Italian composer born 9 June 1927 in Verona; died 17 August 2000 in Milan.
Born in Verona on 9 June 1927, Franco Donatoni began playing violin at the age of seven and, upon completing his secondary education, devoted himself entirely to music. He studied composition with Ettore Desderi at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, and with Lino Liviabella at the Conservatorio Giovanni Battista Martini in Bologna. He received a degree in choir conducting in 1950 and in composition in 1951. He continued his composition studies with Ildebrando Pizzetti at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, receiving his degree in 1953. He participated in the Darmstadt summer courses in 1954, 1956, 1958, and 1961.
Franco Donatoni’s early compositions were heavily inspired by the work of Bartók, Hindemith, and Stravinsky. Following an encounter with Bruno Maderna in 1953, he traveled to Darmstadt, where he embraced serialism and met Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage. Musica (1955), Composizione (1955), Tre improvvisazioni (1956), and Quartetto (1958) are all marked by the influence of Webern, Boulez, and Stockhausen.
In 1960-1961, Donatoni was still focusing his research on musical material, composing chamber music pieces such as For Grilly (1960) and symphonies such as Sezioni (1961) and Puppenspiel I (1961). In the years that followed, however, under the influence of John Cage and Franz Kafka, Donatoni’s work was characterized by a tendancy toward negativism and self-destruction. Fleeing and even seeking to break down the ego, Donatoni’s style took a stance of personal retreat from the internal logic of composing. Thus, in Quartetto IV - Zrcadlo (1963), Asar (1964), and Black and White (1964), this experimentation with the abnegation of composition led him to a complete desacralization of creativity. This reflection on the latent virtualities of musical substance, and its ability to withstand certain modifications, took form in Babai for harpsichord (1964) and Divertimento II for strings (1965) and led him to define “modifying principles” - Souvenir, 1967 – which were either accidental – Orts, 1969 – or arrived at through serialism - Etwas ruhiger im Ausdruck, 1967. Gli estratti (1969-1975), Solo for ten strings (1975) and Duo pour Bruno for orchestra (1974-1975) are both examples of these different approaches to manipulating musical material.
After a period of silence and clinical depression, the death of Maderna in 1973 rekindled Donatoni’s desire to compose. He evolved a witty, imaginative style, reconciling himself with expressiveness, lyricism, and the whims of invention. Spiri (1978) embodies this newfound serenity.
Donatoni’s last pieces signaled his progressive return to vocal composition – L’ultima sera, 1980; De près, 1981; In cauda; Atem (1985) – and new gestural work, which features above all in his chamber music of this period – Spiri (1980), The Heart’s Eye (1981), Arpège (1986) - as well as the influence of jazz – Hot, Blow (1989).
Franco Donatoni taught harmony and counterpoint notably in Bologna and Milan, and was a regular participant in the summer courses at Darmstadt. A professor of composition at the conservatories of Turin and Milan, as well as at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena and the Accademia Santa Cecilia in Rome, he exerted tremendous influence among the younger generation of Italian composers. He also gave seminars in Switzerland, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Israel, and Australia (the Italian Institute of Culture in Melbourne) and in the United States (University of California, Berkeley).
A series of concerts was dedicated to him in 1990 at the Settembre Musica Festival, and in 1992 at the Milano Musica Festival.
In 1985, Franco Donatoni was appointed Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture; he was also a member of the Accademia Filarmonica Romana and the Accademia Santa Cecilia of Rome.
Donatoni’s work is published by Zanibon in Padua, Schott in London, Boosey & Hawkes in London, Suvini Zerboni in Milan (from 1958 to 1977) and Casa Ricordi in Milan (since 1977).
Franco Donatoni died on 17 August 2000 in Milan.
- Prix de Liège in 1951 for Quartetto
- Radio Luxemburg Prize in 1951 for Concertino and in 1953 for Sinfonia
- International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) Prize in 1961 for Puppenspiel
- Marzotto Prize in 1966 for Puppenspiel n°2
- Koussevitzky Prize in 1968 for Orts
- Psacaropoulo Prize in 1979 for Spiri
© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2008
- Éditions Suvini Zerboni ;
- Éditions Contrechamp.
Franco Donatoni : Trajectoires
By Alain Poirier
Franco Donatoni’s catalogue, which consists of some two hundred scores written between 1950 and 2000, when he died, can be roughly divided into four stages. These can be distinguished both in terms of Donatoni’s aesthetic choices and in terms of the composer’s relationship with history: Donatoni’s path as a composer is characterized less by reflections on a given material than by his questioning of his position with regard to material that is already historical. This explains the scattered nature of his oeuvre, which bears witness to his changeable and highly diversified trajectory: “my personal history as a composer is an alternation between ‘separations’ and ‘unifications1’”.
1. 1952-1956: First compositions
Like many Italian composers of the early 1950s, Donatoni, a student of Gofredo Petrassi, was confronted with two dominant trends in music, incarnated by Stravinsky and Bartók, most notably, a few of whose central works made a particularly strong impression on the young composer (Fourth Quartet, Music for strings, percussion, and celesta, Sonata for 2 pianos and percussion). His progressive discovery of the Vienna School led Donatoni to begin with attempts at synthesis between Bartók and Webern: Composizione for piano (1954). Ligeti also remained strongly influenced by Bartók in his First quartet, and his approach is comparable to that of Donatoni in the sense that it translated a desire to shoulder the legacy of an earlier generation, ruptured only by the arrival of electronic music in his compositional repertoire, consecrated with Artikulation in 1957. It was that same year, in Darmstadt, and following his encounter with Bruno Maderna, that Donatoni actively stepped forward into the next phase in his work, which led him to disown in retrospect all that he had created during this period, destroying a number of his pieces – at least among his unpublished ones – that he found too conventional or too referential. It may be assumed that this attitude would influence Donatoni’s approach going forward, which specifically sought to wipe away or render illegible anything borrowed from other sources in his own music.
2. 1957-1962: “The beginnings of a structuralist ambition2”
For Donatoni, learning a new way of thinking began with a short phase of “the craft of imitiation,” through the influence of Pierre Boulez’s Second Sonata (1948):Trois improvisations for piano (1957).
Abandoning this Boulez-inspired experiment, Donatoni turned toward the structuralism of Stockhausen’s Zeitmaße (1956), producing Serenata (1959), Movimento for harpsichord and nine instruments, and Strophes for orchestra (1960). Gruppen (written by Stockhausen in 1957) then led Donatoni to distance himself from intervallic punctualism in order to move toward writing in “sound clusters”, already showing the attention to virtuosity that would mark his entire oeuvre, derived from Stockhausen’s “gruppen”: For Grilly (1960). Finally, Doubles for harpsichord (1961), the brief work with which this period ends, corresponds to a first attempt to “disconnect” from the material which Per orchestra would soon use, thus auguring the shift into his third phase.
