Giacinto Scelsi - The Works for Viola | Mode MODCD231

Giacinto Scelsi - The Works for Viola


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Label: Mode

Cat No: MODCD231

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 1st August 2011



Vincent Royer (viola, voice)
Severine Ballon (cello)


Scelsi, Giacinto

Elegia per Ty for viola & cello
Manto for viola solo and female voice
Tre studi


Vincent Royer (viola, voice)
Severine Ballon (cello)


Volume 9 of Mode’s Scelsi Edition is devoted to the first complete recording of Giacinto Scelsi’s works for viola solo and duo.

Manto was a prophet in ancient Greece. Scelsi translated her oracle maxims into cryptic phonemes which the viola player has to sing simultaneously in the third movement. In Manto, the sound of the viola is expanded and explored via experimental playing techniques. This is the first recording of the third movement with male voice, sung by Vincent Royer.

In Xnoybis, Scelsi’s exploration “into the inside of the sound” is taken to its extreme. A central tone, variously coloured and surrounded, moves in microtonal steps — no melody in the traditional sense, but a sole wandering sound. Again, this is the first recording of the viola version in a transcription by Vincent Royer.

Elegia per Ty for viola and violoncello is Scelsi’s tender rememberance of his former wife Dorothy (nicknamed 'Ty'). It is among his most important chamber works.

Coelocanth (1955) and the Three Studies (1956) belong to Scelsi’s earlier style of composing. Concise motivic gestures are developed by improvisation. These expressive, virtuoso pieces are overwhelming in their ecstatic ferocity. This is the first recording of the Three Studies.

Violist Vincent Royer is one of the most outstanding performers of contemporary music today. Born in France but now living in Cologne, Germany, he is among a handful of musicians who have truly mastered the works of the Spectral composers, such as Gerard Grisey. In his hands, these challenging and complex works give way to new forms of musical expression that are mysterious, powerful and filled with beautiful colours. A key to his deep understanding of new music is his close collaboration with living composers, such as Horatiu Radulescu and Tristan Murail - two important composers with whom Royer has enjoyed close working relationships.

- Manto (1957): first recording with male voice
- Coelocanth (1955)
- Elegia per Ty (1958) for viola & cello, with Séverine Ballon (cello)
- Three Studies (1956): first recording
- Xnoybis (1964): first recording

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