Friday, 16 June 2017

Iannis Xenakis - Orchestral Works & Chamber Music (2000 compilation)

Been meaning to post this one for ages.  As regular readers will know, Iannis Xenakis may be my favourite composer of all time, has featured here a few times and will continue to do so.  This 2000 compilation on the Col Legno label is a great career-spanning overview, from a vintage 1955 recording of Metastaseis (1953/4) Xenakis' breakthrough work in mathematical composition that evoked the horrors of war, right through to a 1996 recording of Ioolkos, written that year and a fine example of his late work.

Bookending this disc are two of Xenakis' large scale epic pieces, Ata (1987) for 89 musicians, and the stunning fireworks of Jonchaies (1977) for no less than 109 - both essential listening for anyone who was as amazed by Terretektorh/Nomos Gamma as I was.  As promised in the album title though, this is balanced out well by Charisma (1971) for clarinet and cello, here in the original recording by the great Siegfried Palm, and the truly odd N'Shima (1975) for two amplified mezzo-sopranos and a quintet.  Ligeti aficionados will definitely appreciate the hazy, queasy microtonal collissions in the latter.



  1. Thanks for this. I was lucky to go to a performance of Persephassa
    coupled with Steve Reich Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ The Xenakis piece was impressive but loud

    1. sounds awesome, Xenakis music in concert is so on my bucket list.