3. 1962-1972: the “negativist” period
— 1962-1965: indeterminacy.
After a single experiment with tape music – Quartetto III (1962) – Donatoni’s work was influenced by several other artists, including John Cage, who was highly influential in Italy at that time, although Donatoni would later adopt a more severe attitude toward the American composer:
“The Cagean experience is the negation of composition (and not composing negative music) just as death is not an experience that one can feel while living. To be Cagean, it is not necessary to study Cage’s work, it is only necessary to compose in a Cagean manner […] The difference between Cage and myself is that, for him, the work does not exist in and of itself, while for me, the work is always present, subtly, I have to try to conceive of its monolithic unity3”.
Even more than Cage, the influence of Beckett and above all of Kafka, as for Berio a few years earlier, were decisive in Donatoni’s evolution as a composer until 1972, leading to automatic processes that would rapidly become predominant: To Earle two.
“In The Castle or The Trial, there are certain reference points related to acoustics that were very important for him, and also certain disconnects between a gesture and its function […]. At that time, I was galvanized by the need for a kind of indeterminacy that was not Cage’s chance operations. I knew very well that indeterminacy was not an achievable goal, but an orientation. I tried to apply it to different parameters: pitch, duration, dynamics, and finally, formal parameters 4”.
Beginning with Puppenspiel I, “study for stage music” (1961), in which he introduced tertian chords among clusters, Donatoni’s negativism reached its peak with Per orchestra, which renounced traditional notation in favour of purely gestural notation: the primacy of gesture over language corresponded with the disconnect between gesture and material. It was in this sense that Donatoni spoke of the “suicide of the interval” in Puppenspiel I5, a negation that expresses itself in a rich, teeming orchestral mass. It is through the search for the “denaturing of performance techniques of Western structuralism, and an audible form in an elementary language” that Donatoni’s negativism is expressed: “a refusal of the possibility of recognizing, admitting, affirming any kind of principle6”.
From Per orchestra to Puppenspiel II (1965), experimenting with dissociating the material from the act of composing progressively led Donatoni to a “loss of substance”: with “eccentric heterogeneity of the formative activity with regard to the material7” in Quartetto IV — “Zrcadlo” (“mirror”); with a buried reference to Webern’s fourth Bagatelle in an indeterminate context; Babai for harpsichord (1964), which reuses the material of Doubles in a sarcastic decomposition of structuralism through indeterminacy based on 84 performance techniques; in Black and White and Asar (1964), the “systemization of an entire complex apparatus of anecdotal interventions, external to the musical substance, that determine its formal superstructure 8”.
Donatoni’s period of indeterminacy came to an end in 1964. Returning to traditional notation with pieces such as Divertimento II (1965), the composer attempted to “neutralize” musical substance by starting from its most unremarkable structure, a simple C major triad: Puppenspiel II (1965).
The crisis at which he ultimately arrived was marked by a year of complete silence and deep questioning in 1966, an anticipation of other periods of depression that punctuated the composer’s life.
— 1967-1972: a return to substance
“Each time, it was not about inventing, but transforming; and this need to transform, to transmute the musical substance, gave birth to techniques that were still founded in automatisms […]; the significance of automatism, of repetition, was just as great here as in cellular biology. I sought to advance experiments done in other fields that deal with the separation between the self and matter, and this duality still exists 9”.
After the attempt to reintegrate neutral musical substance – Puppenspiel II – the most characteristic examples of this appear in Donatoni’s work in the year 1967, Etwas ruhiger im Ausdruck (“automatism and dissociation of the process/codifying result”), based on a fragment of Schoenberg’s Opus 23 N. 2 (process based on figuration and density within a dynamic ambitus set between pp and pppp10); and then, in Souvenir, (continuous “transformation of the musical substance”) based on 363 cells collected from Gruppen, with a nod to Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony op. 9 (15 instruments, ending in B major) 11, a process he would follow again in Orts (Souvenir n° 2, 1968). “The invention of process, which is often made up of automatisms acting on a group of statistically discernible events, is a necessity that complements the form that is alive in the work’s very frame: this process is not the work itself, it constitutes a phenomenon located outside of the phenomenon that results. The resulting phenomenon contains the functional characteristics specific to the process, and not the process itself 12”.
Donatoni reached the “limit” of negativity in Secondo Estratto, Doubles II, 1968-1972 (“multiplication by enlargement and automatic reduction”); in To Earle, To Earle two, and Black and White N. 2, which consists of “120 exercises for the ten fingers on any key, as if it were a rehearsal of the work and not a performance. The sounding result and the formal appearance are in large part indeterminate: the articulation imitates historical musical gestures, the compositional intent retreats and can be located in a conceptual gesture that precedes the form, but which does not find a final conclusion. Last, and perhaps somewhat wearily after numerous experiments, the focal point remains a laceration of composition, a renunciation of the compositional game 13”.
Donatoni’s reference to more or less recent works (from Schoenberg to his contemporaries) is more a matter of “pretext” – “pre-text” – since it is exclusively intended to nourish the labor of creating a work’s “pre-history.” The reference object, which in fact loses its meaning as a musical object – Donatoni speaks of “scrap” in reference to Souvenirs –, is deliberately erased; the act of depersonalizing accomplished at the beginning of the process means that these traits are no longer perceived as such; it is a kind of “murder of the origin.”
“I can affirm that the composition process varies considerably depending on the musical substance used, and that it is nearly impossible to repeat […]. The invention of the process can therefore be nothing other than a result of focusing on a substance that must be transformed, which is an integral part not of the form, but of the work […]. The ambiguity lies in the fact that the work is really where process and form intersect. Whereas form is a phenomenon that one observes in its definitive stasis, process is a dynamic phenomenon that precedes form 14”.
This “historiographical” stance with regard to composition, this manner of “writing music about music” of which Stravinsky is the undisputed champion, took place in the trend toward integration that characterized the music of the 1970s – Etwas ruhiger im Ausdruck or Souvenirs must be examined in parallel with attempts to create collages of citations, “musical museums”, such as Musique pour les soupers du roi Ubu by Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1966), Hymnen by Stockhausen (1967), Heterogéneo by Luis De Pablo (1967-68), Sinfonia by Berio (1968), all the way to Ludwig Van by Kagel (1969).
Donatoni’s approach to composition (Substance-Form-Work) can therefore be seen as acting on the musical substance through various automatic processes – that constitute a phenomenon located outside the work itself – which at times leads him to prefer the title of “elaborator” to that of composer.
“Composing is like provoking opposing movements of fusion in a physical realm, of contact and then separation […]15”.
“Beginning in 1967, I gave up on ‘creating musical substance’ and limited myself more to ‘transforming different substances according to the personal habits of my craft’ […]. Right now, composing to me means inventing the process necessary to continuously transform the material 16”.
