Saturday, June 02, 2007

A path at the end of the line

[Giacinto] Scelsi was born into an old southern Italian noble family, inheriting the title Count d'Ayala Valva from his mother. He was, of course, the end of the line. At the family castle, he was schooled in 'fencing, chess, and Latin,' or so he said. He flitted through European aristocratic circles and had his wedding party at Buckingham Palace. But music was his chief obsession. He quickly tilted toward the avant-garde, and when he was very young he attended Luigi Russolo's Futurist noise concerts; his first major work was called 'Printing Presses.' Later, he became interested in Schoenberg's twelve-tone method, although he did not adopt it. He fell in love with Eastern philosophy and made trips to India and Nepal. After the Second World War, he suffered a breakdown and stopped composing for a few years. He spent day after day playing a single note on the piano. The casual observer might have thought that he had gone mad. He was, in fact, finding his path.
Alex Ross in a link via Jacob Sudol's outstanding music blog.

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