Top 100 Composers: Giacinto Scelsi


It's a little bit surprising to me that the earliest recording I have by Scelsi is on reel-to-reel, which dates it from roughly 1977-1979, & that the next recording of his that I have on record, the only thing I have by him on record, wasn't acquired until 2010. That's a gap of 31 years. I also have pieces recorded on audio cassette & they're almost definitely from those intervening 31 years but the point is that I must not've run across that many recordings by him until my friend Ben Opie gave me, in 2016?, the 2 commercially released Scelsi CDs that I have (& that're shown below).

The 1st piece I apparently heard was "Anahit" (1965) as played by the utterly fantastic Paul Zukovsky. I don't, alas, have a copy of this record & playing the reel is too much hassle now but I remember this record as being phenomenally focused. I have recordings elsewhere of the Scelsi & the Xenakis but not, probably, of the Glass. That's too bad because I remember liking it very much - which is unusual for me because I don't generally like Glass's work. By the by, the handwriting above is not my own, it seems to me that it's that of Herr Brain Sotrm Drain, so he must've had the record although that seems a bit uncharacteristic. No matter.

Anyway, Scelsi: his explorations of minutia, which doesn't describe everything that he ever composed, are obssessive & I have the highest regard for obssessive when it's applied with a sense of purpose rather than just being neurotic obssessive-compulsive. Scelsi's not really a 'Minimalist", despite his extreme focus, partially beecause he doesn't pursue repetitive rhythms or the 'New Tonality' (thank goodness). I'm generally more interested in, & personally inclined toward, 'Maximalism', a dense sonic environment is much more likely to 'captivate' me - but I do make exceptions & Scelsi's an excellent case in point. Texturally, the work is very rich so it has a sort of microcosm maximalism - much like the Spectralists Dumitrescu & Avram. Gotta love it.

The capitalizations are more or less kept as they are on the recordings I have. I doubt that it's systematic, it's more likely the whim of the graphic design. - tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE; December 1, 2017E.V.


"POEME POUR PIANO No. 2" - 1934/1939 - 2:50

"Quatuor à cordes no. 1" - 1944 - 31:37

"SUITE 8 FOR PIANO" - 1952 - 24:38


"CINQUE INCANTESIMI" - 1953 - 13:22

"SUITE 9 FOR PIANO" - 1953 - 30:26

"PWYLL" - 1954 - 4:33

"DIVERTIMENTO No. 3"- 1955 - 11:14

"COELONCANTH" - 1955 - 11:37

"QUATTRO PEZZI" - 1956 - 10:47

"IXOR" - 1956 - 4:35

"TRIO A CORDES" - 1958 - 15:12

"QUATTRO PEZZI PER ORCHESTRA" (each piece on a single note) - 1959 - 14:28

"KYA" - 1959 - 16:05

"Quatuor à cordes no. 2" - 1961 - 17:24

"AION" - 1961

"Khoom" - 1962 - 20:47

"Quatuor à cordes no. 3" - 1963 - 18:42

"Quatuor à cordes no. 4" - 1964 - 9:55

"XNOYBIS" - 1964 - 13:51


"ANAHIT" (lyrical poem dedicated to Venus) - 1965 - 13:06

"KO LHO" - 1966 - 7:53

"ELEGIA PER TY" - 1958/1966 - 11:13

"UAXUCTUM" - 1966 - 19:59

"KONX-OM-PAX" - 1969

"L'ÂME AILÉE" - 1973 - 5:26

"L'ÂME OUVERTE" - 1973 - 2:33

"ARC EN CIEL" - 1973 - 4:45

"PRANAM" - 1973 - 6:52

"FLEUVE MAGIQUE" - 1974 - 2:20

"AITSI" - 1974 - 6:08

"PFHAT" - 1974

"Quatuor à cordes no. 5" - 1974/1985 - 6:32

"MAKNONGAN" - 1976 - 3:28












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