Discussion:
Berio's Sequenze
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Andrew Clarke
2018-11-23 01:35:40 UTC
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I've just discovered these via the Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Concert Hall A-Z by Composer index - that's how I got to listen to Ades a few days ago.

I've watched the Sequenze for flute, violin, viola and trombone, the last of these being an exercise in mute control if nothing else.

Like the Naxos Quartets I'm going to need repeated hearings to get into this music, but two initial thoughts:

1. They really do sound like unusually difficult cadenzas for unwritten concertos
2. Watching the players is all part of the experience, more so than usual. Especially the trombonist.

I'm sure there are people here who have more considered opinions of these works ...

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Tassilo
2018-11-23 05:51:56 UTC
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I am extremely interested in most of Berio’s music, but I’m not that wild about the Sequenza’s: they’re too thin for me. On the other hand, I love many of the Chemins, pieces based on the Sequenza’s. In each case, the Sequenza is swallowed whole and preserved intact by the new piece. For example, Sequenza VI for viola was swallowed whole by Chemins II for viola and ensemble, while Chemins II was swallowed whole by Chemins III for viola, ensemble, and orchestra: “The pieces relate to each other like the layers of an onion,” as Berio explained. There was a wonderful RCA recording of Sequenza VI, Chemins II, and Chemins III with Walter Trampler as violist and Berio conducting, but it’s never been reissued on CD to my knowledge. The Juilliard Ensemble was the ensemble for Chemins II, while the London Symphony furnished both the concertato ensemble and the orchestra for Chemins III. There is also a recording of Chemins II with Boulez and the EIC, which was released on Sony.

One of my favorite Chemins is Chemins IV (su Sequenza VII) for oboe and eleven instruments: if I were recommending one Chemins this would be it.

I have a complete list of all of the Chemins, so I may as well post it:

Luciano Berio: the Chemins

Chemins I (su Sequenza II) for harp and orchestra (1964)
Chemins II (su Sequenza VI) for viola and nine instruments (1967)
Chemins III (su Sequenza VI) for viola, nine instruments, and orchestra.the nine instruments play the same parts as in Chemins II (1967)
Chemins IIb for orchestra (1969); reworking of Chemins II
Chemins IIc for bass clarinet and orchestra (1972) (Chemins IIb with solo part for bass clarinet)
Chemins IV (su Sequenza VII) for oboe and eleven string instruments (1975)
Corale (su Sequenza VIII) [not labeled “Chemins”] for violin, two horns and strings (1981)
Chemins IV, version for soprano saxophone and orchestra (2000)
Chemins V for clarinet and the 4C digital system, developed by Peppino di Giugno (1980) (Informally performed at IRCAM, Chemins V remains unfinished and was withdrawn. The solo clarinet part was slightly edited and became Sequenza IX.)
Chemins V (su Sequenza XI) for guitar and chamber orchestra
Kol Od, Chemins VI (su Sequenza X) for trumpet and ensemble (1996)
Récit, Chemins VII (su Sequenza IXb) for alto saxophone and orchestra (1996)

-Tassilo
Andrew Clarke
2018-11-25 07:00:26 UTC
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Post by Tassilo
I am extremely interested in most of Berio’s music, but I’m not that wild about the Sequenza’s: they’re too thin for me. On the other hand, I love many of the Chemins, pieces based on the Sequenza’s. In each case, the Sequenza is swallowed whole and preserved intact by the new piece. For example, Sequenza VI for viola was swallowed whole by Chemins II for viola and ensemble, while Chemins II was swallowed whole by Chemins III for viola, ensemble, and orchestra: “The pieces relate to each other like the layers of an onion,” as Berio explained. There was a wonderful RCA recording of Sequenza VI, Chemins II, and Chemins III with Walter Trampler as violist and Berio conducting, but it’s never been reissued on CD to my knowledge. The Juilliard Ensemble was the ensemble for Chemins II, while the London Symphony furnished both the concertato ensemble and the orchestra for Chemins III. There is also a recording of Chemins II with Boulez and the EIC, which was released on Sony.
One of my favorite Chemins is Chemins IV (su Sequenza VII) for oboe and eleven instruments: if I were recommending one Chemins this would be it.
Luciano Berio: the Chemins
Chemins I (su Sequenza II) for harp and orchestra (1964)
Chemins II (su Sequenza VI) for viola and nine instruments (1967)
Chemins III (su Sequenza VI) for viola, nine instruments, and orchestra.the nine instruments play the same parts as in Chemins II (1967)
Chemins IIb for orchestra (1969); reworking of Chemins II
Chemins IIc for bass clarinet and orchestra (1972) (Chemins IIb with solo part for bass clarinet)
Chemins IV (su Sequenza VII) for oboe and eleven string instruments (1975)
Corale (su Sequenza VIII) [not labeled “Chemins”] for violin, two horns and strings (1981)
Chemins IV, version for soprano saxophone and orchestra (2000)
Chemins V for clarinet and the 4C digital system, developed by Peppino di Giugno (1980) (Informally performed at IRCAM, Chemins V remains unfinished and was withdrawn. The solo clarinet part was slightly edited and became Sequenza IX.)
Chemins V (su Sequenza XI) for guitar and chamber orchestra
Kol Od, Chemins VI (su Sequenza X) for trumpet and ensemble (1996)
Récit, Chemins VII (su Sequenza IXb) for alto saxophone and orchestra (1996)
-Tassilo
Amazing. The only Berio I've heard before is Recital I, with bits of Cathy Berbarian's repertoire and Mahler's St Anthony music.

