Xenakis: Electronic Works 1 - La Légende d'Eer
Audio CD | Import
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
La légende dEer is a powerful 7-channel electro-acoustic composition which Xenakis created in 1977-78
to be played in "Le Diatope", a curvaceous architectural construction designed by the composer, together with a visual component including laser lights. This "multi-media" work was composed for the opening of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, where it was performed for three months and seen by thousands of people. The sound materials of a La légende d'Eer stem from three sources: instrumental sounds, noises, and electronically generated sounds. The work suggests an initial departure, a journey, and a final return. Xenakis surrounds the work with a compilation of five texts, reflecting or reacting upon each other across the distances in time, space, and culture which separate them. This new stereo mix was created by Gerard Pape director of Xenakis CCMIX studio in Parisfrom the original analog master tape. The analog master was transferred at high-resolution 96khz/24-bit sound for the optimum quality, revealing details not heard in the previous stereo CD release (now deleted). Use of the original master tape restored almost 2 minutes and 30 seconds to the piece, released here for the first time. Also available on DVD in 5.1 surround sound with visuals of the performance at Le Diatope (1978) by Bruno Rastoin and an interview of Iannis Xenakis by musicologist and Xenakis scholar Harry Halbreich.
Top customer reviews
Composed in 1977, "Legende.." is a 47 minute work that was created entirely with electronic and processed sounds for an installation which Xenakis called "Diatope".
As a stand-alone piece of music, "La Legende D'Eer" is more than just a work from a composer, it's a journey of sorts. While there are no breaks during the piece's 47 minute running time, distinct 'movements' can be made out as the work progresses.
The piece opens with some extremely high-pitched sine-wave tones which are extended at first but then shift into what sound like crickets chirping. This leads into an otherworldy section that sounds like a bad nightmare accompanied by bees and mosquitos. What follows this is the sound of what could be several roller toys modified with tape manipulation and echo. This leads into my favorite part of the piece - a low frequency oscilating pulse which gradually builds into a plethora of outer-space noises. After several minutes of this, the mosquito sounds return in full abundance almost to the point of intolerance. Slowly, some metallic screeching sounds enter in which gradually build in volume until they've completely taken over acompanied by pure white noise and what sounds like a video game racecar. As this begins to slowly fade to the background, the high pitched sounds that opened the piece return bringing it full circle to a quiet and peaceful finish.
As mentioned above, Xenakis's "La Legende D'Eer" is more than just a piece of music, it's a journey and an adventure. For those accustomed to music with melody, harmony and rhythm, you'll find none of it in this piece. The focus is on pure sound and the way the sounds develop and morph into different shapes over time. Overall, this work is extraordinary and is one of Xenakis's very best.
On a personal note, this piece was my introduction to Xenakis's music and the very first work I ever purchased by him (on the Auvidis Montaigne label which is now out-of-print).
Makis Solomos pithily captures the musical content of the 47' piece in the liner notes: "...this work follows a dramatic arched form: the music appears very slowly, then several waves culminate in a sort of deluge, and finally progressively disappears." PERSEPOLIS from 1971 (see my review) had no formal structure, no crescendos or "movements." So LA LEGENDE D'EER takes what is in many respects similar music in terms of texture and construction and adds a simple structure -- a beginning, middle and end. There are seven layered tracks of music, and six distinct sections, though they flow together. The opening sounds like cicadas, or perhaps shooting stars if they made sounds. The sound intensifies to a high point of intensity between 25' and 33', culminating with what might be a spaceship blasting off. Overall it is quite an experience, and my only quibble is with the development passages between the eery opening and ending and the climax. On the "way up" Xenakis uses an electronic "squiggle" that sounds like a mosquito buzzing, and on the "way down" there is a passage that sounds like nothing so much as a go-cart.
Thanks to Gerard Pape for the stereo remix, and to Mode for a fine production. The liner notes contain much fascinating detail about the construction of the piece and the source materials. It is also available on DVD, but apparently the DVD doesn't add much -- some stills of the Diatope, and a less-than-insightful interview with Xenakis. The earlier Montaigne version is now out-of-print, though there may still be copies about. The one thing that version has that this new one lacks is the five texts from Plato, Hermes Trismegistus, Blaise Pascal, Jean-Paul, and Robert P. Kirshner, and the metaphysics and physics of the texts are only meant to stimulate the listener's imagination with ideas of eternity and the cosmos, "destiny, life and death" as Xenakis puts it.
Your trip is your own.