4. Automatism and process
After 1972, the work Donatoni produced, according to Cresti, seemed to represent a return to a “positive” relationship with composition. The composer ended up drawing a distinction between automatic and mechanical processes: “The mechanical state corresponds to what happens as a result of an external action, according to the will of something outside the mechanism itself. Automatism, by contrast, corresponds to a process that can be controlled from within at any moment, according to the gesture of a will and a conscience that at each moment set all conditions 17”.
Thus, many scores from this period open with the ending of the previous work, such as Voci– “exercise for orchestra” (1972-1973), which is based exclusively on the B.A.C.H. notes from a passage in To Earle two – or Tema (1981), which uses Ruisseau sur l’escalier (1981) as its point of departure.
Starting in 1973, the progressive purification of the musical material can be seen in harmonic constructions based on an idée fixe of one note: Lied for thirteen instruments (“the process as self-generator of formal schemata”), Espressivo for solo oboe and orchestra, which is based on a proliferation around the note B, which acts as the generative core, Tema based on an A, or Jeux pour deux for harpsichord and positive organ (1973) on nine sounds (the letters of the name E. Chojnacka), and Spiri for ten instruments (1977) based on the composer’s name (F.A.C.D.).
In contrast to the preceding period, Donatoni had not adopted a new stance on material: “Toward the end of the sixties, I wanted to try out different, preformed materials, extracted from other compositions. This was a false stance: I imagined that the very condition of the material could give rise to something different. The most erroneous idea I had at that time was that form could be something immanent in material. So in Duo pour Bruno (1974-1975), I used two musical materials: one dynamic – a traditional song, [“La biondina in gondoleta,” which Bruno Maderna had woven into his Journal vénitien – and the other static – gestures 18”.
5. The return to harmony
This (progressive) distancing from the way he had treated musical substance in the past marks a turning point in the evolution of Donatoni’s compositions in this period, which can be traced to the year 1976, and the piece Ash (“reducing control as a method with restrictive functions”), and then to the following year, with his Portrait (“amplification of multiplications on a single formalized musical substance”). In his play with the words ‘Constraint’ and ‘Contrition’ (which are near homonyms in Italian: Costrizione / Contrizione), Donatoni himself was defining this reversal: “If Constraint engendered submission to one Other than the Self, Contrition was born of submission to oneSelf as the Other […] Consciousness of being found and consciousness of losing coincide with the discovery of Self 19”.
Following the inner conflict that characterized Donatoni’s work in the seventies, of which Duo pour Bruno is one of the most representative examples, he revised his approach toward musical substance in favour of a search for invention that reintegrated the harmonic dimension, as in Spiri (ten instruments, 1977), and even more in Ruisseau sur l’escalier (cello and nineteen instruments, 1980) and Tema (twelve instruments, 1981), in which automatism became a pretext: it was in this (contradictory) relationship between the conscious and the unconscious that Donatoni succeeded in “repressing” all anteriority from the process. This voluntary amnesia made it possible to step back from automatism and to turn toward a richer inventiveness (offering us what is probably the best of his oeuvre), in the tension between these two poles: “My way of being is not dialectic but rather an alternation, an oscillation, in such a way that the one and the two repeating never produce a third term 20”.
Spiri seemed to embody a new preoccupation with perception based in repetition – Donatoni referred to a recurring but undeveloped “idée fixe” – which is sketched out by a clear and even seductive instrumental volubility: “Spiri’s ambiguity is linked to its success with the public, because objects in it are repeated, played an octave higher, flattering the audience’s weaknesses, without that being my intention. In this piece, I play on the ambiguity of invention and possession21”.
This is also a reflection of his penchant for forms based on the juxtaposition of panels, evident in the frequency of diptychs in his catalogue, starting with Ali (Due pezzi for solo viola, 1977), after which came Argot (violin), Nidi (piccolo) and Marches (harp, 1979), Clair (clarinet, 1980), Lame (cello) and Lem (double bass, 1982), Rima (piano, 1983), Omar (vibraphone, 1985), and Midi (flute, 1989), to name only the most representative pieces. Considering the same material from two different angles led Donatoni to explore combinations of works and instrumentations, while playing with alliterations: Lem was based on material from Lame; both were reworked in Ala (cello and double bass, 1983), then in Alamari (cello, double bass, and piano), which was based on Rima. This infinitely reflecting genealogy characterized many of his scores, among the most interesting that Donatoni produced during the last twenty years of his life.
This orientation gave rise to greater flexibility, even a new lyricism, which dovetailed with a two-fold interest in voice, which can be heard starting in his 1978 vocal trilogy – De près, …ed insieme bussarono, and Arie – or in Ultima sera (voice and five instruments, after Pessoa, 1980).
In the realm of opera, while Donatoni created Atem in 1984 by drawing together existing pieces, both whole-cloth and reworked, that were mostly orchestral (Sezioni, Per orchestra, Secondo Estratto, Doubles II, Voci, and Diario ’76), his opera Alfred, Alfred (1995) is based on a not-very-convincing representation of Donatoni himself in the silent role of a patient admitted to a hospital in a coma. More than a simple form of self-mockery, this opera was yet another representation of the composer’s depression and self-doubt, which he never hid22 – here, indeed, they took center stage.
Donatoni’s protean approach, expressed in a highly diverse body of work whose later part is the most fascinating, bears witness to his unceasing questioning, with ambiguities in his many orientations – which often contained a rejection of his recent past – all perfectly summed up in the subtitle of Antecedente X, a collection of his writings: “sulle difficoltà del comporre (“on the difficulty of composing”).
- F. Donatoni, “Une halte subjective” in Musique en Jeu N. 20 (1975), p. 15
- F. Donatoni, Questo, Milan, 1970, p. 12.
- F. Donatoni, preface to Questo, Milan, 1970, p. 6.
- F. Donatoni, Interview with François-Bernard Mâche in “Les Mal-entendus: compositeurs des années 70,” published in La Revue musicale N. 314-315, 1978, p. 50.
- F. Donatoni, in the preface to Questo, op. cit., p. 5.
- R. Cresti in Franco Donatoni, Suvini Zerboni, Milan 1982, pp. 36 sq.
- F. Donatoni, excerpted from Antecedente X in Cahier Musique N. 2 (La Rochelle, 1981). The citations that follow are also taken from that article (translated by Fabio Orsenigo).
- P. Szersnovicz in Musique en Jeu N. 20, p. 22.
- Interview with F. B. Mâche, op. cit.
- See R. Piencikovski’s analysis, “Sauf-conduit” in Entretemps N. 2, 1986, pp. 75 sq.
- Cf. I. Stoïanova in Musique en Jeu N. 20, p. 4.
