Author Topic: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)  (Read 37193 times)

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karlhenning

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2009, 06:25:50 AM »
Hrmph. Believe I have not yet heard a note of Scelsi.

karlhenning

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2009, 02:48:52 AM »
Very interesting commentary, thanks.

String Quartet No.1:

A forty min., 4 mvmt. SQ written in 1947. It appears to me that the post war breakdown that affected many composers of the generation (Villa Lobos, Malipiero, Chavez, Bloch, etc) came early to Scelsi. The hardening of language, the cragginess that these composers experienced in the 50s-60s, Scelsi seems to have manifested early on.

I think this SQ sounds like no other composer of the era. It is bleak, gritty, fairly unattractive, grey-ish, that starts in a sputtering manner as if Scelsi is wondering what left there is to say. Maybe my description isn't fair, though. The descrition is would say would be the "greyest" of the Rosenberg quartets plus Pettersson's early Concerto No.1 for violin and SQ, plus maybe a little Petrassian cragginess.

I think this SQ is a great example of the problems composers of the time were having in moving forward as all the idols of the past were falling. I'm not going to call this SQ "ugly", but I can hear the "sickness" of the stagnating musical climate of the time more than from any other composer. Scelsi really MUST have been depressed!!!

But, for me, the early Scelsi, early Pettersson comparison works (Pettersson abandoned chamber music after this-his piece sounds unlike his later style- I think it's a masterpiece), though I'm not looking to "get into it"...just a personal feeling.

So, it seems the "old style" Scelsi wrote one big chamber work before he "died" and was reborn. If he had continued in this vein I can see him becoming one of the sourest sounding composers ever. I do like to listen to this SQ every now and then, but I couldn't imagine opus after opus of this stuff...it would be depressing. But, as it stands, it is a great, solitary statement of the times...a composer struggling to find a voice in the midst of total cultural breakdown. Obviously, this path was "dead" to Scelsi. Sorry more composers didn't realize this.

I feel like I've been poopooing this SQ, but that's not what I'm saying. It's a fine SQ, just very unattractive, which, for me, is ok. Want to say more, but I'm stumped (the "other" Scelsi I love, but a completely different animal- others are doing a fine job).

snyprrr

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2009, 09:12:09 AM »
Hrmph. Believe I have not yet heard a note of Scelsi.

You do realize how funny that is, don't you? You did that on purpose...

Offline Brewski

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #23 on: July 29, 2009, 09:19:39 AM »
Via Sequenza 21, here is a link to a fine piece in La Folia about Scelsi.  The writer visited his home in Rome and took some interesting photos, including one of the interior. 

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Franco

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2010, 06:08:32 PM »
Scelsi's musical-spiritual interests and mine (as a composer) coincide to a large extent; especially admirable for me is the way he developed a technique which was the precise mirror of his philosophical concerns. There are a few other composers who have managed this (including such disparate figures as Lou Harrison, Jonathan Harvey, Satie, Terry Riley(sometimes), Tippett and, yes, Janacek), and this small group of composers in their different ways mean quite a lot to me, even if they aren't necessarily my 'favourite' composers (though the last one listed is!)

I have been listening to a lot of Scelsi lately, but did not know about this aspect of his process.  I would add Messiaen to your list, as someone who considered translating his faith/theology into his method of composition of primary importance.

kentel

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2010, 02:35:18 AM »
I have been listening to a lot of Scelsi lately, but did not know about this aspect of his process.  I would add Messiaen to your list, as someone who considered translating his faith/theology into his method of composition of primary importance.

Both composers were fascinated by traditional indian music; this is especially true for Messiaen who used the tâla rhythms everywhere. I would say that Messiaen was mostly fascinated by the very complex technic of the Indian music, while Scelsi was mostly interested into the spirituality and the mythology of India.

I think that Messiaen's spirituality was a very interesting mix of catholicism and animism (with all this stuff around the adoration of birds) which I find completely enthralling.

