19 February 2007

Xenakis: Ata, Rebonds

At this point the Xenakis survey is looking more and more difficult to do. I've done some searching and it appears that I will be unable to obtain any of the scores from the 1990s. While I do have recordings of most of these pieces, the lack of scores will make it more difficult for me to study them. Xenakis entries will continue, but they will likely be far more sporadic.

Ata (1987): No score available. Boisterous, loud for full orchestra. Mainly consisting of a lot of sawing in even rhythms, with the occasional varied accelerandos that Xenakis began creating in Persephassa. Stinging ending with the ensemble pooping out after spending ten minutes or so beating its collective chest in an orchestral matam. One feels this music directly in the organs, though the visceral impact of the live performane cannot be matched in the recording. I recall hearing this at Ostrava and being constantly amused and charged with each new loudness. Close in some ways to the ecstasy of Lichens. Ata, according to Harley: ancient Greek for "human folly that imprisons one inside oneself"

Rebonds (1987-1989): Solo percussion work in two interchangable sections. Mainly stays with drum sounds with five wood blocks added for effect in part B. A constant steady sixteenth motion that must make this rather enjoyable for the player, I had fun myself playing fake drums while following along. There doesn't seem to be much a place for this piece to go and the thoughts that crossed my mind were in a way related to minimalism, which I think has a strong inspiration on this piece, though probably minimalism as mediated by something like Ligeti's etudes. The "a" section features a little bit more of randomness thrown into a steady drum soup.

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