Un Adieu by Giacinto Scelsi


Un Adieu, a still unpublished work, is a kind of postscript in his piano oevre and was probably written in the mid 1970’s. Scelsi first gave the piece to Swiss pianist Marianne Schroeder in 1988, asking her to play it at his funeral. This she did, the piece thus receiving its premiere. An atypical work of Scelsi, it presents a diatonic melodic line over a bass of non-directional harmony.

Giacinto Scelsi

Giacinto 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 classical.net/music/comp.lst/acc/scelsi.php)

Stephen Clarke has performed in festivals in Europe, Canada, the U.S., South America and China, including the Donaueschinger Musiktage and the Berliner Festwochen. He has appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble, New Music Concerts (Toronto), Esprit Orchestra and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. In 2011 Stephen played at the Museo Casa Scelsi in Rome at the invitation of the Fondazione Scelsi. He has played in a duo with violinist Marc Sabat, worked with a number of ensembles and is the pianist with Arraymusic. He currently works as an accompanist at the University of Toronto.

Solo recordings include first recordings of works by Giacinto Scelsi (Mode Records), Udo Kasemets (hatHut), Marc Sabat (World Edition) and Horatiu Radulescu (Mode).

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