“Non sminuite il senso di ciò che non comprendete.”
G. Scelsi, Octologo
“Do not belittle the meaning of what you do not understand.”
G. Scelsi, Octologo
As I continued reading it, I was struck more and more by the undeniable fact that either the character or the author knew a lot about music. From the lips of this eccentric, pompous windbag came insights about life, but especially about music.
I had no idea at that point that the book was based on the life of the composer Giacinto Scelsi, a man who manages to be simultaneously arguably the most important composer of the second half of the twentieth century and incredibly obscure. Apparently Josipovici included actual fragments of the writing of Scelsi in the book. I, for one, would love to know which bits they were.
But even without being privy to this, having now read up on the extraordinary life of Scelsi, it becomes evident that fiction is absolutely no stranger than fiction. Josipovici has made Scelsi come to life. Would Scelsi, a notoriously private person, at least once he was finding himself musically, have minded? Josipovici has his central character say that he cares not what happens to him after his death. The funeral and anything thereafter is for others, not for him. I wonder if Scelsi himself would really have approved, or if Josipovici was attempting to absolve himself.
“La musica non può esistere senza il suono. Il suono esiste di per sé senza la musica. È il suono ciò che conta.” Giacinto Scelsi
“Music can not exist without the sound. The sound exists by itself without the music. It’s the sound that counts.” Giacinto Scelsi
Maybe it doesn’t matter. This book is a gift to be treasured from somebody who has entered a most bizarre world and come up with an account of it which contains so much more than a mere biography could provide. The more I think about it, the more I think this is a wonderful work.
I think this is easily worth 5 stars.
For anybody wanting more source material on the amazing Scelsi:
Uitti Two Bows Uitti has much of interest to say about her collaborations with Scelsi.