- F. Donatoni, “Une halte subjective,” op. cit., p. 16.
- F. Donatoni in the program for Musica, 1984.
- F. Donatoni, “Une halte subjective,” op. cit.
- F. Donatoni, Interview with François-Bernard Mâche, op. cit., pp. 50-51.
- Ibid., respectively p. 15-17.
- F. Donatoni, “On compose pour se composer,” texts collected by François Nicolas, in Entretemps N. 2, 1986.
- F. Donatoni, preface to Antecedente X : sulle difficoltà del comporre, Milan, 1980.
- F. Donatoni, “On compose pour se composer,” op. cit.
- See the long and instructive interview, “Un’autobiografia d’ell autore raccontata da Enzo Restagno” in Donatoni, edited by E. Restagno, Turin, 1990.
© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2008
- Solo (excluding voice)
- Sonate for viola (1952)
- Composition in four movements for solo piano (1955)
- Trois improvisations for solo piano (1957)
- Doubles for harpsichord (1961), 6 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Babai for harpsichord (1964), 3 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Estratto for piano (1969), 60 s, Suvini Zerboni
- Duetto for harpsichord (1975), 2 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Musette per Lothar for musette (1976), 5 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Algo two pieces for guitar (1977), 9 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Ali two pieces for solo viola (1977), 8 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Argot two pieces for solo violin (1979), 5 mn, Ricordi
- Marches two pieces for harp (1979), 9 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Nidi two pieces for solo piccolo (1979), 6 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Clair two pieces for clarinet (1980), 8 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Lame two pieces for cello (1982), 10 mn, Ricordi
- Lem two pieces for double bass (1983), 6 mn, Ricordi
- Rima two pieces for piano (1983), 9 mn, Ricordi
- Ombra two pieces for contrabass clarinet (1984), 12 mn, Ricordi
- Omar two pieces for vibraphone (1985), 13 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- À françoise for piano (1988), 60 s, Ricordi
- Short two pieces for trumpet (1988), 8 mn, Ricordi
- Ciglio for solo violin (1989), 6 mn, Ricordi
- Midi two pieces for flute (1989), 8 mn, Ricordi
- Soft for bass clarinet (1989), 10 mn, Ricordi
- Feria II for solo organ (1992), 12 mn, Ricordi
- Feria III for organ (1992), 6 mn, Ricordi
- Mari two pieces for marimba (1992), 8 mn, Ricordi
- Nidi II for baroque tenor flute (1992), 12 mn, Ricordi
- Scaglie for trombone (1992), 6 mn, Ricordi
- Sweet for recorder (1992), 12 mn, Ricordi
- Incisi two pieces for oboe (1995), 10 mn, Ricordi
- Luci two pieces for flute in G (1995), 6 mn, Ricordi
- Françoise Variationen (1-49) for piano (1983-1996), 40 mn, Ricordi
- Till two pieces for horn in F (1996), 9 mn, Ricordi
- Che for tuba (1997), 5 mn, Ricordi
- Feria IV two pieces for accordion (1997), 11 mn, Ricordi
- Tell two pieces for English horn (1997), 10 mn, Ricordi
- Clair II for clarinet (1999), 5 mn, Ricordi
- Chamber music
- Quartetto I for string quartet (1950)
- Recitativo e allegro for violin and piano (1951)
- Cinq pièces for two pianos (1954), Schott
- Quartetto II for string quartet (1958), 11 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Quartetto IV Zrcadlo, for string quartet (1963), 4 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Black and White n° 2 for two pianos (1968), Suvini Zerboni
- Secondo Estratto for piano, harpsichord and harp (1970), 12 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Jeux pour deux for harpsichord and organ (1973), 5 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Diario '76 for four trumpets and four trombones (1977), 11 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Toy for harpsichord, two violins and viola (1977), 15 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- About for violin, viola and guitar (1979), 5 mn, Ricordi
- Fili for flute and piano (1981), 11 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Small for piccolo, clarinet and harp (1981), 7 mn, Ricordi
- The Heart's Eye for string quartet (1981), 17 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Ala two pieces for cello and double bass (1983), 10 mn, Ricordi
- Alamari for cello, double bass and piano (1983), 13 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Darkness for six percussionists (1984), 8 mn, Ricordi
- Ronda for quartet with piano (1984), 12 mn, Ricordi
- Sestetto for string sextet (1985), 14 mn, Ricordi
- Ave for piccolo, glockenspiel and celesta (1987), 7 mn, Ricordi
- La Souris sans sourire for string quartet (1988), 17 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Blow for wind quintet (1989), 13 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Bok for bass clarinet and marimba (1990), 2 mn, Ricordi
- Cloches II for two pianos (1990), 9 mn, Ricordi
- Het for flute, bass clarinet and piano (1990), 13 mn, Ricordi
- Rasch for four saxophones (1990), 6 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Spice (Ronda n° 2) for clarinet, violin (and viola), cello and piano (1990), 6 mn, Ricordi
- Cloches III for two pianists and two percussionists (1991), 7 mn, Ricordi
- Mari n° 2 for marimbas quartet (1992), 6 mn, Ricordi
- Sincronie for piano accompanied by a solo cello (1992), 5 mn, Ricordi
- Ciglio II for violin and flute (1993), 5 mn, Ricordi
- Small II for flute, viola and harp (1993), 6 mn, Ricordi
- Ciglio III for violin and piano (1994), 5 mn, Ricordi
- Cinis II for bass clarinet, marimba and percussion (1995), 10 mn, Ricordi
- Duetto n° 2 for two violins (1995), 4 mn, Ricordi
- Rasch II for saxophone quartet, vibraphone, marimba, percussion and piano (1995), 12 mn, Ricordi
- Tripium for flute, oboe and clarinet (1995), 5 mn, Ricordi
- Lame n° 2 for eight cellos (1996), 11 mn, Ricordi
- Luci n° 2 for bassoon and horn (1996), 6 mn, Ricordi
- Al for mandolin, mandola and guitar (1997), 8 mn, Ricordi
- Luci n° 3 for string quartet (1997), 30 mn, Ricordi
- Cerocchi 70 for clarinet, cello and piano (1998), 2 mn, Ricordi
- Elly for clarinet, cello and piano (1998), 60 s, Ricordi
- Instrumental ensemble music
- Concertino for strings, wind instruments and timpani (1952), 16 mn, Schott
- Ouverture for large orchestra (1953)
- Sinfonia for string orchestra (1953)
- Musica per orchestra da camera for chamber orchestra (1954-1955), 14 mn, Schott
- stage La lampara ballet for orchestra (1956)
- Strophes for orchestra (1959), 11 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- For Grilly improvisation for seven (1960), 5 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Sezioni for orchestra (1960), 13 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Puppenspiel study for stage music, for orchestra (1961), 9 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Per orchestra version one and two (1962), 20 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Asar for ten stringed instruments (1964), Suvini Zerboni
