Musicophilia Daily

[Audio] – Iannis Xenakis – “Mélanges” (1979)

Posted in Audio by Soundslike on May 15, 2009

Iannis Xenakis – “Mélanges” (1979)

As an architect, Xenakis is a sworn enemy of mine, a direct disciple of Jenneret-Gris (aka “Le Corbusier”).  Fortunately, unlike the avant-garde Modernists in architecture, their musical equivalents didn’t try to  literally destroy what came before (or at least they didn’t succeed).  Indeed, this percussion work at times recalls Indonesian gamelan; at other times it brings to mind the push-and-pull of the rhythm elements of Charles Ives’ Symphony No. 4.  Also unlike the blank, indifferent banality of post-war avant-garde architecture, this music is highly visceral, abstract as its highly dynamic progress may be.  [Xenakis is incorporated into several experimental-but-visceral mixes at Musicophilia.]

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  1. MR said, on May 28, 2009 at 1:38 am

    I’m sorry you don’t like Le Corbusier, especially if it’s not his architecture that bothers you. Though I support preservation (which ironically now covers many buildings he influenced, cf. Tel Aviv’s UNESCO site) I do hold him in the highest esteem. Mies Van Der Rohe said “God is in the details” and I think if you compare the masterpieces of modernism to their banal reproductions it becomes clear what is so brilliant about these seemingly simple buildings.

    I’ve heard a lot of analogies between architecture and music that I find really compelling, about the use of space, stylistic development, rhythm, etc. It’s interesting though to contrast how buildings are permanent and destructible, while music is fleeting and essentially indestructible. It’s also interesting that modernist classical music is largely ignored by the general public, while the architecture is ubiquitous.

    On to the music, the piece you posted is really great, a far cry from his drier, more abstract stuff (like Metastasis, which awesome too). I like the varied percussion here, reminds me of Varese a bit. Thanks for posting it – modern classical can be really hit and miss and it’s definitely hard to find good stuff to listen to for free.


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