17828-Giacinto ScelsiREDEFINING THE 20th CENTURY

Tuesday, Oct. 27 8pm
St. Andrew's Church
73 Simcoe Street, Toronto M5J 1W9
416 532 3019

Special guests violist Vincent Royer (France) and cellist Émilie Girard-Charest (Montreal) join Array music pianist Stephen Clarke performing works by Émilie Girard-Charest, Horatiu Radulescu, Vincent Royer and Giacinto Scelsi.

Stephen Clarke found a Bösendorfer piano with the extended range at St. Stephen's Church. This piano is required to play Radulescu's final piano composition. The rare opportunity to hear this work, especially in the company of Scelsi/Radulescu specialist Vincent Royer will shed light on the outstanding contribution of the great composer.


Scelsi. Canto del capricorno I. 3’
Royer O Souffle 4'
Girard-Charest S'offrir 20'
Scelsi Manto 12’


Radulescu Piano Sonata 6 op.110 "return to the source of light" 20'
Radulescu Lux Animae 8'
Scelsi Elegia per Ty. 12'

How do Scelsi and Radulescu differ from the more commonly known thrust and evolution of contemporary music in the 20th century? What makes them different from the serialist school, the minimalists and those who wrote music from an intuitive standpoint? Let’s start with Horatiu Radulescu (1942- 2008)

Radulescu’s compositional aim, as outlined in his book Sound Plasma (1975) was to bypass the historical categories of monody, polyphony and heterophony and to create musical textures with all elements in a constant flux.

With new harmonic formats, a new phenomenological vocabulary of music is achieved that evolves far beyond its historical language”.

What he once called, “stardust poetry”

Many of Radulescu’s later works derive their poetic inspiration from the Tao te ching of Lao-tzu, especially in the 1988 English version by Stephen Mitchell: the titles of his second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth piano sonatas, and of the fifth and sixth string quartets, are taken from this source. The piano sonatas, as well as his Piano Concerto The Quest (1996) and other later works, make use of folk melodies from his native Romania, integrating these with his spectral techniques. (from horatiuradulescu.com/biography.html)

Previous to Radulescu’s unique path, (1905-1988) Giacinto Scelsi embarked on his own, completely different path. 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)

We will hear these works at this concert. Judge for yourselves. These are the lesser-trodden paths that have had great impact on the music of the late 20th and into the 21st century. As a further illumination of this fact, we can hear compositions by visiting artsists Vincent Royer and Emilie Gerard-Charest who themselves have dedicated so much effort in bring Scelsi and Radu;lescu into our lives. - RS

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