- Black and White for string orchestra (1964), Suvini Zerboni
- Divertimento II for string orchestra (1965), 11 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Etwas ruhiger im Ausdruck for five instruments (1967), 12 mn, Suvini Zerboni [program note]
- Souvenir Kammersymphonie opus 18, for fifteen instruments (1967), 15 mn, Suvini Zerboni [program note]
- Orts souvenir n°2, for fourteen instruments and player ad libitum (1969), 10 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Solo for ten strings (1969), 13 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Doubles II for orchestra (1970), 25 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- To Earle for chamber orchestra (1970), Suvini Zerboni
- Lied for thirteen instruments (1972), 16 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- To Earle two for orchestra and ensemble (1971-1972), 30 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Voci study for orchestra (1972-1973), 13 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Quarto Estratto for eight instruments (1974), 2 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- stage Duo pour Bruno for orchestra (1974-1975), 19 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Lumen for six instruments (1975), 5 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Ash for eight instruments (1976), 12 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Spiri for ten instruments (1977), 10 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Tema for twelve instrumentalists (1981), 15 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Feria for five flutes, five trumpets and organ (1982), 12 mn, Ricordi
- Sinfonia op. 63 « Anton Webern » for chamber orchestra (1983), 4 mn, Ricordi
- Cadeau for eleven instrumentalists (1984), 11 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Arpège for six instruments (1986), 12 mn, Ricordi
- Eco for chamber orchestra (1985-1986), 10 mn, Ricordi
- Refrain for eight instruments (1986), 10 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Flag for thirteen instruments (1987), 8 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Cloches for ensemble (1988), 16 mn, Ricordi
- Frain for eight instrumentalists (1989), 2 mn, Ricordi
- Refrain II for eleven instrumentalists (1991), 8 mn, Ricordi
- elec Concerto grosso for orchestra and five electronic keyboards (1992), 23 mn, Ricordi
- Jean-Sébastien Bach, L'arte della fuga transcription for orchestra (1992), 57 mn, Ricordi
- Algo IV for thirteen instrumentalists (1993), 8 mn, Ricordi
- elec Concertino n° 2 for five Yamaha electronic keyboards (1993), 7 mn, Ricordi
- Refrain III for fourteen instrumentalists (1993), 8 mn, Ricordi
- In cauda II for orchestra (1993-1994), 15 mn, Ricordi
- Serenata II for five instruments (1994), 5 mn, Ricordi
- Fanfara for ensemble (1995), 2 mn, Ricordi
- In cauda III for orchestra (1996), 10 mn, Ricordi
- Refrain IV for eight instruments (1996), 10 mn, Ricordi
- Poll for thirteen instrumentalists (1998), 13 mn, Ricordi
- Prom for orchestra (1999), 10 mn, Ricordi
- Esa (In cauda V) for orchestra (2000), 12 mn, Ricordi
- Concertant music
- Concerto for bassoon and strings (1952)
- Concerto pour timbales (1953), 20 mn, Inédit
- Divertimento for violin and orchestra (1953), 21 mn, Schott
- Movimento for piano, harpsichord and nine instruments (1959), 5 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Puppenspiel II for flute and orchestra (1966), 14 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Espressivo for oboe and orchestra (1974), 15 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Terzo Estrato for piano and eight wind instruments (1975), 8 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Portrait for harpsichord and orchestra (1976-1977), 18 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Le Ruisseau sur l'escalier for solo cello and nineteen instrumentalists (1980), 13 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Diario '83 for four trumpets, four trombones and orchestra (1983), 18 mn, Ricordi
- Hot for sopranino or tenor saxophone and six instruments (1989), 14 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Chantal for solo harp and six instruments (1990), 10 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Holly for English horn, oboe, oboe d'amore and thirteen instruments (1990), 11 mn, Ricordi
- Jay for piano and seven brass instruments (1992), 6 mn, Ricordi
- Sweet Basil for trombone and Big Band (1993), 9 mn, Ricordi
- Portal for clarinet and orchestra (1994), 8 mn, Ricordi
- Puppenspiel III for piccolo, flute, flute in G and fourteen instrumentalists (1994), 7 mn, Ricordi
- Sincronie II for cello, piano and seven instruments (1994), 5 mn, Ricordi
- Algo III for guitar and twenty-three instrumentalists (1995), 9 mn, Ricordi
- Lem II for double bass and fifteen instruments (1996), 18 mn, Ricordi
- Vocal music and instrument(s)
- Serenata for soprano and sixteen instruments (1959), 13 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- stage Domenico Cimarosa, Il matrimonio segreto opera in two acts (1976), Ricordi
- ...ed insieme bussarono for female voice and piano (1978), 5 mn, Ricordi
- Arie for voice and orchestra (1978), 23 mn, Ricordi
- De près for female voice, two piccolos and three violins (1978), 4 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- L'Ultima sera for mezzo-soprano and five instruments (1980), 19 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Abyss for contralto, bass flute and ten instruments (1983), 18 mn, Ricordi
- In cauda for choir and orchestra, in three parts (1983), 30 mn, Ricordi
- She for three sopranos and ensemble (1983), 12 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- stage Atem two acts and an interlude (1985), 1 h 30 mn, Ricordi
- Still for soprano and six instruments, after Schweige still from The Magic Flute, scene XVI (1985), 5 mn, Ricordi
- Cinis for soprano and bass clarinet (1988), 14 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Åse (Algo II) two pieces for guitar and female voice (1990), Suvini Zerboni
- Marches II for solo harp, three female voices ad libitum, twelve instruments and three percussionists (1990), 9 mn, Ricordi
- Madrigale for four children's choirs and four percussions (1991), 18 mn, Ricordi
- Aahiel for mezzo-soprano and three instruments (1992), 13 mn, Ricordi
- An Angel within my Heart for female voice, two clarinets and string trio (1992), 4 mn, Ricordi
- Late in the Day I (Ronda n° 3) for soprano, flute, clarinet and piano (1992), 6 mn, Ricordi
