David Ryan



Scelsi Project 1







Via di San Teodoro 8




Giacinto Scelsi (1905 - 1988) was an Italian modernist composer of aristocratic descent who lived and worked in Rome, taking up residence with his sister Isabella at 8 Via di San Teodoro opposite The Forum. Scelsi, eventually settled into a unique approach to sound using microtonal material deeply indebted to his interest in non-western philosophical traditions. Improvisation was central to this latter phase and he composed his work on an early electronic instrument called the ondiola. The taped improvisations performed on this instrument were given to others in order for them to be translated into traditional notation in order to take their shape as pieces. Research is still ongoing as to how this actually worked - but essentially Scelsi's processes asked questions about the relationship of sound to structure, and of composition to improvisation. Via di San Teodoro 8, investigates different aspects of the house in Rome: its spaces, sounds and vistas, and its unique ambience opposite the ancient Roman Forum. It lies somewhere between experimental documentary and the filmic poetic essay, also portraying the early electronic instruments (Ondiolas) on which Scelsi composed and improvised in a rare performance by pianist Oscar Pizzo. It exists in two versions: a single screen version of 43 minutes and a three-screen installed version, which is looped. The film is essentially about the process of framing both image and sound, alluding to the seen and the unseen representational space and the out-of-field.


Via San Teodoro (continued)