Notes and Editorial Reviews
The second of Giacinto Scelsi's 12 piano suites, subtitled "The Twelve Minor Prophets", here receives its first recording. Dating from 1930 when Scelsi was 25, its 12 movements typify the murky, brooding, low-register-dominated keyboard style of the composer's early period. Movements seven and nine stand out for their agitated repeated chords, flickering trills that link late Scriabin to early Boulez, and pointillistic gestures that retain their unschematic freshness to this day.
Action Music, like most of Scelsi's later works, was created in real time, improvised by Scelsi at the piano and subsequently transcribed into standard notation. Clusters of all shapes, sizes, and tonal varieties sing and dance with
unfettered imagination and forward moving vitality over the course of nine continuous movements. Whatever improvisatory impulses governed the work's creation, it seems tauter and more unified than the "traditionally" composed Second Suite.
Composer/pianist Stephen Clarke has a genuine feeling for the ebb and flow of Scelsi's pianistic idiom, as well as a sharp musical mind and superb technique. I'll probably listen to Suite No. 2 on occasion, but in small doses, and will frequently replay Action Music. Clarke's performance, incidentally, matches Bernhard Wambach's fiery, incisive traversal on Kairos, but with additional color and breathing room. [9/23/2005]
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Action Music by Giacinto Scelsi
Stephen Clarke (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1955; Italy
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