Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Monteverdi & Scelsi

Monteverdi (arr. Sonia Wieder- Atherton)

Madrigali guerrieri et amorosi
Zefiro Torna
Se i languidi miei sguardi
Altri Canti d'Amor
(transc. Franck Krawczyk)
Combattimento Clorinde (extracts)
(transc. Franck Krawczyk)

Scelsi Trilogia: The Three Ages of Man

Sonia Wieder-Atherton cello
with Sara Iancu cello
and Matthieu Lejeune cello

Kings Place 18 March 2011

A daunting recital, given in a darkened Hall One at Kings Place; an hour of music with no interval, needing (for us) more than double that travelling time.

This is becoming a significant issue in London, where public transport is regularly disrupted; I am disturbed to see that many concerts in this year's Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music in May will be of one hour duration - is that designed for undemanding corporate hospitality?

Trilogia had been worked up by Frances-Marie Uitti with Giacinto Scelsi himself; after the composer's death she spent some 700 hours archiving the tapes from which the scores had been produced collaboratively. Uitti's premiere recording [Etcetera/Fore 80 No. 6 LP, with Ko-Tha] may be hard to come by.

Uitti's contribution did not rate for a mention in the Kings Place concert programme note, nor in those for Sonia Wieder-Atherton's CD.*

Mixing Trilogia with transcriptions of Monteverdi madrigals didn't work for me in concert, despite a "narrative" created by S W-A, nor does it do so on her new short-measure CD [vita monteverdi scelsi Naive V 5257; 58'29"]. The two accompanying cellos (their owners both have good CVs) made a rich sound but had little to do otherwise.

Of available recordings of Trilogia, Jessica Kuhn's impresses me, as too does Arne Deforce (2007) on Aeon AECD 0748, generously filled with Dithome & Ygghur too.

Peter Grahame Woolf

*P.S. Frances-Marie has kindly commented:

Dear Peter,
I remember you well and hope you are flourishing! Bravo for all your insights and writings on music, may it continue for many years to come.
About the Trilogy - - the subject is complicated when one has been involved for such a long time with a composer in all aspects of his work. I was the fortunate one to consolidate his vision for the cello works (in fact the Trilogy didn't exist - they were three separate pieces until I played them at Como Festival.
At first Giacinto said "My dear, it is impossible to play all three of them in one concert" and later, after many performances, they just seemed to belong together. I also improvised with GS, transcribed works from ondiola, and had endless conversations about sound and meditation over 10 years. Through these sessions the Trilogy came alive. I recorded them in a dry studio in Holland with close microphones (something I would change were I to re-record them) And later again Ygghur for ECM on the spur of the moment.
I applaud all other recordings and interpretations; this music should be played! I hope all future cellists approach the Trilogy with reverence and love. With those ingredients, you can't go wrong.
Many best wishes, Frances-Marie