THE LARGE ENSEMBLE WORKS OF GIACINTO SCELSI AND THE INFLUENCE OF WESTERN AND NON-WESTERN TRADITIONS: AN ANALYSIS OF I PRESAGI
The Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi is one of the most enigmatic figures of twentieth-century Western music. Born into an aristocratic family in 1905, he chose to devote his life to the creation of music, though he had little formal instruction. His early works met with some success. However, by 1948 he had reached a point where he could no longer work, suffering a mental and physical collapse. He resumed composing in 1952 in an entirely new style. His post-recovery working methods have been the subject of much discussion and some controversy because he created works by improvising, recording the improvisations and, with the help of an assistant, transcribing the improvisations. This method was rooted in Scelsi’s belief that he was not a composer, but rather “one who received music,” a belief which grew out of his study of several philosophical and religious theories. Scelsi acknowledged the influence of Eastern cultures, and artifacts and books found in his home lead one to the conclusion that he was well-versed in them, particularly Tibetan Buddhism. Most discussion and studies concerning Scelsi deal with his working methods or religiophilosophical beliefs. There has been little systematic examination of his music and the manifestation in the music of his religiophilosophical influences. This study examines his large ensemble works created during both the pre- and post-breakdown periods. The primary focus is on the first work from the post-breakdown period, I Presagi, composed in 1958. Through analyses of pitch structure, timbral transformations, use of microtonality, rhythmic structure, and form, and a comparison with the ritual music of Tibetan Buddhism, this study provides evidence for the assertion that his music is an amalgam of Western and non-Western traditions and the product of a very thoughtful process of composition. Chapter one provides a brief biographical sketch of Scelsi, chapter two examines the large ensemble works in toto and includes an examination of La Nascita del Verbo, a work from his early period, chapter three is an overview of Tibetan Buddhist ritual music, chapter four is an in-depth analysis of I Presagi, and chapter five presents conclusions.
School:University of Cincinnati
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:scelsi giacinto i presagi
Date of Publication:01/01/2005