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Xenakis: Metastasis, Pithoprakta, Eonta / Jean-louis Le Roux

Release Date: 11/23/1993 
Label:  Chant Du Monde   Catalog #: 278368   Spars Code: AAD 
Composer:  Iannis Xenakis
Performer:  Aki Takahashi
Conductor:  Jean-Louis Le RouxKonstantin Simonovic
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF Philharmonic OrchestraParis Contemporary Music Instrumental Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 39 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Iannis Xenakis' music is impenetrable to many listeners, and a good number of those folks would describe it as "unlistenable" as well. Here we have a composer who also was a mathematician and architect and never was afraid to build (or construct, if you like) works based on hugely complex mathematical calculations. These recordings, made in 1965 but sounding remarkably clean and broad, cover three of his compositions: Metastasis (1953-55), written for 61 players, all playing different parts(!); 1955/56's Pithoprakta for strings, trombones, xylophone, and woodblock; and Eonta, composed in 1963-64 and scored for piano, trumpets, and trombones. (Konstantin Simonovic conducts the Paris Contemporary Music Ensemble in Eonta; Maurice Le Read more Roux and the ORTF musicians take on the other two pieces.)

At the risk of angering the late composer's spirit by considering the music's aesthetics rather than its theoretical bases, I will say that Metastasis, with its relentless, slow-moving upward glissandos and manic tremolos, is effective. (Think of the closing moments of the Beatles' "A Day in the Life".) Pithoprakta, too, optimizes the range of the strings' textures with pizzicatos, ominous col legnos (in which the players hit the wood of their bows against the strings), glissandos, and short, shuffling bowings. The composer asserted that the goal of Pithoprakta was to lose the individual players' contributions in one mass of sound, but on this recording at least a zinging pizzicato here and a sharp woodblock knock there certainly zoom into sharp focus. As with so many of Xenakis' compositions, the spiky Eonta demands formidable technique from the musicians brave enough to tackle it. In this respect, Yuji Takahashi doesn't disappoint, and the five brass players show off equal virtuosity.
--Anastasia Tsioulcas, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Metastasis by Iannis Xenakis
Conductor:  Jean-Louis Le Roux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953-1954; Paris, France 
Pithoprakta by Iannis Xenakis
Conductor:  Jean-Louis Le Roux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955-1956; Paris, France 
Eonta by Iannis Xenakis
Performer:  Aki Takahashi (Piano)
Conductor:  Konstantin Simonovic
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Contemporary Music Instrumental Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963-1964; Paris, France 

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