Personalities | Giacinto Scelsi | Contemporary | Classical
(Ja-chen-to Shâlse) 1905–88
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.
Choral and Orchestral Works, Orchestra and Chorus of Polish Radio and TV, Kraków (cond) Jürg Wyttenbach (Accord)
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