One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Giacinto SCELSI (1905-1988)
Quattro Illustrazioni (1953) [17:05]
Suite No. 9 “Ttai” (1953) [33:39]
Rossella Spinosa (piano)
rec. 2016, Laboratorio Griffa Pianoforte, Milan
TACTUS TC901901 [55:35]

Giacinto Scelsi’s enigmatic background is now to a certain extent being overtaken by recordings of his music, revealing a composer whose inclinations were towards Scriabin and a line drawn back towards late Romantic expression, for all the theory and philosophy behind his creativity and the late flowering of appreciation for his work amongst modern composers in his last few years and beyond.

Composer, musicologist and pianist Rossella Spinosa tackles these works with conviction, but the piano sound is rather muddy in those all-important mid and lower registers. The instrument itself, a Steinway Model D, can also sound a bit clangy in the upper registers. With Scelsi’s exploration of sound, these aspects of the recording are a bit of a shame. Comparing Suite No. 9 with Sabine Liebner’s Wergo recording (review) throws up some interesting contrasts, the first movement for instance taken more slowly by Spinosa, who is also freer with rhythm. For me, Liebner has the better ear for Scelsi’s build-up of resonant colour in this piece, and her more mellifluous touch allows us to ‘forget’ the piano more easily. Exotic transport to distant realms never quite take off in Spinosa’s Ttai II, and I miss the conflict between elegance and darkness in the seventh movement, which is more of a battle for Spinosa as she constantly pulls and pushes with micro-rubati that do not help with the natural flow of the music.

I am less familiar with the Quattro Illustrazioni, though there are a few recordings around. Mode Records as part of its Scelsi Edition has Aki Takahashi, as far as I can see available as a download or surround-sound DVD if you can find it. Takahashi finds poetry in this difficult music, as well as bringing out rhythmic ‘swing’ in the second movement Varaha – AvatÓra, which by comparison with Spinosa comes across as a rather melodramatic apparition. The piano sound from around 1:45 also becomes very strange, as if the soundwaves are interfering with themselves.

Renzo Cresti’s booklet notes for this release are interesting and reassuringly larded with footnote references. Scelsi is a fascinating figure, but needs ideal circumstances to make his presence felt and our senses alerted to the strange nuances of his art. While there are some admirable moments in Rossella Spinosa’s recording I fear conditions here fall too far short for a recommendation.

Dominy Clements



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month



From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience