Program Notes

This fifth string quartet is the final work of Giacinto Scelsi. It was written in 1985, and stands alone, as Scelsi had not produced a piece for the previous eight years. The composition is dedicated to the memory of the poet Henri Michaux, an intimate friend.

The piece is a re-writing of an earlier piece for amplified piano solo (Aitsi, 1974) in which the sustained pitches are distorted, incidentally originating from a malfunction of Scelsi’s tape recorder. The piece consists of 43 sound-units, in each of which a harsh scraping subsides in a different way to reveal different pitch-configurations around a single central note F.

Cassandra Miller