Wearing a face mask has become a habit


There is too much COVID-19 click bait elsewhere on classical blogs. But I do think that image is worth sharing. It comes via the Bangkok Post and shows one of sixty student monks at the Buddhist Wat Molilokayaram in Thailand. It is a striking image in its own right, but it also allows me to point readers who are tired of Zoom bait down an overgrown path to some little-known but relevant music.

I should have been in Thailand recently, but that trip was nuked by the pandemic. When I returned from another Buddhist nation Sri Lanka last year I wrote about classical music's many Buddhist connections. One composer missing from that overview was the Italian Giacinto Scelsi. He was one of a number of musicians attracted to Theosophy; but after travels in the East he became a practising Zen Buddhist.

Back in 2005 Alex Ross penned an excellent profile of Scelsi; his music is anything but easy, with one writer describing it as György Ligeti on acid. So why not break the lockdown blues with a cheap and safe tab of Scelsi? Brilliant Classics have a newly recorded super-budget CD of two of Scelsi's consciousness-altering works for solo cello, The Three Stages of Man and Voyages; listen via the label's website. The conclusion of a review of this disc on The Art Music Lounge website says it all:

Scelsi did not “develop” his music along conventional classical lines, but rather used a continually changing timbre and density of sound to make his points. Thus the average classical aficionado will undoubtedly feel lost listening to these works, but I urge you to give them a try. They may not be to your taste, but they will certainly open up your mind if you give them half a chance.
New Overgrown Path posts are available via RSS/email by entering your email address in the right-hand sidebar. Any copyrighted material is included for critical analysis, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).

Comments

Recent popular posts

Scott Ross and the paradox of genius

Virtue signalling does not sell concert tickets

Classical music must woke up and smell the coffee

All you need is loot

Where has all the musical adventurousness gone?

Why is the classical music industry anti-vax?

How classical music slipped a disc

What do new young audiences want from classical music?

Mystery of politically incorrect London Philharmonic violinist

Mikis Theodorakis' Songs of Freedom