11 April 2007

Scelsi: Various

After some chiding by Mika Pelo, I've returned to this posting. What follows are some notes, really, only notes, on my ongoing exploration of Scelsi.

Hyxos (1955): A beautiful piece for alto flute and percussion (1 playing 2 gongs and a cowbell). In 3 movements, sets up a meditative mood and manages to sustin it throughout its duration. Somewhat "Japanese" in flavor, but without seeming particularly derivative. Unlike any of the other works from this period of which I am so far aware.

Four Pieces for Trumpet (1956): Four pieces for trumpet, another in the series. Not memorable.

Three Pieces for Soprano Saxophone or Bass Trumpet (1956); Perhaps the finest of these "pezzi" for solo instruments and the soprano saxophone is the right choice. Essentially, Scelsi limits himself to the pitches of a fundamental chord for each piece and then plays around with pitches that are neighbors to these fundamental pitches. So in the first, based around D, we hear a lot of F#, C and A and Bb in the middle part of this first movement there is more whole-tone ish playing around. The second movement begins with a feignt we think F minor-ish, but eventually we find these to be the neighbors/sevenths to a G minor-ish area.

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