The new edition of Luigi Nono’s Prometeo serves a twofold objective. First, it proposes to document the musical text as defined through the experience of the performances in which Nono took part. Second, it aims to provide performers and scholars with the necessary information relating to the performance practice of the voices, instruments, and electronics (data, programming schemes, instructions for the implementation of sonic treatments). The technical and performance-related material is preceded by an essay which illustrates the philosophical background of the work, as closely linked to its formal aspects.
The edition avails itself of the text of the second, final version of Prometeo, performed for the first time in Milan at the Stabilimento Ansaldo (September-October 1985) and reprised in Frankfurt (Alte Oper, August 1987), Paris (Théâtre National de Chaillot, October 1987) and Berlin (Kammermusiksaal of the Philharmonie, August 1988), with Nono at the Sound Direction.
While the purpose of the edition is eminently practical, the specific nature of the work, combined with Nono’s own compositional approach, has made it necessary for the editors to access a number of sources, in order to accurately define the musical text. These include the autograph score supplied to the publisher and the printed copy that Nono used in all of the performances he took part in, the scores and parts used by the performers who worked with the composer, the work protocols of the Experimentalstudio of Freiburg (where Nono realized the live electronics part for Prometeo), the radio broadcast recordings of the performances in which Nono was directly involved. The concept of the edition owes much to André Richard’s extended experience realizing Prometeo, from the premieres of Venice (1984) and Milan (1985) up until 2015. He assumed a variety of roles in his plurennial involvement, from preparing the chorus and vocal soloists to leading the Sound Direction, to the design of the sonic space.
As to the notation for the electronics of Prometeo, particular attention was devoted to solving the problem posed by the absence of a reference standard, as well as of specific indications in the autograph score. Based on the work protocols of the Experimentalstudio of Freiburg, the editors have developed a semiographic code that is coherent and expressive enough to avert stylistic ambiguities and, at the same time, open and flexible enough to allow for the exercise of interpretative freedom in a constantly evolving technological context.