We used to hear a good deal about Berio, Nono, Dallapiccola. Do any of them get performed now? The Berlin Sequenzas I saw were performed at late night concerts, which figures.

Interesting to speculate how Italian musical modernism coincided with the rise and fall of Italian film modernism?

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Andrew Clarke
2018-11-28 11:47:12 UTC
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Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Tassilo
I am extremely interested in most of Berio’s music, but I’m not that wild about the Sequenza’s: they’re too thin for me. On the other hand, I love many of the Chemins, pieces based on the Sequenza’s. In each case, the Sequenza is swallowed whole and preserved intact by the new piece. For example, Sequenza VI for viola was swallowed whole by Chemins II for viola and ensemble, while Chemins II was swallowed whole by Chemins III for viola, ensemble, and orchestra: “The pieces relate to each other like the layers of an onion,” as Berio explained. There was a wonderful RCA recording of Sequenza VI, Chemins II, and Chemins III with Walter Trampler as violist and Berio conducting, but it’s never been reissued on CD to my knowledge. The Juilliard Ensemble was the ensemble for Chemins II, while the London Symphony furnished both the concertato ensemble and the orchestra for Chemins III. There is also a recording of Chemins II with Boulez and the EIC, which was released on Sony.
One of my favorite Chemins is Chemins IV (su Sequenza VII) for oboe and eleven instruments: if I were recommending one Chemins this would be it.
Luciano Berio: the Chemins
Chemins I (su Sequenza II) for harp and orchestra (1964)
Chemins II (su Sequenza VI) for viola and nine instruments (1967)
Chemins III (su Sequenza VI) for viola, nine instruments, and orchestra.the nine instruments play the same parts as in Chemins II (1967)
Chemins IIb for orchestra (1969); reworking of Chemins II
Chemins IIc for bass clarinet and orchestra (1972) (Chemins IIb with solo part for bass clarinet)
Chemins IV (su Sequenza VII) for oboe and eleven string instruments (1975)
Corale (su Sequenza VIII) [not labeled “Chemins”] for violin, two horns and strings (1981)
Chemins IV, version for soprano saxophone and orchestra (2000)
Chemins V for clarinet and the 4C digital system, developed by Peppino di Giugno (1980) (Informally performed at IRCAM, Chemins V remains unfinished and was withdrawn. The solo clarinet part was slightly edited and became Sequenza IX.)
Chemins V (su Sequenza XI) for guitar and chamber orchestra
Kol Od, Chemins VI (su Sequenza X) for trumpet and ensemble (1996)
Récit, Chemins VII (su Sequenza IXb) for alto saxophone and orchestra (1996)
-Tassilo
Amazing. The only Berio I've heard before is Recital I, with bits of Cathy Berbarian's repertoire and Mahler's St Anthony music.
I seem to have conflated Recital 1 and Sinfonia. Whoops ...

Have just seen Sequenza 3 for female voice + the overwhelming Coro for 40 voices + instruments.

Any thoughts, Tassilo?

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Tassilo
2018-11-29 04:43:41 UTC
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Coro is a big flashy (in the best sense of the term) and reasonably accessible Berio piece from the mid-70’s. You really should give it a shot. There’s a DG studio recording with the composer conducting that’s been reissued several times including once on Brilliant Classics. There’s also a very good live performance on Orfeo:

https://www.amazon.com/Epifanie-Orchester-Frauenstimme-LUCIANO-BERIO/dp/B0002K71UA/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1543466337&sr=8-3-fkmr0&keywords=berio+coro+epifanie

As for the Sequenza for voice, I have to say, it does nothing for me. It was written for Cathy Berberian, who was Berio’s wife at one point and also a truly remarkable singer. Berio exploits the extreme range of the capacities of the human voice in that Sequenza: in short, expect a lot more than what we call “singing,” but, for me, it may have been interesting to hear once, but it’s so musically thin that I have no interest in hearing it again.

