano Berio was one of the most important Italian composers of the second half of the twentieth century, a leader of the international avant-garde who has managed to write music that is communicative and pleasing to audiences. He received musical instruction from his father and grandfather, organists in Oneglia, and continued musical training through his school years. After World War II he went to Milan to study law but also became a composition pupil with Ghedini, a composer known for his interest in many styles. He passed that interest on to Berio, who started his career as a neo-Classicist.
While in school Berio met met a remarkable American singer, Cathy Berberian. They married and went to the U.S. on their ……..
Some years ago a distinguished music professor said to me, "You must go and see Doktor Faust at English National Opera - you'll hear a second rank composer at the height of his powers". Backhanded though this compliment may seem, it was clearly conveyed with a spirit admiration and perhaps a tinge of surprise.