Johannes Kalitzke / Ensemble Resonanz

Xenakis: Music for Strings

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In its outstanding Edition Iannis Xenakis, Mode presents coherent programs that put the composer's hard-to-categorize works in context and help make his fierce but fascinating music more intelligible to a growing legion of admirers. This is the sixth volume in the series, covering six compositions for various configurations of strings that also broadly represent three key periods in Xenakis' ouevre. Of his early works, Syrmos and Analogique A+B (both 1959) exemplify the mathematically generated music Xenakis developed at the beginning of his career, filled with group glissandi, clustered harmonics, and scurrying pizzicato textures. Two compositions of his dynamic middle period, Aroura (1971) and Theraps (1975-1976), reflect the severity of the mythopoetic concepts that preoccupied Xenakis in that decade. The somewhat gnomic late pieces, Voile (1995) and the sextet Ittidra (1996), are hard to define in terms of techniques or time period, yet demonstrate a consolidation of Xenakis' ideas, particularly in the dense accumulations of sounds and interwoven arboresences in Voile. The Ensemble Resonanz, directed by Johannes Kalitzke, is incisive in its execution and thrilling for its shockingly brilliant timbres; and bassist John Eckhardt deserves special recognition for his heroic solo performance of Theraps, one of the most incredibly difficult pieces for bass ever composed. Mode's sound quality is absolutely superb.

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