Thursday 8 May 2008

Iannis Xenakis - Electronic Music (1997)


"This is a collection of compositions from electronic music pioneer and 20th century legend Iannis Xenakis, deceased in the early half of 2001 after a lifetime creating one of the most significant bodies of European art. The great Greek-born Frenchman's extraordinary work covered early electronic music and post-serialist composition, architecture, and mathematics, and his mastery of diverse mediums informed his work in music composition, securing his place as one of the most important composers of avant-garde classical music. Those familiar with Xenakis the architect will know him for his pavilion at the Brussels World's Fair (1970), while instrumental classical musicians will know of his complex and abstract percussion and string works. In electronic music he is known not as the inventor but as the composer who shaped the medium into one of the most progressive and complex mediums of the late 20th century. Hence, New York's Electronic Music Foundation released this compilation of his works dating from the late '50s, when at a Paris studio he produced these artifacts that take the primitive electronics of the time into stunningly sophisticated realms. On hearing this CD in the new millennium, it is hard to believe that these abstractions were not made in the late '90s, judging from their futuristic use of electronic effects. Xenakis' work was always considerably more abrasive than that of his contemporaries, and is comparable only to the work of Karlheinz Stockhausen, who was similarly interested in noise and sonic phenomena during the '60s. The works on this CD such as "Polytopes" and "Concrete PH" are concerned with "clouds of sound" where the density is extreme, giving these tape works complex textures that can be examined for hours and at different volumes, presenting effects from curious ambience to engaging and rigorous sound worlds. This archival collection comes highly recommended. It is more than a footnote in the history of electronic music, as many reissues can be; rather, this is a vital document in the shaping of late-20th century music." by Sylvie Harrison, in All Music Guide
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. His distinct sound is also apparent in 'Concret PH' (1958), based on the sounds of burning charcoal. 'Concret PH' was played along with Varese' 'Poème Electronique' in 1958 in the Philips Pavilion at the Brussels World's Fair , which Xenakis (also 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.

-----------------------------------------
Iannis Xenakis / Electronic Music

01 Diamorphoses (1957) 6:53
02 Concret PH (1958) 2:42
03 Orient-Occident (1960) 10:56
04 Bohor (1962) 21:36
05 Hibiki-Hana-Ma (1970) 17:39
06 S.709 (1992) 7:03

total time 67'02''

link1 | link2@320

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much!!
How fortunate that you have this posted.
This and "Persepolis" are the most meaningful Xenakis compositions.
Thank you so very much,
Jim

Anonymous said...

XENAKIS IS SO AHEAD OF HIS TIME!
THANK U SO MUCH!

Novemberer said...

Many thanks for posting this, Xenakis is a name I've often seen mentioned but whose music I've never been able to track down. Needless to say, I am REALLY looking forward to hearing this... x

Kokkaljós said...

Could you please upload this to megaupload.com? At least then this won't happen:

"You want to download the following file:

http://rapidshare.com/files/113478993/xenakis2.zip | 54553 KB

This file can only be downloaded by becoming a Premium member

There are no more download slots available for free users right now. If you don't want to become a premium member, you might want to try again later."

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Iannis Xenakis (Greek pronunciation: [ˈʝanis kseˈnakis], Greek: Γιάννης Ξενάκης) (May 29, 1922 – February 4, 2001) was a Greek composer, music theorist, and architect-engineer. After 1947, he fled Greece, becoming a naturalized citizen of France. He is commonly recognized as one of the most important post-war avant-garde composers. Xenakis pioneered the use of mathematical models in music such as applications of set theory, stochastic processes and game theory and was also an important influence on the development of electronic and computer music. He integrated music with architecture, designing music for pre-existing spaces, and designing spaces to be integrated with specific music compositions and performances.

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Among his most important works are Metastaseis (1953–4) for orchestra, which introduced independent parts for every musician of the orchestra; percussion works such as Psappha (1975) and Pléïades (1979); compositions that introduced spatialization by dispersing musicians among the audience, such as Terretektorh (1966); electronic works created using Xenakis's UPIC system; and the massive multimedia performances Xenakis called polytopes. Among the numerous theoretical writings he authored, the book Formalized Music: Thought and Mathematics in Composition (1971) is regarded as one of his most important. As an architect, Xenakis is primarily known for his early work under Le Corbusier: the Sainte Marie de La Tourette, on which the two architects collaborated, and the Philips Pavilion at Expo 58, which Xenakis designed alone.

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