On the four previous installments in Timpani's series of the orchestral works of Iannis Xenakis, Arturo Tamayo and the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg have presented highly varied and volatile works from different periods of the composer's career and have provided an excellent overview of his output. This fifth volume focuses on the early orchestral works, which brought architect and mathematician Xenakis world renown as a cutting-edge composer and put him in direct opposition to the serial establishment. The stochastic masterpieces Metastasis (1954) and Pithoprakta (1956) offered a viable alternative to the "total serialism" practiced at the time and were regarded as almost heretical in some quarters for pointing up the limitations of the post-Webern school. Yet in these dynamic compositions, and in ST/48 (1956), Achorripsis (1957), Syrmos (1959), and Hiketides (1964), Xenakis pioneered the use of mathematics, probability theory, and extended timbral techniques in avant-garde music, and he laid much of the groundwork for the spectral composers of the 1970s. Tamayo's vital performances match the high quality of his earlier releases, and the orchestra plays with the same ferocity and feverishness it displays elsewhere in this valuable survey. Fans who have searched for great recordings of these pieces should give this album due consideration, for it's unlikely these brilliant renditions will be surpassed, and almost certain that they will never sound better than they do in these sharp and stunning recordings.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson