Iannis Xenakis - GRM Works 1957-1962 LP
Label: Recollection GRM
Recollection GRM assembles Greek experimental composer Iannis Xenakis' works for Groupe de Recherches Musicales circa 1957-1962. "Concret PH" (1958) was assembled for the Brussels World Fair. The industrialist Philips commissioned Le Corbusier's famous "Philips Pavilion": "I'll create an electronic poem for you, he said. Everything will happen inside: sound, light, color, and rhythm." Iannis Xenakis designed the architectural blueprint and composed "Concret PH" meant to psychologically prepare the public for the show created inside, accompanied by a musical piece by Edgard Varèse. The 400 speakers that lined the inner shell were meant to fill the space through the sound sparkles of "Concret PH" and achieve a joint emanation of architecture and music, conceived as a whole: the roughness of the concrete and its internal friction coefficient found an echo in the timbre of the sparkles. "Orient-Occident" (1960) was originally composed for a film by Enrico Fulchignoni for UNESCO. The film describes a visit to the museum comparing artifacts produced by various cultures and highlighting their interaction, dating back to ancient times. From an abstract point of view, the composer regards this work as a solution to the problem of finding highly diversified means of transition, meant to link a type of material to another. One indeed witnesses a varied gradation of mutations, interplays, overlaps, cross-fading, sudden shifts, and hidden junction points.
"Diamorphoses" (1957-1958) portrays continuity and discontinuity within evolution. Here are two aspects of being, whether in opposition or in communion. In "Diamorphoses" this antithesis was illustrated sections of sound strongly opposed to others, and particularly in organizations of continuous variations of average or "statistical" heights. "Bohor" (1962): Bohor (referring to Bors the Younger, Lancelot's cousin), is a character from the medieval cycle of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. "Bohor" is dedicated to Pierre Schaeffer. The author deliberately abstained from giving any descriptive information on his piece, letting the listener choose an imaginary route for himself. This release presents the 1968 version, revised by Iannis Xenakis himself and as yet not made available to the public. "Even though Iannis Xenakis never made 'musique concrète' in the sense given by Pierre Schaeffer, the GRM was a locus for experimenting with his ideas about sound and sound structures. These works, composed between 1958 and 1962, show a boldness as advanced as in his orchestral approach. The relationship between Xenakis and Schaeffer was often tense. It nevertheless entailed mutual recognition and respect towards each other's musical approach. Schaeffer found the piece disproportionate in terms of intensity but was indeed pleased by the dedication. The four pieces presented here, all produced at the GRM, undoubtedly demonstrate the experimental intent and the strictly 'physical' character of Xenakis' music, in that it provides the audience with a listening experience of a rare intensity." – François Bonnet & Christian Zanési