Wednesday, 25 May 2016
Iannis Xenakis - Terretektorh/Nomos Gamma (1969)
This brief LP pairs two complementary works for large orchestra. And by 'large', Xenakis means...well, just consider the full-length titles of these works, both commissioned for the Royan music festival in mid-late 60s France. First up is 'Terretektorh for 88 musicians scattered throughout the audience (playing 4 percussion instruments in addition to their own)'.
Terretektorh actually starts quite subtly. A Scelsi-like drone slowly gathers momentum until the full orchestra erupts, the aforementioned percussion instruments sounding like angry crabs, and towards the end of the track everything explodes into a volley of air raid sirens. The audience (both pieces are live recordings) sound appreciative enough - or perhaps just relieved to have survived the quarter-hour's racket going on in their midst. They're in for more bowel-dislocating fun during Nomos Gamma, which ups the total number of audience-scattered musicians to 98, and makes full use of thundering percussion right from the off. This is way, way up there in my list of 'wish I'd been there' concerts; what an experience it must've been. All hail Xenakis.
Previously on SGTG:
La Legende D'Eer