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Giacinto Scelsi - JPop.com
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Giacinto Scelsi

Giacinto Scelsi

Giacinto Scelsi


Giacinto Scelsi, Count of Ayala Valva (8 January 1905 – 9 August 1988), was an Italian composer who also wrote surrealist poetry in French. He is best known for writing music based around only one pitch, altered in all manners through microtonal oscillations, harmonic allusions, and changes in timbre and dynamics, as paradigmatically exemplified in his revolutionary "Quattro pezzi su una nota sola" ("Four Pieces on a single note", 1959). His musical output Read more on Last.fm
Giacinto Scelsi, Count of Ayala Valva (8 January 1905 – 9 August 1988), was an Italian composer who also wrote surrealist poetry in French. He is best known for writing music based around only one pitch, altered in all manners through microtonal oscillations, harmonic allusions, and changes in timbre and dynamics, as paradigmatically exemplified in his revolutionary "Quattro pezzi su una nota sola" ("Four Pieces on a single note", 1959). His musical output, which encompassed all Western classical genres except scenic music, remained largely undiscovered even within contemporary musical circles during most of his life. Born in La Spezia, Italy, Scelsi studied music first in Rome, and later in Vienna, with a disciple of Arnold Schönberg. Subsequently Scelsi became one of the first adepts of dodecaphony in Italy. At the end of the 1940s, he underwent a profound religious crisis that led him to the discovery of Eastern spirituality and also to a radical transformation of his view of music.

He rejected the notions of composition and author in favor of sheer improvisation. Scelsi came to conceive of artistic creation as a means of communicating a higher transcendent reality to the listener. From this point of view, the artist is considered a mere intermediator. It is for this reason that he never allowed his image to be shown in connection with his music. He preferred instead to identify himself with a line under a circle, a symbol of Eastern provenance.

Some photographs of Scelsi have emerged after his death. Scelsi was a friend and a mentor to Alvin Curran and other expatriate American composers such as Frederick Rzewski who lived Rome during the 1960s (Curran, 2003, in NewMusicBox). Scelsi also "conspired" with other American composers including John Cage, Morton Feldman and Earle Brown who visited him in Rome. Alvin Curran recalled that: "Scelsi... came to all my concerts in Rome even right up to the very last one I gave just a few days before he died... This was in the summer time, and he was such a nut about being outdoors.

He was there in a fur coat and a fur hat. It was an outdoor concert. He waved from a distance, beautiful sparking eyes and smile that he always had, and that's the last time I saw him.". Giacinto Scelsi died in Rome in 1988. Read more on Last.fm.

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