Epifanie, on the other hand, which shares a disc with the live Coro mentioned above, is one of the strongest Berio pieces, and Miss Berberian is the soloist in the live recording. (There’s also a fantastic RCA studio recording with Berberian and Berio, but it’s never been reissued on CD.)

-Tassilo
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Tassilo
I am extremely interested in most of Berio’s music, but I’m not that wild about the Sequenza’s: they’re too thin for me. On the other hand, I love many of the Chemins, pieces based on the Sequenza’s. In each case, the Sequenza is swallowed whole and preserved intact by the new piece. For example, Sequenza VI for viola was swallowed whole by Chemins II for viola and ensemble, while Chemins II was swallowed whole by Chemins III for viola, ensemble, and orchestra: “The pieces relate to each other like the layers of an onion,” as Berio explained. There was a wonderful RCA recording of Sequenza VI, Chemins II, and Chemins III with Walter Trampler as violist and Berio conducting, but it’s never been reissued on CD to my knowledge. The Juilliard Ensemble was the ensemble for Chemins II, while the London Symphony furnished both the concertato ensemble and the orchestra for Chemins III. There is also a recording of Chemins II with Boulez and the EIC, which was released on Sony.
One of my favorite Chemins is Chemins IV (su Sequenza VII) for oboe and eleven instruments: if I were recommending one Chemins this would be it.
Luciano Berio: the Chemins
Chemins I (su Sequenza II) for harp and orchestra (1964)
Chemins II (su Sequenza VI) for viola and nine instruments (1967)
Chemins III (su Sequenza VI) for viola, nine instruments, and orchestra.the nine instruments play the same parts as in Chemins II (1967)
Chemins IIb for orchestra (1969); reworking of Chemins II
Chemins IIc for bass clarinet and orchestra (1972) (Chemins IIb with solo part for bass clarinet)
Chemins IV (su Sequenza VII) for oboe and eleven string instruments (1975)
Corale (su Sequenza VIII) [not labeled “Chemins”] for violin, two horns and strings (1981)
Chemins IV, version for soprano saxophone and orchestra (2000)
Chemins V for clarinet and the 4C digital system, developed by Peppino di Giugno (1980) (Informally performed at IRCAM, Chemins V remains unfinished and was withdrawn. The solo clarinet part was slightly edited and became Sequenza IX.)
Chemins V (su Sequenza XI) for guitar and chamber orchestra
Kol Od, Chemins VI (su Sequenza X) for trumpet and ensemble (1996)
Récit, Chemins VII (su Sequenza IXb) for alto saxophone and orchestra (1996)
-Tassilo
Amazing. The only Berio I've heard before is Recital I, with bits of Cathy Berbarian's repertoire and Mahler's St Anthony music.
I seem to have conflated Recital 1 and Sinfonia. Whoops ...
Have just seen Sequenza 3 for female voice + the overwhelming Coro for 40 voices + instruments.
Any thoughts, Tassilo?
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
m***@gmail.com
2018-11-29 05:25:58 UTC
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Post by Tassilo
https://www.amazon.com/Epifanie-Orchester-Frauenstimme-LUCIANO-BERIO/dp/B0002K71UA/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1543466337&sr=8-3-fkmr0&keywords=berio+coro+epifanie
As for the Sequenza for voice, I have to say, it does nothing for me. It was written for Cathy Berberian, who was Berio’s wife at one point and also a truly remarkable singer. Berio exploits the extreme range of the capacities of the human voice in that Sequenza: in short, expect a lot more than what we call “singing,” but, for me, it may have been interesting to hear once, but it’s so musically thin that I have no interest in hearing it again.
Epifanie, on the other hand, which shares a disc with the live Coro mentioned above, is one of the strongest Berio pieces, and Miss Berberian is the soloist in the live recording. (There’s also a fantastic RCA studio recording with Berberian and Berio, but it’s never been reissued on CD.)
-Tassilo
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Tassilo
I am extremely interested in most of Berio’s music, but I’m not that wild about the Sequenza’s: they’re too thin for me. On the other hand, I love many of the Chemins, pieces based on the Sequenza’s. In each case, the Sequenza is swallowed whole and preserved intact by the new piece. For example, Sequenza VI for viola was swallowed whole by Chemins II for viola and ensemble, while Chemins II was swallowed whole by Chemins III for viola, ensemble, and orchestra: “The pieces relate to each other like the layers of an onion,” as Berio explained. There was a wonderful RCA recording of Sequenza VI, Chemins II, and Chemins III with Walter Trampler as violist and Berio conducting, but it’s never been reissued on CD to my knowledge. The Juilliard Ensemble was the ensemble for Chemins II, while the London Symphony furnished both the concertato ensemble and the orchestra for Chemins III. There is also a recording of Chemins II with Boulez and the EIC, which was released on Sony.
One of my favorite Chemins is Chemins IV (su Sequenza VII) for oboe and eleven instruments: if I were recommending one Chemins this would be it.
Luciano Berio: the Chemins
Chemins I (su Sequenza II) for harp and orchestra (1964)
Chemins II (su Sequenza VI) for viola and nine instruments (1967)
Chemins III (su Sequenza VI) for viola, nine instruments, and orchestra.the nine instruments play the same parts as in Chemins II (1967)
Chemins IIb for orchestra (1969); reworking of Chemins II
Chemins IIc for bass clarinet and orchestra (1972) (Chemins IIb with solo part for bass clarinet)
Chemins IV (su Sequenza VII) for oboe and eleven string instruments (1975)
Corale (su Sequenza VIII) [not labeled “Chemins”] for violin, two horns and strings (1981)
Chemins IV, version for soprano saxophone and orchestra (2000)
Chemins V for clarinet and the 4C digital system, developed by Peppino di Giugno (1980) (Informally performed at IRCAM, Chemins V remains unfinished and was withdrawn. The solo clarinet part was slightly edited and became Sequenza IX.)
Chemins V (su Sequenza XI) for guitar and chamber orchestra
Kol Od, Chemins VI (su Sequenza X) for trumpet and ensemble (1996)
Récit, Chemins VII (su Sequenza IXb) for alto saxophone and orchestra (1996)
-Tassilo
Amazing. The only Berio I've heard before is Recital I, with bits of Cathy Berbarian's repertoire and Mahler's St Anthony music.
I seem to have conflated Recital 1 and Sinfonia. Whoops ...
Have just seen Sequenza 3 for female voice + the overwhelming Coro for 40 voices + instruments.
Any thoughts, Tassilo?
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Barberian could sing just about anything - I have her in the Harnoncout Orfeo and she is very moving
Andrew Clarke
2018-11-29 12:07:06 UTC
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Barberian could sing just about anything - I have her in the Harnoncourt Orfeo and she is very moving.
I agree: I used to have excerpts from this recording, the one with the Hungarian tenor is Orfeo.

