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Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988)

Giacinto Scelsi, composerGiacinto Scelsi's music was largely unknown throughout most of his life, as he refused to conduct interviews or make analytical comments about his works and rarely sought out performances. The attitudes behind his musical creations can be tied in with this reclusiveness; from the 1940s he saw music as a type of spiritual revelation. He began to compose his better known pieces at this time, works which involved static harmony with surface fluctuations of timbre and microtonal inflection. This type of harmonic minimalism was developed independently of other minimalist trends of the twentieth century, and was received with fascination by the musical world when his music finally began to receive performances and recordings in the 1980s. He wrote over 100 works, including several major pieces for orchestra, and works for chamber ensemble, string quartets, and solo and duo pieces. Many of his pieces were worked out in improvisation and subsequently written down. Around the time of the Second World War, while convalescing from a breakdown, Scelsi came to the point of view that composition was a spiritual process which had nothing to do with the individualism that had been part of most music making in Europe since the eighteenth century. Rather, he saw the composer as the creator of circumstances through which the secrets in sounds could be revealed. At this time he also became fascinated by the complex of sounds which could be produced by a single note, and reportedly played single pitches repeatedly on the piano, listening intently. These influences began to be felt in his works in the 1950s, with many pieces consisting of very slowly shifting harmony, often moving in one direction, for example in String Quartet No. 4 (1964). This trend was at its most pronounced in the Quattro Pezzi Su Una Nota Sola (Four pieces each on a single note) (1959), for chamber orchestra, where refined orchestration, glissandi, trills, and microtonal movement are given prominence through the stillness of larger scale harmonic action. From the 1970s Scelsi's pieces became generally shorter and more succinct.
-  Rachel Campbell/AllMusic

