(two flutes, bass clarinet, horn, electric organ, violin, viola, cello, double bass)
I'd never been introduced to Scelsi's music until my good friend and collaborator, Ashley Bowman, artistic director of Artifact Dance Project said, "You should really listen to Scelsi" after a modern dance class I accompanied (another testament to never knowing who can completely influence and impact your musical life). I read about him and found his quartets and really liked what I heard. It was not until listening to this piece that I became completely hooked on his music. So much in fact that I conducted the piece with the 20/21 Contemporary Ensemble at Rice. We aren't sure but we are fairly certain that Scelsi hadn't made its way onto a concert at Rice in a very long time and probably won't again for some time.
Before listening to this piece, I'd never considered using microtones in my music. Whenever I'd heard microtonal music it just sounded terrible. The majority of microtonal music that I'd been exposed to was the sort in which the octave was divided by however many tones and each tone served as a stable pitch. Many of these pieces used some sort of serial procedure. Thus, instead of pushing 12 notes around for a phrase, composers could push around 17 notes. Riveting.
Listening to his work (and this work in particular) taught me quite a bit about creating tension and release, motion, movement, and deceptive stasis. It completely changed my mind about microtones and how they can be used. Just when music was being to become stagnant for me, this piece truly got me back in the game.