Giacinto Scelsi-Quattro Pezzi per orchestra (Ciascuno su una nota sola) ; Anahit ; Uaxuctum,CD,1989,France
Giacinto Scelsi (pronounced ja-CHEEN-to SHELLsi), Count of Ayala Valva (January 8, 1905 – August 9, 1988), was an Italian composer. He is best known for writing music based on only one pitch, such as Quattro Pezzi Su Una Nota Sola ["Four pieces each on a single note"] (1959). He also wrote surrealist poetry in French.Born in La Spezia, Scelsi studied music first in Rome, and later in Vienna with a disciple of Arnold Schönberg, and 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 Frederic Rzewski who lived in 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." (Ross, 2005).
Scelsi died in Rome in 1988.