Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Iannis Xenakis - Terretektorh/Nomos Gamma (1969)

Can't get enough of Xenakis at the moment, and all the different facets of his ouevre.  Whether writing for orchestra, chamber group, solo instrument or laying down to tape some of the stunning electroacoustic stuff that I've previously posted (links below), he was never less than powerful, fearless and unique.

This brief LP pairs two complementary works for large orchestra.  And by 'large', Xenakis means...well, just consider the full-length titles of these works, both commissioned for the Royan music festival in mid-late 60s France.  First up is 'Terretektorh for 88 musicians scattered throughout the audience (playing 4 percussion instruments in addition to their own)'.

Terretektorh actually starts quite subtly. A Scelsi-like drone slowly gathers momentum until the full orchestra erupts, the aforementioned percussion instruments sounding like angry crabs, and towards the end of the track everything explodes into a volley of air raid sirens.  The audience (both pieces are live recordings) sound appreciative enough - or perhaps just relieved to have survived the quarter-hour's racket going on in their midst.  They're in for more bowel-dislocating fun during Nomos Gamma, which ups the total number of audience-scattered musicians to 98, and makes full use of thundering percussion right from the off.  This is way, way up there in my list of 'wish I'd been there' concerts; what an experience it must've been.  All hail Xenakis.

Terretektorh/Nomos Gamma

Previously on SGTG:
 La Legende D'Eer


  1. Much appreciation for your Xenakis posts. I've always been bit intimidated by his reputation, but your intro-primer to his work has allayed my fears. (Having followed Autechre for 20 odd years I'm sure I can see his influence coming through.)
    Plenty on your blog to feed the ears, so many thanks!
    (plus, while I'm typing, the last James Last lp was really quite fabulous. Saw him live many many years ago, what a pro!)

    1. cheers! someone who's been to see Hansi and loves Autechre is very much on my wavelength.

      Autechre tip that I forgot to add in to my Confield post: picked up this brand new album by a Polish jazz ensemble recently and been loving it!,pink_freud-pink_freud_plays_autechre_digipak,24137.htm

  2. That's really great! Thank you a lot!!