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Giacinto Scelsi developed philosopher Rudolf Steiner’s awareness of the single tone into a new art form, shaping post-1970 music from the French spectralists to John Zorn. Here we have the world-premiere recordings of unsuspected masterpieces written in 1961, 1974, and 1969. Pfhat is Scelsi’s last orchestral work, subtitled “A flash … and the sky opened!” and scored for orchestra, organ, and choir. Aion, for orchestra alone, concerns “Four episodes in one day of the life of Brahma.” These works embody inner calm, yet present it with powerful emotional drama. Scelsi’s orchestration is masterful, wringing simultaneous joy and sadness from a single pitch looked at as if through a microscope–but here that microscope is the Hubble telescope turned in on itself, with the vast forces of chorus and orchestra providing a richness unobtainable in Scelsi’s chamber music. As pianist Cecil Taylor said on hearing Scelsi, this music sticks with you.

-Robert Reigle,

Giacinto Scelsi-AION/PFHAT/KNOX-OM-PAX (1988)


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