This explains why Recital 1 - the piece written for her by Berio - includes some borrowed bits of Monteverdi,

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
m***@gmail.com
2018-11-29 12:28:01 UTC
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Post by Andrew Clarke
Barberian could sing just about anything - I have her in the Harnoncourt Orfeo and she is very moving.
I agree: I used to have excerpts from this recording, the one with the Hungarian tenor is Orfeo.
This explains why Recital 1 - the piece written for her by Berio - includes some borrowed bits of Monteverdi,
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Yes Lajos Kozma. I think it was the first complete recording.
Tassilo
2018-11-30 22:23:02 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
Barberian could sing just about anything -
Stravinsky felt the same way about Miss Berberian, who recorded some of Stravinsky's songs with the composer conducting.

-Tassilo
Post by m***@gmail.com
I have her in the Harnoncout Orfeo and she is very moving
Andrew Clarke
2018-11-29 12:03:04 UTC
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Post by Tassilo
https://www.amazon.com/Epifanie-Orchester-Frauenstimme-LUCIANO-BERIO/dp/B0002K71UA/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1543466337&sr=8-3-fkmr0&keywords=berio+coro+epifanie
As for the Sequenza for voice, I have to say, it does nothing for me. It was written for Cathy Berberian, who was Berio’s wife at one point and also a truly remarkable singer. Berio exploits the extreme range of the capacities of the human voice in that Sequenza: in short, expect a lot more than what we call “singing,” but, for me, it may have been interesting to hear once, but it’s so musically thin that I have no interest in hearing it again.
Epifanie, on the other hand, which shares a disc with the live Coro mentioned above, is one of the strongest Berio pieces, and Miss Berberian is the soloist in the live recording. (There’s also a fantastic RCA studio recording with Berberian and Berio, but it’s never been reissued on CD.)
-Tassilo
Thanks for that: I think I didn't make myself sufficiently clear when I wrote that I had 'just seen' these two Berio works. What I meant was that I had seen (and of course heard)them on the Berlin Philharmonic's Digital Concert Hall.

