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Brussels Philharmonic & Kazushi Ono / Lars Bauwens - FujiSuperia

Brussels Philharmonic & Oren Ambarchi: Scelsi Sound Magic

Ilan Volkov boldly breaks open the boundaries of what music is and can be. Anchors are cast aside, conventions are thrown out the window, and music becomes a physical experience.

The life and work of Giacinto Scelsi are shrouded in mystery: he did not want to be known, photographed, or referred to as a composer: “I am merely an intermediary... Things happen at the right moment, whether they need to be heard or not. Everything is provided from above; it does not depend on here.” His method of working was equally unconventional: he improvised, recorded, and had assistants transcribe the scores. That marked the end of the process - he believed that each listener, due to their unique location and distance from an instrument, experienced the same note differently and deemed live performances unnecessary. It wasn’t until just before his death in 1988 that his body of work was rediscovered and performed.

A pivotal point in Scelsi’s oeuvre is I Presagi from 1958, a piece for winds and percussion that foreshadows what his style would become. Scelsi aimed to penetrate the essence of a note by altering a single tone in various ways: using timbre, dynamics, vibrato, tremolo, or trills. In Natura Renovatur, Scelsi employs strings to create this intuitively sensed sonic world.

Similarly, Tristan Murail explores the extremes of what sound can evoke. In his Contes cruels, he introduces electric guitars to the orchestral ensemble, transforms sounds, and guides the audience into a new sonorous dimension. Technique serves pure magic.

Taking this magic a step further in the evening’s finale, Ilan Volkov collaborates with guitarist Oren Ambarchi and the orchestra to create an entirely new listening experience. The improvisational piece Sous Vide is born on the spot: a live-composed orchestral work that unites musicians and audience in pure sound magic.

Flagey, Brussels Philharmonic

Oren Ambarchi | Resonance | Performance | Exploratorium

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