I think that both composers are among the most fascinating within the whole history of classical music. My favorites among Scelsi's works are :

- Chukrum (1963) for orchestra
- Anagamin (1965) for orchestra
- Elohim (1965) for orchestra
- Ohoi (1966) for orchestra

- Kya (1959) for clarinet & orchestra
- Anahit  (1965) for violin & orchestra

- String Quartet nr.3 (1963)
- String Quartet nr.4 (1964)
- String Quartet nr.5 (1985)

- Three Sacred Songs (1958) for choir & orchestra
- Aion (1961) for choir & orchestra
- Uaxuctum (1968) for choir & orchestra

--Gilles



kentel

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2010, 02:37:00 AM »
I have been listening to a lot of Scelsi lately, but did not know about this aspect of his process.  I would add Messiaen to your list, as someone who considered translating his faith/theology into his method of composition of primary importance.

and Scriabin :)

karlhenning

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2010, 03:47:08 PM »
Well, I now own two Scelsi discs, and I am just enraptured!

Offline petrarch

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2010, 05:17:59 PM »
Well, I now own two Scelsi discs, and I am just enraptured!

Get the 3 CD set on Accord with the complete orchestral music. I re-heard the 3 CDs this weekend (spurred by a discussion in another thread) and they continue to be absolutely fantastic.
//p
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snyprrr

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #29 on: March 16, 2010, 07:53:12 PM »
I was just listening to this disc of Natura Renovatour, Anagamin, Elohim, and Ohoi, all works for 10+ strings. It's on a very small label from Walleny.

When you think about this being written in the mid '60s, you know, it really flies into bold relief as to how from outside of time this music is. The first, and longest piece, made quite an impression whilst driving in the foggy rain!


Offline petrarch

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2010, 04:42:26 AM »
I was just listening to this disc of Natura Renovatour, Anagamin, Elohim, and Ohoi, all works for 10+ strings. It's on a very small label from Walleny.

When you think about this being written in the mid '60s, you know, it really flies into bold relief as to how from outside of time this music is. The first, and longest piece, made quite an impression whilst driving in the foggy rain!

Yeah, when I heard Elohim in concert in the mid-90s I was absolutely mesmerized... The combination of a string quartet on stage accompanied by tape (instead of the amplified strings) essentially playing what sounded like chords playing backwards was memorable. That piece is still one of my favourites in chamber music.
//p
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The hi-fi system: Esoteric X-03SE -> Pathos Logos -> Analysis Audio Amphitryon.
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karlhenning

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #31 on: March 17, 2010, 05:07:28 AM »
Get the 3 CD set on Accord with the complete orchestral music.

I don't find that anywhere . . . but I've got some other discs coming in before long. Can hardly wait; love this stuff!

Offline petrarch

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #32 on: March 17, 2010, 05:11:21 AM »
I don't find that anywhere . . . but I've got some other discs coming in before long. Can hardly wait; love this stuff!

Here's a reissue (I have the original from the early 90s, so I don't know how this one is re liner notes, etc).
//p
The music collection.
The hi-fi system: Esoteric X-03SE -> Pathos Logos -> Analysis Audio Amphitryon.
A view of the whole

karlhenning

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #33 on: March 17, 2010, 05:12:07 AM »
Thanks!

Franco

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2010, 05:55:50 AM »
I am finding Giacinto Scelsi, Salvatore Sciarrino, Morton Feldman, György Kurtág  forming an ad hoc "school" in my mind. 

I have been listening to their music for the last week or so and enjoying it quite a bit (Feldman's String Quartet 2/Flux Quartet is fantastic).  I think the Italian avant garde, Nono, Maderna, Dallapiccola of the older generation, and these two Italians (along with Feldman and Kurtag) have become the composers  dominating my listening time at the moment (well, them and Peter Gabriel).

Very good music - and music which has started me on a much welcome journey.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2010, 05:57:45 AM by Franco »

kentel

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2010, 01:47:21 AM »
I am finding Giacinto Scelsi, Salvatore Sciarrino, Morton Feldman, György Kurtág  forming an ad hoc "school" in my mind. 

I would add Friedrich Cerha. I think you should try Tristan Murail - he was a pupil of Scelsi, and one of the very first to promote his works. Really beautiful music too, and maybe the best french living composer. Well, with Dutilleux :)

--Gilles



snyprrr

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #36 on: September 15, 2010, 08:33:13 PM »
ok, back to the real world, ahem. ::)



Here's the state of My Scelsi:

*Accord #1: 4 Illus./ Xynobis/ 5 Incant./ Duo

*Accord #2: Elegia per Ty/ violin and viola pieces/ Trio

*Arditti SQ: Complete 1-5/ Trio (again)/ Khoom (ens. w/vocal)

