giacinto scelsi

Due Componimenti Impetuosi


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First publication in 1995.

This record is the companion piece to Tre Canti Popolari (Ref SR51 performed by Marianne Pousseur, Jean-Luc Fafchamps, Georg-Alexander Van Dam/Jean-Paul Dessy). These are two important pieces for piano: Sonata n°4 and above all, the renowned Suite n°11. Neither of these have been recorded to date, which makes this an historic recording. These works are among the most violent ever produced in the twentieth century.

This is this young Belgian pianist's first recording under his own name. He is the founder of the groups Champ d'Action and Zeitklang, and is a favoured interpreter of Stockhausen, Xenakis; Saariaho and Scelsi.

Most of Scelsi's piano music seems to be just improvised. This information highly affects the way you can read the score. Some details.

At first glance, every note or combination is equal to, connectable to, or even replaceable by any other one: no hierarchy in the harmony. They all belong to that one and only family: a cluster including the full range of the Keyboard. Variety in colour means variety in density; the result: a random formation, not by mental imagination or harmonic rules but only by the motor activity of the hands over the keyboard, the absence of a direction-minded harmony gives the improviser much freedom to meditate on the different aspects and qualities of the sound itself.
In the same way, polyphonic voices lack individuality or rational clearness. They only have to build the density of massive soundscapes, judged by the ears on their resonant quality. In such cases, pedal notation becomes irrelevant.

Metrical notation remains very simple for this purpose, but it doesn't match the inner rhythm. A distinctive tactus is rarely found, mostly overwhelmed by impulsive waves.

This energy strongly influences the touch, which becomes direct, very similar to jazz playing.

Besides, in the extremely excessive dynamics, we find the same obsessive expressionism featured in his physical approach of the instrument itself: the sound of various mechanisms, the framework even, has to be included. The breath of proportions emerges from a possessed level of obstinacy, which emancipates itself from all other parameters, tending to melt together in a big wave of physical and auditive sensuality.

This coherence of form and content found in his search for atavistic sounds and archetypes seems to be a key argument in Scelsi's use of improvisation-techniques as a compositional necessity.

Johan Bossers

Performed by



01 Sonate n°4 (1942) 4:31
02 Sonate n°4 7:57
03 Sonate n°4 3:55
04 Suite n°11 (1956) 3:00
05 Suite n°11 3:55
06 Suite n°11 3:22
07 Suite n°11 2:21
08 Suite n°11 9:16
09 Suite n°11 2:50
10 Suite n°11 6:15
11 Suite n°11 2:47
12 Suite n°11 3:40