Giacinto Scelsi Canto del capricorno I & II

Scelsi revolutionized the role of sound in western music – his best known work is the Quattro Pezzi per Orchestra, each on a single note. These single notes are elaborated through microtonal shadings, harmonic allusions, and variations in timbre and dynamics. It is impossible to express the immense power of this apparently simple music in words. The mid-60s also saw the production of some of Scelsi’s greatest chamber music for small forces. The third part of the Trilogy for solo cello, Ygghur (catharsis in Sanskrit) was conceived in 1961, and finally notated string by string in 1965. In addition, the duo for viola and cello, Elegia per Ty (which was the nickname of Scelsi’s wife who had left in the 40s and who he was never to hear of again) which had been conceived in 1958 was notated string by string in 1966. Ygghur forms the conclusion of one of Scelsi’s most personal works, the Trilogia “The Three Ages of Man, ” and the Elegy is equally personal – one of Scelsi’s most powerful and most melancholy works. The Elegy (in three movements) is arguably the greatest composition for the combination of viola and cello, and an extremely emotional and intense piece, though very difficult to approach and beginning in a state of utter anguish. Perhaps with the final notation of this incredible work, Scelsi had come to terms with his own loneliness. – Todd McComb
(as transcribed by

Vincent Royer (Violist, Improviser, Composer): When Vincent Royer changed instruments from the piano to the viola at the age of 13, he laid the foundations of an extraordinary artistic career. He now seeks freedom of sound and a kind of “tonal beauty” which includes every aspect and spectra of sound, leading him on a continual voyage of discovery. Yet his sound research is not simply on a material level, but always closely related to human concerns and to spiritual and existential dimensions. This is reflected in his extensive involvement with music in a wide variety of projects.
On completing his studies in Freiburg and Cologne Royer, born in Strasbourg, formed the ALEA group together with the pianist Paulo Alvarès – an ensemble for collective composition and improvisation, which also appeared in enriching combinations with dance, video and literature. His current formations in the field of improvisation are the BRAC Quartet, the Gratkowski/Royer Duo and a duo with the architect and video artist Matthias Siegert. Sound research also plays a central role in his compositions. Traverse won recognition at the “International Computer Music Conference” in Berlin in 2000 and Lumen (2003) was created at the “Centre Henri Pousseur” in Liège, which Royer has been associated with since 2001. As a performer, he has worked closely with composers such as Horatiu Radulescu, Luc Ferrari, Pascal Dusapin, Vinko Globokar, Jean-Luc Fafchamps, Fabrizzio Cassol, David Shea, Robert HP Platz, Christophe Bertrand and Ken Ueno.

Royer has a wide repertoire, including many works dedicated to him. He performs worldwide as a soloist and in chamber music and is also a member of various ensembles, including the Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra. He won the “Prix Xenakis” in 1991 and “La Bourse Lavoisier” in 1995, a French Ministry of Culture scholarship for the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada. In Banff and in ZKM (Karlsruhe) he developed improvisations for viola and electronics and a viola sound catalogue together with the computer scientist and composer Gerhard Eckel. His CD recordings of music by Luc Ferrari, Jean-Luc Fafchamps and Giacinto Scelsi were all awarded the renowned French distinction “Coup de Coeur” from the “Académie Charles Cros”. Since 2010 Vincent Royer has been professor of chamber music at the “Conservatoire Royal de Liège” (Belgium).

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