One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
50,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Brahms Symphony 4 Dvorak Symphony 9
Peter Aronsky (piano) Les DÚlices du Piano"
IL Carnevale di Venezia Clarinet with orchestra

Sinfonie Concertanti for two flutes and orchestra

TUDOR RECORDS

TROUBADISC

A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin

REFERENCE RECORDINGS

Nick Barnard review
Michael Cookson review




an inspirational performance


An indispensable acquisition


The finest we have had in years


bewitching sound


Simply amazing


A splendid addition


One of the most enjoyable


quite superb!


utterly essential


A wonderful introduction


An outstanding CD


cheer-raising


One of the finest versions


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
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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

Sample: See what you will get

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