Xenakis: Synaphai; Aroura; Antikhthon

Xenakis: Synaphai; Aroura; Antikhthon

by Elgar Howarth
     
 

On this CD, the New Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Elgar Howarth, plays three large orchestral works by Iannis Xenakis written in 1969 and 1971. Although two of them only last about 12 minutes, they have a monumentality that easily qualifies them as large; Xenakis was never one for making modest musical statements.…  See more details below

Overview

On this CD, the New Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Elgar Howarth, plays three large orchestral works by Iannis Xenakis written in 1969 and 1971. Although two of them only last about 12 minutes, they have a monumentality that easily qualifies them as large; Xenakis was never one for making modest musical statements. Certain characteristics apply to all these works, including the use of textural variety as a significant structural element; explosive, relentlessly frenetic energy; a dense and dissonant harmonic language that rarely allows a suggestion of tonality; orchestration that heavily relies on extended instrumental techniques; and mind-boggling rhythmic complexity. The overall effect can at any given moment sound chaotic, but each piece has a logic that makes it a coherently satisfying, visceral experience. "Synaphaï," a concerto for piano and orchestra, defies most of the conventions of a typical concerto; the piano is used essentially as a member of the ensemble, rather than as a soloist set apart from it. The virtuosity it calls for involves agitated, athletic pounces from one end of the keyboard to another, and articulating the independence of a number of simultaneous gestures. "Aroura," the classical Greek word for earth, is for an orchestra of strings, and consists largely of primal groans and bellowings created by glissandi, tremolos, and heaving clusters of pitches. The 20-minute "Antikthon," a Pythagorean word meaning anti-earth, is scored for full orchestra, and was written for George Balanchine and the New York City Ballet. Recognizably melodic fragments occasionally punctuate its turbulence and violent sonic eruptions, and it's the most diverse, colorful, and expansive score on the CD. The performances are appropriately savage, but the playing is never just wild and sloppy; Xenakis is a composer whose writing is clear enough that bad entrances and poor ensemble playing are easily noticeable. Howarth highlights the scores' orchestral brilliance and brings out the larger structural architecture of the music. Explore's reissue of a 1976 Decca release is bright and clean. This collection should be of strong interest to Xenakis fans, and even though these are not among his best-known works, they would make a good introduction to his aesthetic for someone just discovering the composer.

Read More

Product Details

Release Date:
06/27/2006
Label:
Explore Records
UPC:
0878914000177
catalogNumber:
17

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Synaphaï, for piano & 86 musicians  - Iannis Xenakis  -  New Philharmonia Orchestra  - Geoffrey Douglas Madge
  2. Aroura, for string ensemble  - Iannis Xenakis  -  New Philharmonia Orchestra
  3. Antikhthon, ballet for 86 or 60 musicians  - Iannis Xenakis  -  New Philharmonia Orchestra

Read More

Album Credits

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >