18 June 2007

A Return to Scelsi

Taiagaru (1962): Not too enthused about this one.

Yliam (1964): Definitely one of his better works, for female choir up to I think 8-10 parts spreads from an A out in both directions to a chord. There is a narrative sense to the piece which makes you listen even through the somewhat dull stretch in the middle, also in the female voices there are great means to realize the vision of this sliding alterately dirtied pitch world. A great success, if quite difficult to sing - woe be to whomever is singing Soprano 1 and 2. The literature that has sprung up around this musi is a bit overblown, but this is a cosmic sound experience made all the better to beheard in a reverberant space.

Duo (for violin and cello) (1965): Two movements for violin and cello, both of which seem to play in a strange area in which it is not supposed to be dramatic yet at the same time there are dramatic gestures - just when you think you can safely live in a detuned octave, say, the violin comes with a loud ponticello in the high register and so forth. THe first movement is about detuning a G octave, the second, more meditative. Just as Scelsi thoroughly explored one idea - for instance the piano for a while, he is now been in the strings, primarily for several years. I imagine he will soon move on to something else.

Anahit (1965): "Concerto" for violin and 18 instruments, spectacularly beautiful, with phrases based on breathing it seems. The orchestration is supple, the entry of the violin stunning - like the Sibelius concerto even - after the cadenza the violin is apotheosized - stunning.

Anagamin (1965): I was unable to see a score for the work. A piece for strings that moves around an octave and its higher harmonics. There is a sense of impending doom in this. The orchestration is ever lovely of course.

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