19 Apr 2015

Scelsi - The Composer Who Never Existed

From Composer of the Week, 9:00 am on 19 April 2015
Giacinto Scelsi

Giacinto Scelsi Photo: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Although Giacinto Scelsi (1905 -1988) left behind hundreds of tapes of his music when he died, he did not consider himself a composer – more a musical postman.

As Ryan Smith explains in this programme, his deliveries were notes produced on his piano that came from his meditations on the depth of sound.

He recorded these on tape and later, they were transcribed to paper.

When asked by a musicologist who came to his door, the composer said, “Scelsi is a composer who never existed.”

Scelsi autograph

Scelsi autograph Photo: CC by SA 4.0

Scelsi suggested his preferred composer portrait could be a sun hovering over the horizon or maybe an underlined zero.

In the lead-up to concert performances, the organisers would ask him for a photograph and Scelsi would always submit the same image, a circle sitting above a horizontal line.

Music Details:

SCELSI: Ave Maria - Frances-Marie Uitti (cello) (ECM 1963)
SCELSI: Uaxuctum, mvt 4 - Cracow Radio & TV Choir & Orch/ Jurg Wyttenbach (Accord 476 1072)
SCELSI: Quattro Pezzi, mvt 2 - Cracow Radio & TV Choir & Orch/ Jurg Wyttenbach (Accord 476 1072)
SCELSI: Divertimento No 3, mvt 1 - Robert Zimansky (vln) (Accord 200 622)
SCELSI: Un Adieu  - Aki Takahashi (pno) (Sourced from itunes)
SCELSI: Hyxos, for alto flute and two gongs - Roberto Fabbriciani, Jonathan Faralli (Sourced from itunes)
SCELSI: Rotativa - Cristina Biagini, Marco Marzocchi (pno), Ludi Ensemble/ Marco Angius (Sourced from itunes)
SCELSI: Piano Sonata No 3, mvt 1  - Elisabeth Klein (pno) (Sourced from itunes)
SCELSI: L'aria delle onde  - Giancarlo Schiaffini, Walter Prati & Silvia Schiavoni (Sourced from itunes)
SCELSI: Elegy for Ty - Christoph Schiller (vla), Patrick Demenga (cello) (Accord 200 622)
SCELSI: Incantations, mvt 1  - Marianne Schuppe (voice) (Sourced from itunes)
SCELSI: Natura renovator - Munich CO/ Christoph Poppen (ECM 1963)
SCELSI: Suite N11 for Piano  - Johan Bossers (pno) (Sourced from itunes)
SCELSI: Three Sacred Songs - Schola Heidelberg/ Walter Nussbaum (BIS CD 1090)
IL GRUPPO: Homage to Giacinto Scelsi - Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza (Sourced from itunes)
SCELSI: Ygghur, mvt 1 - Frances-Marie Uitti (cello) (ECM 1963)
SCELSI: Alleluja - Frances-Marie Uitti (cello) (ECM 1963)