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Giacinto Scelsi Works for Flute and Clarinet (original works and transcriptions)

Piccola Suite (1953) for flute and clarinet
Quays (1953) for flute (alto flute) solo
Preghiera per un'ombra (1954) for clarinet solo
Pwyll (1954) for flute solo
Rucke di Guck (1957) for piccolo and clarinet*
Ko-Lho (1966) for flute and clarinet
Tre studi (1954) for clarinet solo
Xnoybis (1964) for flute and clarinet*
Krishna e Radha (1986) for flute and piano
Maknongan (1976) for bass clarinet solo
L'âme ouverte (1974) for flute and clarinet*
L'âme ailée (1974) for flute and clarinet*

*Arrangements by Michael Raster

Ebony Duo
Stefan Fischer, flute & piccolo • Michael Raster, clarinets & piano

Recorded November 1998, Pullach

col legno WWE 1CD 20035 [TT: 72 min]

In recent years there has been an upsurge of interest in Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988) and a proliferation of CDs of his music. There is however, regrettably, no comprehensive book in English as yet - I tried to broker one between Harry Halbreich and a London publisher - but I have discovered "work in progress" towards one; see Alvin Curran on his 'mentors" and a gnomic heading to a fascinating long article (2005) on Scelsi"Alex Ross - - a book by the music critic of The New Yorker The Rest Is Noise".

This is an attractive collection of Scelsi's woodwind pieces composed for, or arranged for, the various flutes and clarinets played by this German duo.

Several works involving those instruments are available elsewhere in more mixed collections, e.g. Chamber works for Flute & Piano, with Hyxos for alto flute & percussion, on cpo 999 340-2, which also has the rarity of Scelsi himself accompanying Krishna e Radha on the piano. The first acquisition in my large collection of two dozen Scelsi CDs, and one of the best, which has become an expensive rarity [Ensemble 2E2M on ADDA, 1988/89] contains solo works for several wid instruments.

This sequence is a labour of love and makes for a good listen, with Scelsi a master of the single, infinitely developing line. He eschews the shrieking excesses of some contemporary flute music which seeks to stretch limits, and he tames the piccolo in the duo with oboe, Rucke di guck.


Peter Grahame Woolf

For fuller detail, see also Edward Wright on Amazon