November 12, 2020
David Sylvian provided the cover photograph for this release on Yuko Zama’s elsewhere label.
The album contains three piano works by Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi: ‘Suite No.9 “Ttai”‘ (1953), ‘Quattro illustrazioni’ (1953), and ‘Un Adieu’ (1978/1988), performed by Israeli concert pianist Shira Legmann.
Four-panel gatefold wallet with one disc, cover photo by David Sylvian, design by Yuko Zama.
From the elsewhere website:
Shira Legmann is an Israeli concert pianist, with a wide repertoire from Baroque to contemporary and experimental music. This album contains three piano works by Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi’s: ‘Suite No.9 “Ttai”‘ (1953), ‘Quattro illustrazioni’ (1953), and ‘Un Adieu’ (1978/1988). ‘Suite No.9’ and ‘Quattro illustrazioni’ were recorded live at two different concerts in 2014, while ‘Un Adieu’ was recently recorded in a studio in June 2020. This is Legmann’s second CD on Elsewhere Music, following the 2019 album ‘Barricades’ in which she was the pianist for Michael Pisaro’s composition for piano/electronics.
“Scelsi’s music is something that ‘grows’ on us both as listeners and musicians. When I first discovered his music about ten years ago, I just dove into studying it, and the connection grew slowly while getting into more and more nuances in the playing. For a few years, I’ve been fascinated by these three pieces, and have performed them in Israel. It was not an immediate ‘crush’ but something that has gradually matured in me.”
“Scelsi was said to be a modest artist. He believed that as a composer, he is merely a mediator. For a substantial period, he composed his piano pieces by improvising: he conceptualized them and then improvised while recording. Later, with the help of friends and assistants, he notated from the recordings and that was his written composition. Since these compositions derive directly from improvisations, I felt the best representation of them would be as recordings of live performances, where there is also an element of risk, surprise, and spirit.” (Shira Legmann)
“A whole chapter of recent musical history must be rewritten: the second half of this century is now unthinkable without Scelsi… He has inaugurated a completely new way of making music, hitherto unknown in the West.” (Harry Halbreich)
Legmann’s clean, supple yet solid piano sounds, which create a perfect balance of coolness and warmth, build a narrative flow with a stunning dynamic range, bringing these rarely performed piano works of Scelsi’s back to life into the twenty-first century as timeless masterpieces.
The cover photograph was taken by David Sylvian. The desolate image of abandoned old piano keys echoes the mysterious Zen silence and discreet yet profound beauty of Scelsi’s piano works.bandcamp