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Works for Strings 6

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Audio CD, September 20, 2005
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Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Syrmos12:04Album Only
listen  2. Aroura11:05Album Only
listen  3. Voile 5:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Theraps13:45Album Only
listen  5. Analogique A + B 6:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Ittidra 8:42Album Only

Frequently Bought Together

Works for Strings 6 + Xenakis: Échange/Okho/Xas/Akrata/À la Mémoire de Witold Lutoslawski + Xenakis: Electronic Works, Vol. 2
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Product Details

  • Performer: Iannis Xenakis, Ensemble Resonanz, Johannes Kalitzke, John Eckhardt
  • Audio CD (September 20, 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mode
  • ASIN: B000AA4J98
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,177 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By greg taylor VINE VOICE on October 23, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I have a theory that one of the best ways to introduce your ears to a new composer is to listen to their string music. There is something about this type of music that seems to bring out the more austere and characteristic qualities of a composer.
I am just beginning to listen deeply to Xenakis so I cannot assert with any certainty that my theory holds true in his case but I believe it does.
Xenakis has to be one of the most iconoclastic yet accessible of modern classical composers. In a famous early essay, he rejected the serialist approach and seemed equally unimpressed with the centuries old traditions of classical harmony. He believed that in the 20th century, the new source of truth was to be found in scientific and mathematical investigations. He therefore believed that whatever music had to offer in the future would be found in more mathematically based forms of composing.
It is also obvious that his compositional technique had a strong visual component. From his early career in architecture and his fascination with mathematical graphing he derived visual inspirations which he then would try to translate into musical material using various probability techniques, etc..
But finally and equally important, he had this enormous unique musical aesthetic that was the final arbiter. He definitely rejected anything approaching the randomness of a Cage.
Everyone of the pieces on this CD displays the power and musicality of Xenakis' approach to composition.
Consider the first piece, Syrmos, written as a catalogue of string technique. It starts out with a massed chord sounding like a very odd dissonant accordian. The various strings then take off in Xenakis' trademark glissandi that are all of different durations and interval range.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paco Yáñez on April 25, 2006
Format: Audio CD
There's no doubt about Iannis Xenakis (Braila, Romania, 1922 - Paris, France, 2001) is one of the greatest composers in the XXth Century, creator of a large work full of originality and rigor, that make of him one of the references in the last decades for composers all over the world in the last years.

Every new CD by Xenakis is an occasion, specially if this CD combines, like in this case, a first compilation on CD, a world premiere recording (Ittidra) and these very excellent performances conducted by the great conductor of contemporany music Johannes Kalitzke. The works taken in this recording represents 37 years in the career of Iannis Xenakis, from Syrmos (1959) to Ittidra (2006), a period that means quite all the life of Xenakis as composer, and that shows how he thought and created in the chamber music field, that one in which Xenakis used to experiment very much for his largest works.

1959, first year present in this CD, will be crucial for Xenakis, because it's in this moment when he decides to choose the way of the composition as his main creative activity, after being some years working as an architect with Le Corbusier; from that years we have some architectonical jewel like the 'Philips Pavilion' in the World Fair of Brussels (1958).

Syrmos, from that year, is a really 'summa xenakiana' of instrumental techniques for strings, those he became to use systematically in the `50s, and with which he made a little revolution with his piece Metastaseis (1953-54). Syrmos is a step forward in that way, with a language based in series of glissandi realized to multiple directions, continue dissonances, clusters formed by tremolo and pizzicato, col legno of a very intense beat against the instrument, great dynamic ranges, etc.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Autonomeus on July 18, 2006
Format: Audio CD
There are now many discs documenting Xenakis's orchestral works, and the Arditti Quartet has recorded his few works for string quartet. This unique Mode disc collects 5 works for intermediate sized string ensembles, along with an amazing work for solo bass. The Ensemble Resonanz is superb, conducted by Johannes Kalitzke, and John Eckhardt's solo bass traversal of "Theraps" is superhuman.

The first two pieces, "Syrmos" for 18 strings (11'08" -- 1959) and "Aroura" for 12 strings (10'57" -- 1971) are phenomenal, maximum Xenakis, with raging glissandos, fiendishly complex interactions, and white-hot intensity. "Theraps" (13'37" -- 1975-76) includes more space, and is less relentless, but is equally impressive, and requires the utmost virtuosity to perform. "Analogique A+B" for 9 strings & tape (6'38" -- 1959) is not one of the best of Xenakis's electro-acoustic works, but is fascinating nonetheless.

The two remaining pieces, from Xenakis's late period, are less impressive. "Voile" for 20 strings (4'58" -- 1995) and "Ittidra" for string sextet (8'42" -- 1996) are in the same declamatory style as several other late Xenakis works for strings, including "Ata" and "Krinoidi" for orchestra (see my review of the Orchestral Works box). Xenakis turned to a simpler, more brutal style in his later years, and stopped employing sophisticated mathematics. As a rule, his compositions of the late 1980s and 1990s decline in quality.

The overall impact of MUSIC FOR STRINGS, though, is powerful. It is well worth hearing, whether as an addition to a Xenakis collection or as an introduction to the Xenakis soundworld.

See my XENAKIS: A Listener's Guide list for more by one of the three best composers of the late 20th century.
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