Album Review

Scelsi, Giacinto – “Natura Renovatur” – [Ecm Gmbh]

Cousin Mary   2/28/2011   A Library, CD

20th Century Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi (pronounced ja-CHEEN-to SHELLsi) was interested in meditation and spiritual life and considered himself more of a medium than a composer. He would tape record his work, playing on piano or ondiola (a small electronic three-octave keyboard featuring dials and keys for producing effects such as glissandi, quarter-tones, and vibrato.) These taped “compositions” would later be transcribed, sometimes years later. Cellist Frances-Marie Uitti, who performs the solo pieces on this recording, was a friend of Scelsi and worked through the 100s of hours of tapes left after his death in 1988. There are also pieces performed by the Munich Chamber Orchestra that are for 11 to 16 strings.

These are unearthly and beautiful pieces in the experimental contemporary classical vein. Knowing that they are meditative makes them much more understandable. Concentrated listening will take you to another place.

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