COMPOSITIONS                                                            Scelsi Links     ~ ~ ~     Works by Genre    ~ ~ ~    Scelsi on Scelsi
Chemin du coeur, violin and piano (1929)
Rotative, 3 pianos, winds and percussion (1929) [arr. for 2 pianos and percussion, 1938]
Suite No. 1, piano (????, withdrawn?)
Dialogo, cello and piano (1932)
Sinfonietta, orchestra (1932)
Tre canti di primavera, voice and piano (1933) [text: Sibilla Aleramo]
L'amour et le crane, voice and piano (1933)
Tre canti, voice and piano (1933) [text: G. d'Annunzio]
Suite No. 2, "The Twelve Minor Prophets", piano (1930-34)
Suite No. 3, piano (????, withdrawn?)
Suite No. 4, piano (????, withdrawn?)
Toccata, piano (1934)
Poemi, piano (1934)
Sonata, violin and piano (1934)
Piano Concertina, piano and orchestra (1934)
Suite No. 5, "Il circo", piano (1935)
Piano Trio, violin, cello and piano (1936)
Preludio, ariosa e fuga, orchestra (1936)
Perdus, female voice and piano (1937) [text: Wahl]
Suite No. 7, piano (1939)
Hispania (Triptych for piano), piano (1939)
Piano Sonata No. 1 (????)
Piano Sonata No. 2 (1939)
Piano Sonata No. 3 (1939)
Piano Trio No. 2, violin, cello and piano (1939)
Quattro poemi, piano (1936-39)
Suite No. 6, "j capricci di Ty", piano (1938-39)
Quaranta preludi (40 Preludes), piano (1930-40)
Six Pieces from Paralipomeni , piano (1930-40)
Variations, piano (1940) ???
Variations and Fugue, piano (1940) [1941?]
Piano Sonata No. 4 (1941)
Ballata, cello and piano (1943)
String Quartet No. 1 (1944) [arr. for string orchestra, 1962]
Introduction and Fugue, string orchestra (1945)
La nascita del verbo, chorus and orchestra (1947-48) [text: Scelsi]
Trio, vibraphone, marimba and percussion (c. 1950)
Suite No. 8, "Bot-ba", piano (1952)
Quattro illustrazioni, piano (1953)
Cinque incantesimi, piano (1953)
Suite No. 9, "Ttai", piano (1953)
Piccola suite, flute and clarinet (1953)
Suite No. 10, "Ka", piano (1954)
Pwyll, flute (1954)
Tre studi, Eb clarinet (1954)
Preghiera per un'ombra, clarinet (1954)
Divertimento No. 2, violin (1954)
Action Music, piano (1955)
Divertimento No. 3, violin (1955)
Divertimento No. 4, violin (1955)
Coelocanth, viola (1955)
Hyxos, alto flute, gong and small bell (1955)
Suite No. 11, piano (1956)
Tre pezzi, trumpet (or soprano sax) (1956) / Quattro pezzi, trumpet (1956) ???
Tre pezzi, trombone (or saxophone)  (1956)
Quattro pezzi, horn (1956)
Ixor, clarinet (or oboe) (1956)
Divertimento No. 5, violin (1956)
Tre studi, viola (1956)
Tre pezzi, trombone (1957) ???
Triphon (1956) [no. 1 of "Trilogy", 1956-65]
Manto, viola (1957)
Rucke di guck, piccolo and oboe (1957)
Diathome (1957) [no. 2 of "Trilogy", 1956-65]
Yamaon, bass voice, alto, sax, bar sax, contrabassoon, double bass and perc (1954-58)
String Trio (1958)
Elegia per Ty, viola and cello (1958; rev. 1966)
I presagi, tenor sax, 2 hn, 2 tpt, 2 trbn, 2 tuba and perc (1958)
Tre canti popolari, 4 voices (1958) [text: arbitrary syllables]
Tre canti sacri, 8 voices (1958) [text: Angelus; Requiem; Gloria]
Kya, cl, Eng hn, bn, bass cl, tpt, trbn, va, vc (1959)
Quattro pezzi (su una nota sola), orchestra (1959)
Hô (4 songs), soprano (1960)
Wo-Ma, bass voice (1960)
Hurqualia, amplified instruments and orchestra (1960) [Hurqualja]
String Quartet No. 2 (1961)
Aiôn, orchestra (1961)
Taiagarù (Five Invocations), soprano (1962)
Riti: i funerali d'Achille, 4 percussionists (1962)
Khoom, soprano, horn, string quartet and 2 percussionists (1962)
Lilitu, female voice (1962)
String Quartet No. 3 (1963)
Hymnos, organ and 2 orchestras (1963)
Chukrum, string orchestra (1963)
Riti:i funerali d'Alessandro Magno (323 BC), [contra bn], tuba, elec org, perc, db (1963)
OlehV, female voices and 2 gongs (1963)
Xnoybis, violin (1964)
String Quartet No. 4 (1964)
Yliam,  2 sopranos, 2 altos and 6-part female chorus (1964) [text: arbitrary syllables]
Igghur (1965) [no. 3 of "Trilogy", 1956-65]
Trilogy, cello (1956-65)
Duo, violin and cello (1965) [arr. for violin and double bass, 1977]
Anahit, violin and 18 instruments (1965)
Anagamin, 12 strings (1965)
Ko-Lho, flute and clarinet (1966)
Ohoi, string orchestra (1966)
Uaxuctum, chorus, ondes martenot and orchestra (1966)
Riti: i funerali di Carlo Magno (AD 814), cello and percussion (1967)
Ko-Tha (3 Dances of Shiva), guitar (1967) [version for double bass, 1972; version for 6-str cello, 1978)
Manto I, II, III, viola and female voice (1967)
CKCKC, voice and mandoline (1967)
Natura renovatur, string orchestra (1967)
Kövirügivogerü, voice (1967)
TKRDG, 6 male voices, amplified guitar and 2 percussionists (1968)
Oknagon, harp, tam-tam and double bass (1968)
Konx-om-pax, chorus, organ and orchestra (1969)
Ogloudoglou, voice and percussion (1969)
Il est grand temps, voice (1970) [text: G. de Nazaire]
Même si je voyais, voice (1970) [text: anon.]
Three Latin Prayers, voice (or unison female or male chorus) (1970)
Antifona (sul nome "Jesu/Gesu"), tenor and male chorus (1970)
Le grand sanctuaire, tenor (1970)
Canti del capricorno, song cycle (19 songs), soprano, with and without instruments (1962-72) [text: wordless syllables]
Nuits (2 pieces), double bass (1972)
Prânam I, female voice, Eng hn, cl, bsn, alto sax, hn, tpt, trom, str qt and tape (1972)
L'âme ailée, L'âme ouverte, violin (1973)
Arc-en-ciel, 2 violins (1973)
Sauh I, 2 sopranos (or soprano and tape) (1973)
Sauh II, 2 sopranos (or soprano and tape) (1973)
Sauh III, 4 or more female voices (1973)
Sauh IV, 4 or more female voices (1973)
Pranam II, 2 fl, bass cl, hn, elec org, vln, va, vc, db (1973)
Voyages, cello (1974)
Et maintenant c'est à vous de jouer, cello and double bass (1974)
To the Master, cello and piano (1974)
Manto per quattro, voice, flute, trombone and cello (1974)
In Nomine Lucis (2 pieces), electric organ (1974)
Aitsi, amplified piano (1974) [version as String Quartet No. 5, 1985]
    - String Quartet No. 5 (1984) [arr. from original work for amplified piano "Aitsi", 1974]
Le réveil profond, double bass (1977)
Pfhat, chorus, organ and orchestra (1974)
Dharana, cello and double bass (1975) [1986?]
Kshara, 2 double bass (1975)
Litanie, 2 female voices (or female voice and tape) (1975)
Maknongan, baritone sax, tuba, contrabassoon, contrabass clarinet, or any bass instrument (1976)
String Quartet No. 5 (1984) [arr. from original work for amplified piano "Aitsi", 1974]
Adieu, piano (1988)