I wonder if Berio issued any choreographic instructions for the Sequenzas? The trombonist, for example, came onto the stage looking rather perplexed, began playing while standing, and then sat down before his music stand. The soprano came on with the score, beckoned to the wings from which an assistant appeared with a music stand, upon which she placed the score. She then proceeded to sing the whole work without looking at the score at all. Then, a minute or two before the end of the piece, a young man appeared stage right, lit by a spotlight, remaining mute throughout the rest of the performance.

I found Coro impressive even at first hearing. The singers were drawn from the choir of the Berlin Radio, the players were from the BPO and the conductor was Sir Simon Rattle.

Andrew Clarke
Canberra

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Tassilo
2018-11-30 22:24:35 UTC
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Post by Andrew Clarke
Thanks for that: I think I didn't make myself sufficiently clear when I wrote that I had 'just seen' these two Berio works. What I meant was that I had seen (and of course heard)them on the Berlin Philharmonic's Digital Concert Hall.
I found Coro impressive even at first hearing. The singers were drawn from the choir of the Berlin Radio, the players were from the BPO and the conductor was Sir Simon Rattle.
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
I've got a recording of one of the Rattle performances as well as the two others I mentioned. -Tassilo
Tassilo
2018-11-30 22:28:52 UTC
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Since we've gotten onto the subject of Cathy Berberian, I have to mention her recording of the Beatles (actually, John Lennon) song, Ticket to Ride, as arranged by Luciano Berio. It's really something. Berio also arranged a couple of other Lennon/McCartney tunes including Michelle, and Berberian has sung the arrangements. Not sure I've heard them.

-Tassilo
Herman
2018-12-01 09:19:52 UTC
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Post by Tassilo
Since we've gotten onto the subject of Cathy Berberian, I have to mention her recording of the Beatles (actually, John Lennon) song, Ticket to Ride, as arranged by Luciano Berio. It's really something. Berio also arranged a couple of other Lennon/McCartney tunes including Michelle, and Berberian has sung the arrangements. Not sure I've heard them.
-Tassilo


This is the video, in which Berberian's wearing various curtains and tablecloths, and sings Ticket to Ride as arranged by Louis Andriessen, rather than Berio.

The most shocking thing (to me) is that the date is 1977, when this kind of thing was already very much Old Hat.
Tassilo
2018-12-01 20:39:27 UTC
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Berio did several arrangements of Lennon/McCartney tunes for voice and instruments including "Ticket to Ride," but you're right: this one is by Louis Andriessen.

-Tassilo
Post by Herman
Post by Tassilo
Since we've gotten onto the subject of Cathy Berberian, I have to mention her recording of the Beatles (actually, John Lennon) song, Ticket to Ride, as arranged by Luciano Berio. It's really something. Berio also arranged a couple of other Lennon/McCartney tunes including Michelle, and Berberian has sung the arrangements. Not sure I've heard them.
-Tassilo
http://youtu.be/WLqVioiDldc
This is the video, in which Berberian's wearing various curtains and tablecloths, and sings Ticket to Ride as arranged by Louis Andriessen, rather than Berio.
The most shocking thing (to me) is that the date is 1977, when this kind of thing was already very much Old Hat.
r***@gmail.com
2018-12-02 06:14:45 UTC
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Off subject a trifle, but Barbara Hannigan's performance of Ligeti's Mysteries of the Macabre takes some beating. The link below shows her with Rattle and the LSO. She did, imho, a tighter performance with the Gothenburg SO, as well as 'conduct' it, and also found on YouTube.

Music was also meant to be fun, and Ligeti explores this aspect.




Ray Hall, Taree

Andrew Clarke
2018-11-30 01:03:48 UTC
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Post by Andrew Clarke
I've just discovered these via the Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Concert Hall A-Z by Composer index - that's how I got to listen to Ades a few days ago.
For a performance of Sequenza V for trombone, played / acted by Christian Lindberg in a clown suit, see



It looks as if the choreography is up to the performer ...

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Tassilo
2018-11-30 22:20:34 UTC
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I think the trombone Sequenza was actually composed as a tribute to a famous clown named Grock who impressed Berio when he was a kid. I believe Christian Lindberg performs it dressed as a clown. (Berio later wrote a trombone concerto for Lindberg entitled Solo. I think I'm up to three recordings of that.)

-Tassilo
Post by Andrew Clarke
Post by Andrew Clarke
I've just discovered these via the Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Concert Hall A-Z by Composer index - that's how I got to listen to Ades a few days ago.
For a performance of Sequenza V for trombone, played / acted by Christian Lindberg in a clown suit, see
http://youtu.be/OnfApTtzJmk
It looks as if the choreography is up to the performer ...
Andrew Clarke
Canberra
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