Luciano Berio’s sketches and drafts show how he worked with a clear and well-defined core of poetic values and constructive procedures while exploring a wide range of musical characteristics.
His concepts and techniques included redundancy, rereading, alliteration, saturation of the chromatic aggregate, rhythmic cells and their transformation, permutation of tone rows, and harmonic construction from pools of intervals. Many of his compositional devices originated in his serial practice of the 1950s or were designed in direct response to serial problems.
This according to “Berio at work: Compositional procedures in Circles, O King, Concerto for two pianos, Glossa, and Notturno” by Christoph Neidhöfer, an essay included in Luciano Berio: Nuove prospettive/New perspectives (Firenze: Accademia Musicale Chigiana, 2012, pp. 195–233).
Today would have been Berio’s 90th birthday! Below, the Concerto per due pianoforti e orchestra, one of the works discussed in the article.