WORKS BY GENRE                                                            Scelsi Links    ~ ~ ~    Scelsi on Scelsi     ~ top of page ~
Orchestra
Rotative, 3 pianos, winds and percussion (1929) [arr. for 2 pianos and percussion, 1938]
Sinfonietta, orchestra (1932)
Preludio, ariosa e fuga, orchestra (1936)
String Quartet No. 1 (1944) [arr. for string orchestra, 1962]
Introduction and Fugue, string orchestra (1945)
Quattro pezzi (su una nota sola), orchestra (1959)
Aiôn, orchestra (1961)
Chukrum, string orchestra (1963)
Ohoi, string orchestra (1966)
Natura renovatur, string orchestra (1967)

Band
Rotative, 3 pianos, winds and percussion (1929) [arr. for 2 pianos and percussion, 1938]

Soloist(s) w/Orchestra
Rotative, 3 pianos, winds and percussion (1929) [arr. for 2 pianos and percussion, 1938]
Piano Concertina, piano and orchestra (1934)
Hurqualia, amplified instruments and orchestra (1960) [Hurqualja]
Hymnos, organ and 2 orchestras (1963)
Anahit, violin and 18 instruments (1965)

Chorus w/Orchestra
La nascita del verbo, chorus and orchestra (1947-48) [text: Scelsi]
Uaxuctum, chorus, ondes martenot and orchestra (1966)
Konx-om-pax, chorus, organ and orchestra (1969)
Pfhat, chorus, organ and orchestra (1974)

Choral
Tre canti popolari, 4 voices (1958) [text: arbitrary syllables]
Tre canti sacri, 8 voices (1958) [text: Angelus; Requiem; Gloria]
Yliam,  2 sopranos, 2 altos and 6-part female chorus (1964) [text: arbitrary syllables]
TKRDG, 6 male voices, amplified guitar and 2 percussionists (1968)
Antifona (sul nome "Jesu/Gesu"), tenor and male chorus (1970)
Three Latin Prayers, voice (or unison female or male chorus) (1970)
    - Ave Maria
    - Paternoster
    - Alleluja

Chamber
Piano Trio, violin, cello and piano (1936)
Piano Trio No. 2, violin, cello and piano (1939)
String Quartet No. 1 (1944) [arr. for string orchestra, 1962]
Trio, vibraphone, marimba and percussion (c. 1950)
Piccola suite, flute and clarinet (1953)
Hyxos, alto flute, gong and small bell (1955)
Rucke di guck, piccolo and oboe (1957)
Elegia per Ty, viola and cello (1958; rev. 1966)
I presagi, tenor sax, 2 hn, 2 tpt, 2 trbn, 2 tuba and perc (1958)
String Trio (1958)
Kya, cl, Eng hn, bn, bass cl, tpt, trbn, va, vc (1959)
String Quartet No. 2 (1961)
Riti: i funerali d'Achille, 4 percussionists (1962) [for Achilles]
Riti:i funerali d'Alessandro Magno (323 BC), [contra bn], tuba, elec org, perc, db (1963)
String Quartet No. 3 (1963)
String Quartet No. 4 (1964)
Anagamin, 12 strings (1965)
Duo, violin and cello (1965) [arr. for violin and double bass, 1977]
Ko-Lho, flute and clarinet (1966)
Riti: i funerali di Carlo Magno (AD 814), cello and percussion (1967)
Oknagon, harp, tam-tam and double bass (1968)
Pranam II, 2 fl, bass cl, hn, elec org, vln, va, vc, db (1973)
Arc-en-ciel, 2 violins (1973)
Et maintenant c'est à vous de jouer, cello and double bass (1974)
Dharana, cello and double bass (1975)
Kshara, 2 double bass (1975)
String Quartet No. 5 (1984) [arr. from original work for amplified piano "Aitsi", 1974]

