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    Xenakis, Iannis – “Oresteia ” – [Musical Heritage Society]

    Heavy duty fanfare in this composition from Xenakis circa 1966-67, but
    the source for inspiration and the power of presentation are timeless.
    Slippery strings, primordial trombone, rattley percussion (Xenakis
    *always* gave the orchestral drummer some!!) and then fascinating banks
    of vocals. His approach to ancient drama is compelling, a focus on the
    raw, simple voice often monotone though omniscient is, well, godlike!
    Emphatic chorus shouts, powerful often hammered in strident form on
    a strong cadence, but then at times odd divergent harmonies pull the
    ranks apart. A children’s chorus is employed as well. Pieces of this
    reminded me of Ake Hoddel’s work, and there are even motifs that have
    a sort of James Tiberius Kirk flare to them. “Eumenides” is the ‘hit’
    wooden ripples sounding like an Empreintes Digitales supercomputer
    effect, weird whistles, gongs, bullfrog deep contrabassoons. Yelps
    of chaotic passion. I could have sworn there were electronics used
    in creating this triumphant track, but apparently not. Haunting
    near robotic martial chorus voices are chilling, and the kids don’t
    make it any calmer (kids’ choruses can be the scariest thing, just
    ask any Italian horror filmmaker). Mourning may not become Elektra,
    but this release must have become stimulating theater (indeed
    reports are that the audience themselves were given instruments
    to join in the strum und clang.

    As performed by:
    Ars Nova Ensemble w/ Stephane Cailat Vocal Ensemble
    Marius Constant, Director

    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on January 4, 2007 at 1:18 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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