Описание CD

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  Исполнитель(и) :
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  Наименование CD :

Год издания : 1990

Компания звукозаписи : Wergo

Время звучания : 43:57

Код CD : Wergo 6178-2

  Комментарий (рецензия) :

CD, стоящие на полке рядом : Classics (Modern Classics)      

========= from the cover ==========

Over thirty years after the scandal created by the premiere of his first orchestral work, Metastaseis, at Donaueschingen in 1955, Xenakis's music slill poses to the listener a disconcerting dichotomy: the ingredients of the music appear to consist of a plethora of scientific and higher mathematical expressions, a web of calculations and diagrams, yet the sonic result is raw and dramatic, intensely passionate and subjective. The non-scientist musician, trained in the Western tradition, may indeed wonder how the results of complex scientific processes can truly produce creative music; the scientist who does understand the processes may well arrive at the same question. Hence the cries of devotees that Xenakis is a composer outside time, he is a phenomenon which could have occurred in another century, another civilisation, right back to the time of Ancient Greece - indeed that in his new synthesis of art and science, he is the first of a new race of artists, with "cerveaux puissants et universels". Yet Xenakis has identified his creative persona and methods as an entirely logical step at this point in the continuing evolution of music. Right through from the earliest formulalions of theories of music by Aristoxenus and Euclid, music and mathematics have been intimately linked. In the Middle Ages in Europe, for example, the study of music at university automatically included the study of arithmetic, geometry, architecture and astronomy - all sciences based on numbers. Composers were thus often accomplished scientists, and much of the music of leading composers was based on Ancient Greek and also Christian symbolic number theories The intimate link between some of Xenakis's scores and architecture had clear historical precedents: there are many instances in medieval music of works being based on architectural principles.

Music and mathematics only became distanced when music became directly expressive, in terms both of dialectic and emotional expression. It was when the Romantic movement in music reached its apogee, in the earlier twentieth century, that a number of composers, seeking an escape, turned again to mathematical principles, initially through the invention of twelve-note technique. For the composers in the hermetic atmosphere of Vienna, the centre of Western music for almost the last two hundred years, it was quite impossible to take the logical conceptual step, effectively right outside the Western European tradition. It was in Paris, where a new aesthetic had already emerged in the music of Debussy, that the music of our own times was to be forged, above all through the examples of Varese and Messiaen.

For the young Xenakis, arriving in Paris in 1947, his encounters with such key figures provided just the stimulus he required to fire his creative spirit. Brought up in Romania and Greece, he was largely self-taught as a musician, with little experience of the Western tradition; his training was as an engineer and architect in Athens, until his involvement in the Greek Resistance caused him to flee the country. In Paris he threw himself into the latest developments, attending Messiaen's classes at the Conservatoire, alongside such other young prophets of the future as Boulez and Stockhausen, and worked with Pierre Schaeffer on the first concerts of the Groupe de Recherches de Musique Concrete. At the same time he was working as an architect with Le Corbusier, developing startling new concepts for buildings which involved immensely complicated calculations for the proportions, lines, curves of pressure, in order to establish a structure. He gradually began to develop the same principles with regard to the construction of music, eventually applying them in his first major work, Metaslaseis. He approached the construction from the outside, employing large number theories to create masses of sound in clouds and galaxies, progressively defining and sub-defining his material until finally the smallest details were charted. This approach was radically opposed to the investigations of most or his colleagues: while he revelled in a cosmic approach, they were analysing the compositional process from the smallest definable element, building up as it were from individual atoms. Hence some of the confusion and disorientation of the early listeners to Xenakis's music even his fellow composers.

Through the last thirty years Xenakis has concentrated his genius on the world of sound; architecture has served lo provide visual and acoustic elements in many of his works, from the myriad light and sound sources in the series of Polytopes to the construction of a special listening environment, the Dialope. But the mathematical theories he learned from the field of architecture and engineering he has continued to explore in his music.

These mathematical theories are sophisticated symbols of the unity Xenakis sees underlying all activity, both human and non-human: music, as the most abstract of the arts, provides the ideal medium for the expression of his philosophy. He projects the future of music as an ever closer relationship between the arts and sciences, with the artist-scientist equally skilled in all fields, extending to history and human sciences, and also to genetics and paleontology (for the evolution of forms). And it is the strength of conviction, the burning vision within Xenakis that turns what in the hands of a less creative mind would be an arid and sterile experience into something powerful and dramatic, a distinctive music which has had a profound influence on many younger composers, both in terms of compositional techniques and the sonic results.

Despite the complexities within the compositions, and also the rigorous demands they make on performers, the impact of Xenakis's music on the listener is always direct. The four works for varied ensemble on this recording, all dating from the late 1 970s, always present a clearly perceivable shape and balance of structure, and indeed often give the impression almost of modal writing, through the use of scale patterns and the concentration of musical activity around specific tonal areas. The music is still alive with "the whole agony of my youth and the Resistance", but there is an increasing richness of expression, a spirit of exuberance and exhilaration, a new romanticism, what seems to be a celebration of the sheer joy of music by a composer at the height of his powers and in full command of his medium, his destiny.