Instrument and Piano
Chemin du coeur, violin and piano (1929)
Dialogo, cello and piano (1932)
Sonata, violin and piano (1934)
Ballata, cello and piano (1943)
To the Master, cello and piano (1974)

Solo Instrument
Divertimento No. 2, violin (1954)
Pwyll, flute (1954)
Tre studi, Eb clarinet (1954)
Preghiera per un'ombra, clarinet (1954)
Divertimento No. 3, violin (1955)
Divertimento No. 4, violin (1955)
Coelocanth, viola (1955)
Tre pezzi, trumpet (or soprano sax) (1956) / Quattro pezzi, trumpet (1956) ???
Tre pezzi, trombone (or saxophone)  (1956)
Quattro pezzi, horn (1956)
Ixor, clarinet (or oboe) (1956)
Divertimento No. 5, violin (1956)
Tre studi, viola (1956)
Tre pezzi, trombone (1957) ???
Trilogy, cello (1956-65)
    - Triphon (1956)
    - Diathome (1957)
    - Igghur (1965)
Manto, viola (1957)
Xnoybis, violin (1964)
Ko-Tha (3 Dances of Shiva), guitar (1967) [version for double bass, 1972; version for 6-str cello, 1978)
Nuits, double bass (1972)
    - C'est bien la nuit
    - Le réveil profond
L'âme ailée, L'âme ouverte, violin (1973)
Voyages, cello (1974)
    - II allait seul, Le fleuve magique
Maknongan, baritone sax, tuba, contrabassoon, contrabass clarinet, or any bass instrument (1976)
Le réveil profond, double bass (1977)

Piano
Suite No. 1, piano (????, withdrawn?)
Quaranta preludi (40 Preludes), piano (1930-40)
Six Pieces from Paralipomeni , piano (1930-40)
Suite No. 2, "The Twelve Minor Prophets", piano (1930-34)
Suite No. 3, piano (????, withdrawn?)
Suite No. 4, piano (????, withdrawn?)
Toccata, piano (1934)
Poemi, piano (1934)
Suite No. 5, "Il circo", piano (1935)
Quattro poemi, piano (1936-39)
Suite No. 6, "j capricci di Ty", piano (1938-39)
Suite No. 7, piano (1939)
Hispania (Triptych for piano), piano (1939)
Piano Sonata No. 1 (????)
Piano Sonata No. 2 (1939)
Piano Sonata No. 3 (1939)
Variations, piano (1940) ???
Variations and Fugue, piano (1940) [1941?]
Piano Sonata No. 4 (1941)
Suite No. 8, "Bot-ba", piano (1952)
Quattro illustrazioni, piano (1953)
Cinque incantesimi, piano (1953)
Suite No. 9, "Ttai", piano (1953)
Suite No. 10, "Ka", piano (1954)
Action Music, piano (1955)
Suite No. 11, piano (1956)
In Nomine Lucis (2 pieces), electric organ (1974)
Aitsi, amplified piano (1974) [version as String Quartet No. 5, 1985]
Adieu, piano (1988)

Vocal
Tre canti di primavera, voice and piano (1933) [text: Sibilla Aleramo]
L'amour et le crane, voice and piano (1933)
Tre canti, voice and piano (1933) [text: G. d'Annunzio]
Perdus, female voice and piano (1937) [text: ]. Wahl]
Yamaon, bass voice, alto, sax, bar sax, contrabassoon, double bass and perc (1954-58)
Hô (4 songs), soprano (1960)
Wo-Ma, bass voice (1960)
Khoom, soprano, horn, string quartet and 2 percussionists (1962)
Lilitu, female voice (1962)
Taiagarù (Five Invocations), soprano (1962)
OlehV, female voices and 2 gongs (1963)
Manto I, II, III, viola and female voice (1967)
CKCKC, voice and mandoline (1967)
Kövirügivogerü, voice (1967)
Ogloudoglou, voice and percussion (1969)
Three Latin Prayers, voice (or unison female or male chorus) (1970)
    - Ave Maria
    - Paternoster
    - Alleluja
Le grand sanctuaire, tenor (1970)
Il est grand temps, voice (1970) [text: G. de Nazaire]
Même si je voyais, voice (1970) [text: anon.]
Canti del capricorno, song cycle (19 songs), soprano, with and without instruments (1962-72) [text: wordless syllables]
Prânam I, female voice, Eng hn, cl, bsn, alto sax, hn, tpt, trom, str qt and tape (1972)
Sauh I, 2 sopranos (or soprano and tape) (1973)
Sauh II, 2 sopranos (or soprano and tape) (1973)
Sauh III, 4 or more female voices (1973)
Sauh IV, 4 or more female voices (1973)
Manto per quattro, voice, flute, trombone and cello (1974)
Litanie, 2 female voices (or female voice and tape) (1975)