- Flans for soprano and nine instruments (1994), 7 mn, Ricordi
- stage Alfred, Alfred comic opera in seven scenes and six interludes (1995), 35 mn, Ricordi
- Fire (In cauda IV) for four female voices and orchestra (1998), 15 mn, Ricordi
- A cappella vocal music
- O si ride for twelve mixed voices (1987), 13 mn, Ricordi
- Electronic music / fixed media / mechanical musical instruments
- elec Quartetto III for four-track magnetic tape (1961), 5 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Esa (In cauda V) for orchestra, 12 mn, Ricordi
- Françoise Variationen (1-49) for piano, 40 mn, Ricordi
- In cauda III for orchestra, 10 mn, Ricordi
- Lame n° 2 for eight cellos, 11 mn, Ricordi
- Lem II for double bass and fifteen instruments, 18 mn, Ricordi
- Luci n° 2 for bassoon and horn, 6 mn, Ricordi
- Refrain IV for eight instruments, 10 mn, Ricordi
- Till two pieces for horn in F, 9 mn, Ricordi
- stage Alfred, Alfred comic opera in seven scenes and six interludes, 35 mn, Ricordi
- Algo III for guitar and twenty-three instrumentalists, 9 mn, Ricordi
- Cinis II for bass clarinet, marimba and percussion, 10 mn, Ricordi
- Duetto n° 2 for two violins, 4 mn, Ricordi
- Fanfara for ensemble, 2 mn, Ricordi
- Incisi two pieces for oboe, 10 mn, Ricordi
- Luci two pieces for flute in G, 6 mn, Ricordi
- Rasch II for saxophone quartet, vibraphone, marimba, percussion and piano, 12 mn, Ricordi
- Tripium for flute, oboe and clarinet, 5 mn, Ricordi
- Ciglio III for violin and piano, 5 mn, Ricordi
- Flans for soprano and nine instruments, 7 mn, Ricordi
- In cauda II for orchestra, 15 mn, Ricordi
- Portal for clarinet and orchestra, 8 mn, Ricordi
- Puppenspiel III for piccolo, flute, flute in G and fourteen instrumentalists, 7 mn, Ricordi
- Serenata II for five instruments, 5 mn, Ricordi
- Sincronie II for cello, piano and seven instruments, 5 mn, Ricordi
- Algo IV for thirteen instrumentalists, 8 mn, Ricordi
- Ciglio II for violin and flute, 5 mn, Ricordi
- elec Concertino n° 2 for five Yamaha electronic keyboards, 7 mn, Ricordi
- Refrain III for fourteen instrumentalists, 8 mn, Ricordi
- Small II for flute, viola and harp, 6 mn, Ricordi
- Sweet Basil for trombone and Big Band, 9 mn, Ricordi
- Aahiel for mezzo-soprano and three instruments, 13 mn, Ricordi
- An Angel within my Heart for female voice, two clarinets and string trio, 4 mn, Ricordi
- elec Concerto grosso for orchestra and five electronic keyboards, 23 mn, Ricordi
- Feria II for solo organ, 12 mn, Ricordi
- Feria III for organ, 6 mn, Ricordi
- Jay for piano and seven brass instruments, 6 mn, Ricordi
- Jean-Sébastien Bach, L'arte della fuga transcription for orchestra, 57 mn, Ricordi
- Late in the Day I (Ronda n° 3) for soprano, flute, clarinet and piano, 6 mn, Ricordi
- Mari two pieces for marimba, 8 mn, Ricordi
- Mari n° 2 for marimbas quartet, 6 mn, Ricordi
- Nidi II for baroque tenor flute, 12 mn, Ricordi
- Scaglie for trombone, 6 mn, Ricordi
- Sincronie for piano accompanied by a solo cello, 5 mn, Ricordi
- Sweet for recorder, 12 mn, Ricordi
- Bok for bass clarinet and marimba, 2 mn, Ricordi
- Chantal for solo harp and six instruments, 10 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Cloches II for two pianos, 9 mn, Ricordi
- Het for flute, bass clarinet and piano, 13 mn, Ricordi
- Holly for English horn, oboe, oboe d'amore and thirteen instruments, 11 mn, Ricordi
- Marches II for solo harp, three female voices ad libitum, twelve instruments and three percussionists, 9 mn, Ricordi
- Rasch for four saxophones, 6 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Spice (Ronda n° 2) for clarinet, violin (and viola), cello and piano, 6 mn, Ricordi
- Åse (Algo II) two pieces for guitar and female voice, Suvini Zerboni
- Blow for wind quintet, 13 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Ciglio for solo violin, 6 mn, Ricordi
- Frain for eight instrumentalists, 2 mn, Ricordi
- Hot for sopranino or tenor saxophone and six instruments, 14 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Midi two pieces for flute, 8 mn, Ricordi
- Soft for bass clarinet, 10 mn, Ricordi
- Abyss for contralto, bass flute and ten instruments, 18 mn, Ricordi
- Ala two pieces for cello and double bass, 10 mn, Ricordi
- Alamari for cello, double bass and piano, 13 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Diario '83 for four trumpets, four trombones and orchestra, 18 mn, Ricordi
- In cauda for choir and orchestra, in three parts, 30 mn, Ricordi
- Lem two pieces for double bass, 6 mn, Ricordi
- Rima two pieces for piano, 9 mn, Ricordi
- She for three sopranos and ensemble, 12 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Sinfonia op. 63 « Anton Webern » for chamber orchestra, 4 mn, Ricordi
- Algo two pieces for guitar, 9 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Ali two pieces for solo viola, 8 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Diario '76 for four trumpets and four trombones, 11 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Portrait for harpsichord and orchestra, 18 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Spiri for ten instruments, 10 mn, Ricordi [program note]
- Toy for harpsichord, two violins and viola, 15 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Black and White n° 2 for two pianos, Suvini Zerboni
- Puppenspiel II for flute and orchestra, 14 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Divertimento II for string orchestra, 11 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Quartetto IV Zrcadlo, for string quartet, 4 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Per orchestra version one and two, 20 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Quartetto II for string quartet, 11 mn, Suvini Zerboni
- Trois improvisations for solo piano
- stage La lampara ballet for orchestra
- Cinq pièces for two pianos, Schott
- Recitativo e allegro for violin and piano
- Quartetto I for string quartet
- Giovanni ARLEDLER, « Donatoni e la sua scuola », dans Civilta Cattolica, Rome, décembre 1972.
- Mario BARONI, « Das Porträt Franco Donatoni », dans la revue Melos, novembre-décembre 1973.
- Mario BORTOLOTTO, « Un paradisus interruptus : a Franco Donatoni », dans Avanguardia e neo-avanguardia, Milan, Sugar editore, 1966.
- Mario BORTOLOTTO, « Le idee di Franco Donatoni », dans Fase Seconda-Studi sulla Nuova Musica, Turin, éditions Einaudi, 1969.
- Mario BORTOLOTTO, « Sur les lagunes, Idee vecchie e musiche (quasi) nuove », dans Lo Spettatore musicale, Turin, éditions Einaudi, octobre 1972.
- Antoine BONNET & François NICOLAS, « Franco Donatoni, une figure », dossier Franco Donatoni, dans la revue Entretemps n° 2, Paris, éditions Entretemps, novembre 1986.
- Paolo CASTALDI, « Drei Stücke », dans Lo Spettatore musicale, Turin, éditions Einaudi, mai-juin 1970.
