Personalities | Giacinto Scelsi | Contemporary | Classical

(Ja-chen-to Shâlse) 1905–88
Italian composer

Born as a Count into the Italian aristocracy, and numbering Salvador Dalí and Henri Michaux among his acquaintances, Scelsi enjoyed early success as a composer – his Rotativa for three pianos, wind and percussion was conducted in Paris by Monteux – but after World War II, increasingly inspired by Eastern mysticism, he withdrew into isolation at his Rome apartment, employing a few close assistants to transcribe the many works he improvised on an electronic instrument, the ondiola. His music experienced a surge of interest in the 1970s and again after this death. A striking example of his work is his set of four orchestral pieces of 1959 (Quattro pezzi su una nota sola) which, each focused on a single note, draw the listener’s attention to the minutest fluctuations of pitch, tone-colour and dynamic.

Recommended Recording:
Choral and Orchestral Works, Orchestra and Chorus of Polish Radio and TV, Kraków (cond) Jürg Wyttenbach (Accord)

Introduction | Contemporary | Classical
Personalities | Alfred Schnittke (also Shnitke) | Contemporary | Classical


An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...


Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.

Rock, A Life Story

Rock, A Life Story

The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers his life, music, art and movies, with a sweep of incredible photographs.