06 March 2007


I had a at a certain point decided to look into the music of the Italian "mystical" composer Giacinto Scelsi, whose later works, particularly Anahit, I really admired. I dragged up a listing of his works and began collecting albums and began as is my wont at the beginning. I slogged through the many, I repeat, many early piano works - all quite large and unwieldy, some vey rewarding to play on the piano, others not rewarding at all and have now reached into what some refer to as his Second Period when he began to focus on so-called "one-note" music. After his explorations of the piano come a series of explorations for solo instrument or duo. My notes on the earlier pieces follow below:

1929: Chemin du coeur: Unavailable
1929: Rotative: Unavailable
1930-40: 40 Preludes for piano: Unavailable
1930-40: 6 Pieces from "Paralipomeni": Unavailable
1932: Dialogo: Unavailable
1932: Sinfonietta: Unavailable
1933: Tre canti di primavera: Unavailable
1933: L'amour et le crane: Unavailable
1933: Tre canti: Unavailable
1934: Suite No. 2 (for piano)
1934: Toccata (for piano): Unavailable
1934: Poems (for piano): Unavailable
1934: Sonata Vn. Pno.: Unavailable
1934: Concertino piano and orch: Unavailable
1935: Suite No. 5 (for piano)
1936: Trio No. 1: Unavailable
1936: Preludio, Ariosa e Fuga: Unavailable
1937: Perdus (voice and piano)

1936/9: Four poems: First is quite nice.

1938: Suite No. 6 "I Capricci di Ty" (for piano)
1939: Suite No. 7 (for piano)

1939: Hispania: My recollection is that this was not one of his better moments

1939: Sonata No. 2 (for piano)

1939: Sonata No. 3 (for piano): Quite nice as far as these go. The opening two movements have this sort of searching quality, searching through hamronic fields that I find interesting.

1939: Trio No. 2: Unavailable
1936/40: 24 Preludes: Unavailable
1940: Variations (for piano): Unavailable
1940: Variations and Fugue (for piano): Unavailable

1939?: Sonata No. 4 (for piano):A little bit more harmonic than some of the other really crappy piano music of Scelsi. I have a hard time here with the difference between improvising and composing. It seems that these piano works especially need a lot of editing.

1943: Ballata (for cello and piano): Unavailable

1944: String Quartet No. 1: Very long, some good moments. I listened to this long before I started taking notes.

1945: Introduction and Fugue: Unavailable
1948: La Nascita del Verbo: Unavailable
1950: Trio (vib., mar., perc.): Unavailable though a recording does exist

1952: Suite No. 8 "Bot-Ba" (for piano):Scelsi's orientalism is here apaprent in the "gong" notes, in the clamorous notes. This is though one of the better suites, along with suite 3. He does manage quite well to create a powerful twinkling effect on the piano through tremolo which might be good to reflect on in my own work.

1953: Quattro Illustrazioni (for piano): These are four illustrations from the life of Vishnu. Scelsi has found his niche now, though the piece is somewhat forgetable.

1953: Cinque incantesimi (for piano): On reflection, I have a hard time differentiating this from the others. It is more played, I imagine because it is shorter.

1953: Suite No. 9 "Ttai" (for piano): Another suite, on recollection one of the better ones.

1953: Piccola suite (for flute and clarinet): Here is the beginning of a number of solo and duo works for winds that explore one or two pitches with a bit or ornamentation, not developed really seemingly mere experiments.

1953: Quays (flute): Again an experiment for solo flute.

1954: Suite No. 10 "Ka" (for piano): A better one of the suites, developed, actually there are some very nice movements in it particularly is it the 6th which uses F and C augmented with a Db throughout. The last is not very successful, but really that's the only one. I was never all that pleased with these piano suites, with few exceptions, but this one I could actually live with.

1954: Pwyll (for flute): Experiment for solo flute, success depends on the interpreter.

1954: Preghiera per un ombra (Eb Clarinet): It is hard to distinguish these various pieces for solo instruments. All focus around several pitches have constant or near constant activity with various modal and/or "exotic" grace note figurations. This for Eb clarinet is the same - quasi-tonal with figurations leading up to or around important pitches scalar activity on the deeper level. In three sections, roughly, ending with longer notes. Very few rests.

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