- Aldo CLEMENTI, Francesco PENNISI « Su Questo », dans Lo Spettatore musicale, Turin, éditions Einaudi, décembre 1970.
- Renzo CRESTI, Franco Donatoni – Studio monografico sulla musica e la poetica di Franco Donatoni in relazione alle problematiche filosofiche e musicali dagli anni ‘50 ad oggi, Milan, éditions Suvini Zerboni, 1982, 109 p.
- Franco DONATONI, Antecedente X, Sulle difficoltà del comporre, Milan, éditions Adelphi, 1980.
- Franco DONATONI, « Une halte subjective » (dossier Donatoni), dans Musique en jeu n° 20 – Questions, Réponses, Commentaires, Paris, éditions du Seuil, 1975, p. 15-20.
- Franco DONATONI, In-oltre, Brescia, éditions L’Obliquo, 1988.
- Franco DONATONI, Questo, Milan, Editions Adelphi, 1970.
- Franco DONATONI, Questo (Ça), Château-Gontier sur Mayenne, Aedam Musicae, 2022.
- Franco DONATONI, Il Sigaro di Armando, Scritti 1964-1982, Milan, éditions Spirali, coll. « L’Alingua », 1982.
- Franco DONATONI, « On compose pour se composer » et « Processus et figure », dossier Franco Donatoni, dans Entretemps n° 2, Paris, éditions Entretemps, novembre 1986.
- Franco DONATONI, entretien avec François-Bernard Mâche, « Les Mal-entendus : Compositeurs des années 70 », dans La Revue musicale n° 314-315, Paris, éditions Richard-Masse, 1978.
- Candida FELICI (éd.), Franco Donatoni : gravita senza peso. Atti del convegno (Parma, 30 novembre 2013), Lucca, Libreria musicale italiana, 2015.
- Candida FELICI, « L’opera come frammento e l’albero di Tule : procedimenti intertestuali nelle opere della maturità di Franco Donatoni », Rivista Italiana di Musicologia, 2018, 53, p. 149-172.
- Gioacchino LANZA, « I due volti dell’alea », dans la revue Nuova Rivista Musicale Italiana, Turin, éditions Radio Televisione Italiana, 1969.
- Pierre MICHEL, « Franco Donatoni : Tema pour 12 instruments (1981) », dans Musiques contemporaines – Perspectives analytiques (1950-1985), Paris, éditions Minerve, coll. « Musique ouverte », 2007, p. 197-206.
- Gabriella Mazzola NANGERONI, Franco Donatoni, Milan, Editions Targa Italiana, 1989.
- Robert PIENCIKOWSKI, « Sauf conduit », dossier Franco Donatoni, dans la revue Entretemps n° 2, Paris, éditions Entretemps, novembre 1986.
- Alain POIRIER, « Trajectoires », dossier Franco Donatoni, dans la revue Entretemps n° 2, Paris, éditions Entretemps, novembre 1986.
- Enzo RESTAGNO (a cura di), Donatoni, Turin, EDT Edizioni di Torino, coll. « Autori Vari », 1990, 276 p. (études de E. Restagno, G. Montecchi, S. Colazzo, R. Piencikowski, I. Stoianova, H. Halbreich et G. Borio).
- Reginald SMITH BRINDLE, « The Lunatic Fringe », dans The Musical Times, The Musical Times Publications Ltd, juillet 1956.
- Ivanka STOÏANOVA, « Franco Donatoni : Souvenir (1967) », dossier Donatoni, dans Musique en jeu n° 20 – Questions, Réponses, Commentaires, Paris, éditions du Seuil, 1975, p. 4-14.
- Patrick SZERSNOVICZ, « A propos de Lied (1972). Note sur l’évolution récente de F. Donatoni », dossier Donatoni, dans Musique en jeu n° 20 – Questions, Réponses, Commentaires, Paris, éditions du Seuil, 1975, p. 21-23.
- Patrick SZERSNOVICZ, « Approche de Franco Donatoni », dans Art Press n° 16, Paris, éditions Art Press, février 1975.
- Laurent FENEYROU, Musique et dramaturgie – esthétique de la représentation au XXe siècle, Paris, éditions Publications de la Sorbonne, coll. « Esthétique », 2003, 846 p.
- Article dans Musica Falsa n° 5, Paris, éditions Musica Falsa, 1998.
- Article dans Ricordi Oggi, Milan, éditions Ricordi, 1997.
- Article dans Opération « Zig-Zag » [programme de la manifestation, 1983] – 26 des compositeurs qui écrivent l’histoire musicale de ces vingt dernières années, Paris, éditions Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 1983, 67 p.
- Franco DONATONI, Marches ; Nidi ; Clair ; Small ; Estratto ; Secondo Estratto ; Quarto Estratto, Ensemble Adapter, dans « Chamber Works », 1 CD Kairos, 2017, 0015021KAI.
- Franco DONATONI, Abyss ; Souvenir (Kammersymphonie Op. 18) ; Puppenspiel III ; Orts (Souvenir N. 2), dans « Abyss », 1 CD Stradivarius, 2017, STR 37075.
- Franco DONATONI, « Le Ruisseau sur l’escalier », Oren Shevlin : violoncelle, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Peter Rundel : direction, 1 CD Edition Zeitklang, 2014, ez-56058.
- Franco DONATONI, In Cauda II ; In Cauda III ; Esa (In Cauda V) ; Prom ; Duo pour Bruno, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Yoichi Sugiyama : direction, dans « Orchestral Works », 1 CD Neos, 2014, NEOS 11410.
- Franco DONATONI, Ali, dans « Sonata for viola », Geneviève Strosser : alto, avec des œuvres de György Ligeti, Heinz Holliger, Helmut Lachenmann, Giacinto Scelsi, 1 cd æon, 2011, AECD1100.
- Franco DONATONI, « 10 anni dopo. Donatoni Edition, vol. 7 » : Tema ; Flag ; Hot ; Luci ; Rasch II, Divertimento Ensemble, Italian Saxophone Quartet, Lorenzo Missaglia : flûte, Mario Marzi : saxophone, Sandro Gorli : direction, 1 cd Stradivarius, 2010, STR 33838.
- Franco DONATONI, « Donatoni Edition, vol. 6 » : Algo IV ; Poll ; Refrain IV ; About ; Al ; Small II ; Algo, Ensemble Freon, Stefano Cardi : guitare et direction, 1 cd Stradivarius, 2007, STR 33773.
- Franco DONATONI, Rasch ; Rash II, dans « Mysterious Morning - Pièces pour saxophones », Quatuor Habanera, avec des œuvres de Sofia Goubaïdoulina, Iannis Xenakis et Fuminori Tanada, 1 cd Alpha 2007.