Electronic/Electroacoustic
Prânam I, female voice, Eng hn, cl, bsn, alto sax, hn, tpt, trom, str qt and tape (1972)
Sauh I, 2 sopranos (or soprano and tape) (1973)
Sauh II, 2 sopranos (or soprano and tape) (1973)
Litanie, 2 female voices (or female voice and tape) (1975)


SCELSI  LINKS                                                            Works by Genre    ~ ~ ~    Scelsi on Scelsi      ~ top of page ~
The Birth of a Masterpiece (Franco Sciannameo, cmu.edu)    also    here
Giacinto Scelsi: Massive Interiors and Microtones (Jose-Luis Moctezuma, Hydra Magazine)
Giacinto Scelsi - "The Messenger" (Alex Ross, The New Yorker)
Preserving the Scelsi Improvisations (Frances-Marie Uitti, uitti.com)
Thinking Music From The Inside (Don Mager, Making Time)

Composer website (in Italian)   . . .   inquire about Giacinto Scelsi:  here

Scelsi @ Wikipedia
Scelsi @ Wikipedia.it (in Italian)
Scelsi @ Wikipedia/List of Compositions
Scelsi @ AllMusic
Scelsi @ Answers.com
Scelsi @ Art + Culture
Scelsi @ Audiophile Audition (via Google Advanced Search)
Scelsi @ Classic Cat
Scelsi @ Classical Archives
Scelsi @ Classical Composers Database
Scelsi @ Classical Iconoclast
Scelsi @ Classical Net
Scelsi @ ClassicsToday (via Google Advanced Search)
Scelsi @ composition:today    also    here
Scelsi @ Dusted Reviews (via Google Advanced Search)
Scelsi @ Facebook
Scelsi @ 5:4 (Five Against Four)
Scelsi @ GMG Classical Music Forum
Scelsi @ Huygens-Fokker Foundation
Scelsi @ IMDb (Internet Movie Database)
Scelsi @ InstantEncore
Scelsi @Ionarts
Scelsi @ IRCAM (in French)
Scelsi @ Klassika
Scelsi @ Medieval Music & Arts Foundation
Scelsi @ Mode Records
Scelsi @ Modern Classical
Scelsi @ MusicBrainz
Scelsi @ musicianguide.com
Scelsi @ MusicWeb International
Scelsi @ MyMusicBase
Scelsi @ MySpaceMusic
Scelsi @ Naxos
Scelsi @ The New York Times
Scelsi @ Frank Perry
Scelsi @ REC Music Foundation /The Lied and Art Song Texts Page
Scelsi @ Frances-Marie Uitti
Scelsi @ The Wire

Publisher
Scelsi @ De Santis
Scelsi @ G. Schirmer
Scelsi @ Ricordi
Scelsi @ Salabert

Streaming Audio
Scelsi @ Classical Archives
Scelsi @ last.fm
Scelsi @ MySpaceMusic
Scelsi @ Rhapsody.com
Scelsi @ SoundCloud

Recordings
Scelsi @ Amazon.com
Scelsi @ ArkivMusic
Scelsi @ CD Universe
Scelsi @ ClassicsOnline
Scelsi @ Discogs
Scelsi @ DRAM Online
Scelsi @ ECM Records
Scelsi @ itunes
Scelsi @ Medieval Music & Arts Foundation
Scelsi @ Mode Records
Scelsi @ Sub Rosa

Video
Scelsi @ YouTube
Scelsi @ Google Video
Scelsi @ Vimeo
Scelsi @ Vimeo (via Google Advanced Search)
                                                                                                                                                                   ~ top of page ~
Scelsi on Scelsi: On Music (in French) (streaming audio)
Composer, composerComposers Speak on the Web at Pytheas
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