Iannis Xenakis

Electronic Works 1: La Légende d'Eer

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The differences between Gerard Pape's 2004 remix of Iannis Xenakis' La Légende d'Eer (1977-1978) and the composer's own rendition are complicated and subtle, so a fair assessment requires a side-by-side comparison. Pape's remastered version is more penetrating and deeper in dimensions, and the conspicuous separation of tracks seems like an improvement; perhaps if this disc is played on high-end audio or DVD equipment, it might be more convincing, but on a standard CD player, the issue is almost moot. Once one is fully acclimatized to the electro-acoustic environment, though, and caught up in the churning soundscape and darting points of sound, Pape's refurbished surround-sound mix seems to lose points on artistic merit. While far less defined in track separation, Xenakis' stereo mix is correspondingly more mysterious and haunting in its slightly veiled timbres and indistinct edges. For example, the pure glassiness of Xenakis' opening, the delicacy of the reiterated pitches, and the apparent fragility of the textures are missing in Pape's boosted and brazen beginning. Pape reveals more of the latent harmonics and seems to have enriched the piece by drawing them out; but Xenakis shapes the sonorities to subtler, more poetic ends, and creates a truer sense of sculpted sound by leaving some things barely within hearing.

Track Listing

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