A "palimpsest" is a piece of parchment or paper which can be re-used: the original writing is rubbed out, and something new is written in its place. In this composition the new principle being explored is that of non-repeating scales. In modern Western music, for example, the basic scales - major and minor - have a succession of seven different notes which repeat identically in every octave. Xenakis reacted against this limitation by creating non-repeating scales: each octave the scale passes through has a different pattern of notes. This principle is applied to the full twelve-semitone scale and surprisingly for Xenakis, there are no quartertones or microtonal divisions, though the strings have some glissandi. He also extends the new principle to other elements, such as time, intensity, degrees of order and disorder. But, as always, having formed his principles, he lets intuition rule the music.

In Palimpsest the new scale principle can be heard immediately, in the opening pianosolo.The piece is a kind of chamber concerto, for piano, percussion (six drums), a wind group and a string group. The music throughout is possessed by a tremendous energy and verve, and a sense of exhilaration, as the instrumental elements are pitted against each other, and it builds up until all the pitched instruments are skidding around scale patterns. As the climax is reached all the wind and strings join in unison rhythm and pitch, playing a slowly rising scale figure which gradually moves out of phase and back in again. As they reapproach unity, their sound is obliterated by a final sortie on the percussion, followed by a last failing outburst from the piano.

EPEI (1976)

In strong contrast to Palimpsest, Epei is essentially introvert and pensive, and it is concerned above all with continuity of line. The word "Epei" means "since", both in the causal sense ("because"] and the temporal ("after"). Trie musical flow consists of continuous slight changes, like ripples in a stream, seamlessly woven into the texture, or otherwise of abrupt changes which lead the music in a new direction. The first three notes on the trumpet, E-A-B, provide the focal pitches for the whole work: throughout the first half the trumpet and clarinet play a kind of ostinato around these three notes, while the other instruments remain stuck around the note E in microtonal clusters - the music is notated in units of an eighth of a tone. At last the instruments join in a glissando which leads to the centre of the work, marked by a passage beginning in unison rhythm and pitch, gradually moving out of phase and back in again (as in the final section of Palimpsest). Then the trumpet establishes an A, on which the others join. This is the pivot note for the whole of the second half; but the music eventually works its way back, ending on a final affirmative unison E, the pitch on which the work started, but now spread over five octaves.


Xenakis had not, until 1979, written for the classic combination of violin and piano: for him it was a new thing, how to oppose an elephant like a piano against such a subtle thing, a spider-web like the violin. "Dikhthas" means "double" or "dual", like a personality made up of two different natures Sometimes these two natures contradict each other; sometimes they merge in rhythm and harmony. The piano opens in very similar style to Palimpsest in non-repeating scale patterns which are abruptly cut off by the violin with violent down-bow chords. Then the violin takes up the challenge of the scale figure, taking it one stage further, into continuous glissando scales of which the piano is incapable. The piano persists in its scale material as the violin explores all three of its ideas; then the violin casts a new challenge to the piano: it takes a unison note D played on two adjacent strings, and moves one of the Ds fractionally away from the other, creating "beats" - audible vibrations o between the notes, from two per second up to eight per second, and back again. The piano cannot play microtones or sustain continuously: it frustratedly repeats a unison D, or moves semitones or tones either side. Later in this passage the piano discovers a new, purely pianistic reply to the violin: playing four unison Ds simultaneously over a sixoctave range. This sends the violin scudding impassionedly off in new directions, homing in on the idea of a continuous glissando in microtones. The piano counters with a few interpolations, but is no match. When the violin finishes, however, the piano answers in a brief and frenzied solo, covering the whole range of the keyboard in a few seconds. Perhaps mutual respect has been achieved: the final section opens with the two instruments at last in complete empathy, sharing and exchanging themes and figures, and ends with their two individual voices in mutual support.


"Akanthos" is a plant, the Acanthus, of which the leaf pattern was used to form the decorations rounds the capitals on Corinthian columns. The music is similarly elaborated and ornamented, with a mass of detail. The five strings play mainly glissandi or gritty unison details, and sometimes produce quite striking melodies; the flute, clarinet and soprano concentrate more on individual notes. The piano joins in with both groups, but above all punctuates the music with solo bursts. Several pitches stand out from the overall mass: especially prominent are the notes A and D, and underlying the whole piece there is a distinct impression of the mode of D minor.

-Guy Protheroe (1989)

  Соисполнители :

Claude Helffer (Piano)
Guy Prothroe (Conductor)
Irvine Arditti (Violin)
Penelope Walmsley-Clark (Soprano Voice)

№ п/п

Наименование трека



   1 Palimpsest         0:09:49 1979
   2 Epei         0:12:27 1976
   3 Dikhthas         0:12:25 1979 - Arditti, Helfer
   4 Akanthos         0:09:16 1977 - Walmsley-Clark


 T   'щелкнуть' - переход к тексту композиции.

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