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Xenakis - Orchestral Works

CD1 : Aïs - Tracées - Empreintes - Noomena - Roaï
CD2 : Jonchaies - Shaar - Lichens - Antikhthon
CD3 : Synaphaï - Horos - Eridanos - Kyania
CD4 : Erikhthon - Ata - Akrata - Krinoïdi
CD5 : Métastaséis - Pithoprakta - ST/48 - Achorripsis - Syrmos - Hiketidès

BOXSET 5C1177 | 5CDs - TT: 5 hours [2000/2001/2002/2004/2008]

Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra/Arturo Tamayo with soloists


This cheap reissue of the prolific Iannis Xenakis's rarely heard orchestral music (an important part of his oeuvre - Xenakis composed many works for large orchestra during fifteen years before any for a single instrument !) is something for libraries to acquire, provided they already have books on the composer to be taken out with the discs.

For the ordinary collector I have serious reservations. There is no helpful information supplied; what you have is a listing in alphabetical order of original performances of the works, and their instrumentations. The essay by Alain Surrans/tr. Jeremy Drake is general and, with long paragraphs and small print, it is daunting to read. No vocal text of course; you would not even discover, for instance, that the remarkable Spyros Sakkas is singing passages from the Odyssey...

The serious Xenakis collector would do better to explore some of the original separate releases. In my review of two of the discs I wrote:

- - I cannot and will not attempt to describe these works in any detail; that is provided by John Tyler Tuttle in English and my favourite insert-note writer Harry Halbreich, who runs to seven pages in smallest type, in French; both writers make the strange assumption that purchasers and listeners will have scores – it would be far more helpful if their annotations were to track timings instead of bar numbers!

Volume 1 of the same series also has Halbreich in French as chief guide, together with an essay in English by Nouritza Matossian, author of Iannis Xenakis (Kahn & Averill UK 1990), whose biographical notes are helpful for the ordinary listener.

Please check out my full review, of Vols 1 & 3, dating from 2002.

Is there any technical or financial reason why Timpani might not publish all the original commentaries on their website?

Peter Grahame Woolf