- Conductor: Iannis Xenakis
- Composer: Iannis Xenakis
- Audio CD (May 2, 2000)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: EMF Media
- ASIN: B00005Y7YP
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #333,633 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Electronic Music Import
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Iannis Xenakis is without a doubt one of the major figures in the development of music in the 20th century. In 1957, he joined Pierre Schaeffer and others at the GRM (Groupe de Recherches Musicales) in Paris, and it was there that Xenakis composed his early works for electronic tape.
Xenakis' distinct sound is already apparent in 'Diamorphoses' (1957) which incorporates sounds of distant earthquakes, car crashes, jet engines, and other 'noise-like' sounds, and 'Concret PH' (1958), based on the sounds of burning charcoal, which was played along with Varese' 'Poème Electronique' in 1958 in the Philips Pavilion at the Brussels World's Fair (which Xenakis, also an architect, mathematician and engineer, designed). 'Orient-Occident' (1960), commissioned by UNESCO as music for a film by Enrico Fulchignoni, uses the sounds of bowed boxes, bells and metal rods, sounds from the ionosphere, and a speed-altered excerpt from Xenakis' orchestral work 'Pitoprakta' are combined to create a work suggestive of the themes of the film, which tracks the development of civilization. 'Bohor' (1962), was composed mostly with the sounds of Middle Eastern bracelets.
'Hibiki-Hana-Ma' (1970, 'Reverberation-Flower-Interval'), composed for the Osaka World's Fair, was composed with the UPIC system, a graphical input device that Xenakis invented, using recordings of an orchestra, a biwa, and a snare drum. And 'S.709' (1992) is the first of two compositions created with the GENDY-N program at CEMAMu (Centre d'Etudes de Mathematiques et Automatiques Musicales / Center for Studies in Mathematics and Automated Music), Xenakis' research center near Paris.
This music is extraordinary! And the CD is an essential part of history.
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Top Customer Reviews
The earliest four works were composed in the GRM studio (Groupe de Recherches Musicales), which was originally run by Pierre Schaeffer, electronic music pioneer and creator of the term "musique concrete." "Diomorphoses" (1957 -- 6'53") is a "a study of white noise and its graduations through the process of densification." "Concret PH" (1958 -- 2'42") was composed for the famous Philips Pavilion at the World Fair in Brussels, which Xenakis designed while working for Le Corbusier. "Concret PH" was played between two performances of Varese's "Poeme Electronique." It was created from a recording of crackling, burning embers, assembled in huge quantities and then varied in density. "Orient-Occident" (1960 -- 10'56") was composed as the soundtrack to a film commissioned by UNESCO about the development of humanity from prehistoric times to Alexander the Great. The piece contains more variety and dynamics than most of Xenakis's electronic works, to fascinating, compelling effect. Finally, "Bohor" (1962 -- 21'36") builds on the sound of chiming bells, and goes on far too long.
"Hibiki-Hana-Ma" (1970 -- 17'39") is the music for one of Xenakis's polytopes, a multi-media installation that was created for the Osaka World Fair. The title is Japanese for "reverberation-flower-interval"! One of Xenakis's finest electronic works, the piece uses instrumental source material exclusively, and the sound of an orchestra can be detected at intervals, variously altered. The last work included does not impress me in the slightest -- "S.709" (1992 -- 7'03"). It was composed using a new computer program Xenakis had created (GENDYN), but to my ears it is more crude and primitive sounding then the early works from GRM.
Look for the new remix of LA LEGENDE D'EER on Mode, Xenakis's 47' electronic work from 1978 (see my review). Mode is calling that release XENAKIS: ELECTRONIC WORKS 1, so we can look forward to more of this hard-to-find music...
I accept that sometimes there are musical areas that are beyond my comprehension. There are many things I love now that I wouldn't even have looked twice at four years ago. But I'm not about to start praising this music when quite frankly I find it more annoying than anything else.