Xenakis: Chamber Music

Album cover art for upc 822186400166
Label: NAIVE
Catalog: NC40016
Format: CD&BOOK

Disc: 1 1. Tetras, for string quartet 2. Mists, for piano 3. Kottos, for cello 4. Herma, for piano 5. Embellie, for solo viola 6. Mikka, for violin 7. Mikka 'S', for violin 8. Akea, for piano & string quartet Disc: 2 1. Dikhthas, for violin & piano 2. Tetora, for string quartet 3. Nomos Alpha, for cello 4. Ikhoor, for string trio 5. Evryali, for piano 6. ST/4, for string quartet

This is not music to soothe the savage breast--or savage beast either. Nor is it music to boogie down with or accompany bathroom caulking. In different ways, Earle Brown and Iannis Xenakis are among the more invaluable giants of mid-20th century "New Music" (which, needless to say, is now less "new" than sonically and gesturally "avant-garde"). Earle Brown was less significant as a composer than as one of the earliest propagandists and proponents of the then-little-heard music of Cage, Berio, Stockhausen and the late UB Varese Professor of Music Morton Feldman. He was a recording engineer, and these original recordings from 1960-1973 were originally released as part of a groundbreaking "Contemporary Sound" series on 18 LPs. They fall into three discs here: "Works for Chamber Orchestra," "New Music from London" and, of greatest interest, a whole disc devoted to Feldman and Brown. For a composer best known for in-venting a mathematics-based "stochastic" music, composer/ architect Iannis Xenakis created some of the most sonically gripping music in all of the late-20th century avant-garde. Nothing on Helfer and the Arditti Quartet comes anywhere close to the monumentality of his percussion piece "Persephassa" or his electronic piece "Bohor I," but the power of this fierce music for solo cello, solo piano, violin and piano, solo violin, trios, quartets and quintets is both exceptional and well-played, considering its fiendish demands. -- The Buffalo News, Jeff Simon, December 15, 2009

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