*Memoire Vive disc: Pranam II (ens. w/vocal)/ Ko-Tha/ I presagi/ Riti #3/ (percussion) Trio/ Manto (ens. w/vocal)/ Kya

*2e2m disc: Kya/ Pranam I/ Maknogan/ Kho-Lo/ Pwyll/ Aitsi/ pieces for trumpet, 2 violins, cello

*Dessy disc of all four string orchestra pieces

*Maknongan on a doublebass disc



I finally got that one Accord disc with the piece Elegia per Ty (vla, vnc), that someone was raving about, and, yes, it is a high point, no questions asked, really. The tone of the viola and cello together produce something...mmm...I think it has in common with SQ No.3. Obviously, I can't explain it, haha (it's one note that goes whrrrr, woosh woosh). At one point, the viola I think, makes a startling yelp that will make you think. Overall, the piece has a perfect, rabid, brown sound, like that disease-in-the-woods-movie Cabin Fever.

The reason I could be so high on that piece, is that the violin piece L'Ame Ailee is, literally, the most ascetic piece I've heard from Mr. One Note. It sounds like what  I imagine La Monte Young's String Trio based on the sounds of high tension wires.

Scelsi (btw: pronunciation, please?...is it shell-see?) is becoming for me a very problematic Composer, and I'm note really sure why. Maybe I already took him for granted before I ever even heard him (I think so maybe). But, I do understand that there is a little listening involved. The main violin solo piece, Xynobis, is more interesting.

Of course I got the Arditti (in that cool original box), but so far I like listening to the early No.1 (@40 mins) the most. No.3 reaches places, and has enough going on for me, and is long enough (@18mins) to count as one of the biggies (to compare with others), and one that I will return to often.

I still haven't sat down for my Evening Concert (where I listen to most of it), so, I'm just shooting out some thoughts.

The vocal pieces for me are,...mmm,....tolerable, in that there are instruments "helping" the dear young lady do the best Crone I've ever heard (piss me off and I'll start a Meredith Monk Thread >:D). I can "dig" it, baby, but why then do I want to say "but" afterwards? The piece Pranam II was especially convincing though, in its presentation (incl. tape). However, the Ms. H is not generally my cup of tea.



The earlier Divertimento for violin, Coelocanth for viola, and wind pieces (which are on ALL ::) those CPO and Col Legno discs) all sound more like fairly normal solo music, all derived from Bach or Debussy it sounds like to me. It is quite shocking, though, after one of his later, static pieces, to have this normal stuff jump out at you. As mid-century suites for solo strings (as compared to Bloch, et al) they're ok, but, you know, they're not meant to be barnstormers I guess. The trumpet pieces would probably work better on a Hardenberger solo disc type thing better maybe.

The Mefano/2e2m disc I kinda have a prob with, in that, on the one hand, there is a lot of diversity, but after a while, a cello piece, followed by a flute piece, followed by trumpet (and the string pieces are recorded kind of small),... the two ensemble pieces (along with Anahit, the violin "concerto) Kya (for clarinet (or sax) and 7) and Pranam I are the best listening experiences, and worthy companions to the SQs.

I've heard the varied trios Okanagon and Yamoan, but these in particular have been criticized as not being the best Ritual Sacrifice Music (see Thread!).

And the early piano music sounds like raga improv to me, nice examples, but, once again, I was doing this at five too. Other piano music by him is not for me.

Without going into the orchestral stuff (the Accord box), that leaves that CPO doublebass disc, which, though it may try, I just can't see. I know there might be a cool piece, but, God willing, I think I can just go ahead and listen to these.

The orchestral stuff's on YouTube, and I'm saving it for a rainy day!

So, what's going on in ScelsiLand?

karlhenning

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #37 on: September 16, 2010, 01:58:19 AM »
It's a while since I listened. I'll cue him up again this morning!

karlhenning

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #38 on: September 16, 2010, 02:02:22 AM »
. . . literally, the most ascetic piece I've heard from Mr. One Note.

Sometimes, one note is all you need.

Quote from: snypr
Scelsi (btw: pronunciation, please?...is it shell-see?)

Yes, that will be close.

Online Sergeant Rock

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Re: Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)
« Reply #39 on: September 16, 2010, 03:04:16 AM »
Overall, the piece has a perfect, rabid, brown sound, like that disease-in-the-woods-movie Cabin Fever.

Well, that sounds....enticing  :D

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he was as f*cked-up as you are."
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