The Museum

“I am living now in Rome in an ancient palace, in front of the Palatine Hill which defines exactly an ideal demarcation between East and West - and who will appreciate - it is a description of my life and my music”.
Giacinto Scelsi did write this in 1977, a very emblematic statement for his life, his poetry, philosophy and music researches.

This ideal line can be traced on Via di San Teodoro n. 8, between the Campidoglio and the Roman Forum, where Scelsi (1905-1988) settled in the early Sixties.

After his death in 1988, the apartment changed destination and became a Casa Museo, now a days, a place to visit, to meet friends and connoisseurs and to play music.

The living room contains the Bechstein piano, an instrument of the early twentieth century with a tuning called aurea, at 432 Hz, on which Scelsi improvised usually, and where the Fondazione Isabella Scelsi, together with friends and artists of different generations and countries, organizes the Hausmusik soirées.

On the top and around the piano you can find music instruments, collected by Scelsi himself, of all sizes and shapes, from all over the world: among those there are shells, little bells, saucers, Tibetan trumpets, tomtoms, gongs and a mute travel keyboard.

Besides the piano there are the two ondiolas, prehistoric precursors of electronic keyboards, purchased by Scelsi in 1956/ ‘57. Now he could improvise outside the confines of the chromatic scale, researching the centre of sound. He did this sound exploration in a pioneering, utopian manner, with the support of the before mentioned graveur, together with the Revox and Tanberg recorders, found among the equipment stored in his apartment, and exposed now in the Casa Museo.

Scelsi used all this equipment to fix his improvisations on magnetic tape, to "grab that instant of duration" . The improvisations, his compositions had then be projected on written pages, in scores, transcribed by trusted collaborators, carefully selected.

The living room is decorated with two paintings by Salvador Dali, Couple aux têtes pleines de nuages of 1936,
which belonged to Scelsi and is now owned by the Isabella Scelsi Foundation, its universal heir.
For obvious security reasons, the diptych was loaned to the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, where it is kept and displayed. A natural scale reproduction is exhibited in the Casa Scelsi Museum.

The museum has the size of an apartment, ensconced in a private dimension which was also a laboratory and a place of work. An interesting life, his, recalled in the autobiography Il sogno 101, in a flow free from precise chronological references.



development PanPot