subtitle = Invenzione su Una Voce
"The sound-source is the remarkable voice of the American mezzo-soprano Cathy Berberian, who was then the wife of Maderna¹s colleague Luciano Berio. Already well known in avant garde circles (and at the same time widely respected for her efforts in the early music movement), Berio had the ability to work with abstract vocal sounds and texts which, like the one used here, is basically a succession of phoneme sounds. (They were prepared by a German poet, Hans. G. Helm.) Uniquely, Berberian was able to give the meaningless text a deep expressive content. Maderna then modified and elaborated on the sound structure of the voice itself to create this eloquent and fantasy-like piece." - Joseph Stevenson
"Le Rire began with Maderna running the recorded voice of Marino Zuccheri through some of the studio's processing equipment. Luigi Rognoni remarked to Maderna that the resulting sound was like Bergson's definition of laughter. "In that case," responded Maderna, "we'll call it 'The Laugh.'"
"The work was completed in 1962. The tape contains three voices identified as belonging to Maderna, Zuccheri, and the American mezzo-soprano Cathy Berberian, who was then Berio's wife. In addition, there are sound of footsteps in the rain, and some tones generated by sine-wave oscillators. In a second section, there is more electronic-generated sound, as well as the altered sounds of recorded timpani, flutes, piccolos, and white noise.
"The work as it exists now is incomplete. The original version, according to notes, included live marimba and flute parts, but the parts for these instruments appear to be lost. The surviving tape, though represents a viable composition in itself; unusually sparse and consisting of many short fragments. " - Joseph Stevenson