- Franco DONATONI, « Donatoni Edition, vol. 4. Piano Music » : Leoncavallo ; Cloches II ; A Renzo e Marcella ; À Françoise ; Rima ; Estratto ; Black and White 2 ; Tre Improvisazioni 1 et 2, Maria Isabella De Carli et Mariarosa Bodini : piano, 1 cd Stradivarius, 2002, STR 33627.
- Franco DONATONI, Omar, dans « Open percussion », Hans-Kristian Kjos Sorensen : percussion et voix, avec des œuvres de Iannis Xenakis, Hans-Kristian Kjos Sorensen, Ase Hedstrom, John Cage et Rolf Wallin, 1 cd Bis Records, 2002.
- Franco DONATONI, « Portrait » : Refrain 3 ; Etwas Ruhiger Im Ausdruck ; Lumen For Grilly ; Spiri ; Le Ruisseau sur L’escalier, Ensemble Fa, direction : Dominique My, 1 cd Accord, coll. Una corda, 2001.
- Franco DONATONI, Hot, Daniel Kientzy : saxophone, ensemble 2e2m, direction : Paul Mefano, 1 cd Nova Musica, 2000, NMCD5109.
- Franco DONATONI, Clair, Alain Damiens : clarinette, avec également des œuvres d’Igor Stravinsky, Pierre Boulez, Edison Denisov, Karlheinz Stockhausen et Luciano Berio, 1 cd Musidisc, 1996 (première publication : Adda, 1987).
- Franco DONATONI, Eco ; Ombra ; Diario ; Lame ; Spiri, Armand Angster : clarinette contrebasse, Alain Meunier : violoncelle, ensemble Alternance, direction : Luca Pfaff, 1 cd Accord, Coll. « Una Corda », 1995, 204702.
- Franco DONATONI, La Souris sans sourire, dans « From Italy – Berio, Bussoti, Castiglioni, Donatoni, Maderna, Melchiorre, Scelsi, Sciarrino, Scodanibbio, Stroppa », Quatuor Arditti, avec des œuvres de Giacinto Scelsi, Bruno Maderna, Luciano Berio, Salvatore Sciarrino, Marco Stroppa etc., 1 cd Montaigne Auvidis, coll. « Arditti Quartet Edition », 1995, MO782042.
- Franco DONATONI, The Heart’s eye, dans « Petrassi, Donatoni, Solbiati », Quartetto Paolo Borciani : Fulvio Luciani et Elena Ponzoni : violons, Roberto Tarenzi : alto, Claudia Ravetto : violoncelle, avec des œuvres de Goffredo Petrassi et Alessandro Solbiati, 1 cd Stradivarius, 1994, STR 33341.
- Franco DONATONI, Rasch, dans « Xasax », Pierre-Stéphane Meugé, Marcus Weiss, Jean-Michel Goury, Serge Bertocchi : saxophones, avec des œuvres de Georges Aperghis, Iannis Xenakis, Elliott Carter, John Cage etc., 1 cd Erol Records, 1994, 7019.
- Franco DONATONI, Argot, dans « Irvine Arditti – Recital for violin », Irvine Arditti : violon, avec des œuvres de Julio Estrada, Brian Ferneyhough, Elliott Carter, James Dillon et Luis de Pablo, 1 cd Montaigne, coll. « Arditti String Quartet Edition », 1994, MO 789003.
- Franco DONATONI, For Grilly ; Lied ; Lumen ; Ash ; Arpège ; L’Ultima sera, Luisa Castellani : soprano, Gruppo Musica Insieme di Cremona, direction : Andrea Molino, 1 cd Stradivarius, 1993, STR 33315.
- Franco DONATONI, Blow, dans « Carter, Donatoni, Kurtág, Ligeti », Quintetto Arnold, avec des œuvres d’Elliott Carter, György Kurtág et György Ligeti, 1 cd Stradivarius, 1991, STR 33304.
- Franco DONATONI, Lumen ; De près ; L’Ultima sera ; Fili ; Le Ruisseau sur l’escalier ; Feria ; Still, Liliane Mazeron : soprano, Anne Bartellomi : mezzo-soprano, ensemble 2e2m, direction : Paul Méfano, 1 cd Adda, 1991, ADDA 581143.
- Franco DONATONI, Rima ; Ala ; Alamari ; Spiri ; Flag, ensemble Carme, direction : Guido Guida, 1 cd Dischi Ricordi S.p.A., 1991, CRMCD 1013.
- Franco DONATONI, Het, dans « Het Trio – Ringing the changes » Het Trio : Harrie Starreveld : flûtes, Harry Sparnaay : clarinette basse, René Eckhard : piano, avec des œuvres d’Andrew Ford, Paolo Perezzani, Gerard Brophy, Theo Loevendie etc., 1 cd Attacca, 1991, Attacca Babel 9161-4.
- Franco DONATONI, Tema ; Cadeau, dans « Ligeti, Donatoni », Pierre-Laurent Aimard : piano, Maryvonne Le Dizès-Richard : violon, Jacques Deleplancque : cor, Ensemble intercontemporain, direction : Pierre Boulez, avec des œuvres de György Ligeti, 1 cd Erato, 1990, ECD 75555.
- Franco DONATONI, Spiri ; Fili ; De près ; Etwas Ruhiger im Ausdruck ; Refrain, Dorothy Dorow : soprano, Nieuw Ensemble, direction : Ed Spanjaard, 1 cd Etcetera Records, 1988, KTC 1053.
- Franco DONATONI, Nidi ; Toy ; Ave ; Alamari ; Flag, Pierre-Yves Artaud : flûtes, Jacqueline Méfano : piano et clavecin, ensemble 2e2m, direction : Paul Méfano, 1 cd Adda, 1987.
- Franco DONATONI, Spiri ; Eco ; Ombra ; Diario ; Lame, Armand Angster : clarinette contrebasse, Alain Meunier : violoncelle, Ensemble Alternance, direction : Luca Pfaff, 1 cd Harmonic Records, 1986, H/CD 8616.
- Nat LILENSTEIN, « Boulez au XXème siècle », Ensemble intercontemporain, Cassette vidéo Cameras continentales, France 3, La Sept, Ircam-Centre Pompidou, Ensemble intercontemporain, Cnac, 1988 [Les instruments traditionnels et les instruments nouveaux dans la musique contemporaine, thème exposé par Pierre Boulez, illustré par des pièces de Franco Donatoni, Edgard Varèse, Jonathan Harvey, que répète l’Ensemble intercontemporain. Enregistré à l’Ircam - 57 minutes]
- Éditions Ricordi : www.ricordi.it
- Éditions Suvini Zerboni : http://www.esz.it
- « Archives Franco Donatoni » dans Le Concert du soir sur France Musique le 22 janvier 2023.
(liens vérifiés en octobre 2023).