02 May 2007

Scelsi: Quatro pezzi su una nota sola

Quattro pezzi su una nota sola (1959): This is Scelsi's justifiably famous big "one-note" piece, though he had been getting there for some time - not for orchestra proper, more like a large chamber group - 22 players, no violins, four hourns, two saxophones. In four movements this time - each an exploration of a single note - F, then B, then Ab then finally A. Tellingly dramatic and strangely compelling, no doubt to the large scale prolongation of a cadence from the diminished resolving to A in the final movement: this is tonal music, 100%. I think this is what leads to the drama of the work - the romantic narrative. What lends it its internal motion, I'm not certain as it seems the quarter-tone inflections aren't guided. Excellent.

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