Quadrivium was composed in 1969 and marks the beginning of Maderna’s final creative period, during which he wrote impressive and headstrong works for large symphonic forces. Aura was commissioned for the 80th anniversary of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and was premiered in 1972. Amanda was written in 1966 and is uninhibited, cheerful and lyrical.
After achieving independence from Spain, Argentina developed its own models for concert- and opera-going, even though these continued in many respects to reflect European traditions. Musical legends emerged during this time: Astor Piazzolla, the founder of the Tango Nuevo, Mauricio Kagel, Carlos Gardel and Alberto Ginastera, the man considered for decades to be the country's most significant composer of classical music. Three of the works recorded on this CD fall into Ginastera's final ‘Neo-Expressionist’ period: the Concerto per corde Op.33 (1965), cast in a classical, four-movement form; the Estudios sinfonicos Op.35 (1967), which represent Ginastera at his most adventurous with the avant-garde style; and the Glosses sobra temes de Pau Casals Op.48 (1976/77), in which Ginastera experiments by taking traditional themes by the great Spanish cellist Pablo Casals and holding them up to an avant-garde mirror.
On the four previous installments in Timpani's series of the orchestral works of Iannis Xenakis, Arturo Tamayo and the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg have presented highly varied and volatile works from different periods of the composer's career and have provided an excellent overview of his output. This fifth volume focuses on the early orchestral works, which brought architect and mathematician Xenakis world renown as a cutting-edge composer and put him in direct opposition to the serial establishment.
The fourth volume of Timpani's series of orchestral works by Iannis Xenakis presents four works from three distinct periods, though not in chronological order. Erikhthon for piano and orchestra (1974) is one of the "arborescent" or branch-like compositions from Xenakis' middle phase. Expanding and contracting through criss-crossing glissandi and bending clusters, the extremely loud and aggressive orchestra overwhelms the impossibly dense and struggling piano part; in this role reversal, Erikhthon may be regarded as the absolute antithesis of the conventional piano concerto. Ata (1987) is a late work, contrapuntal in nature but with the difference that the polyphonic lines are all tightly bunched in clusters; it also features a sly reference to Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps, which is unexpected and hilarious.
These four compositions are among the best and most forceful works of Xenakis. This recording of Jonchaies easily beats the version on Col Legno. I believe Shaar, Lichens, and Antikhthon are recorded here for the first time, and they are outstanding works, brilliantly performed and recorded. For those unfamiliar with the later large works of Xenakis, the CD is a must have!
Arturo Tamayo's recordings of the works of Iannis Xenakis on the Timpani label are among the finest available, for they are finely interpreted, expertly performed, and brilliantly recorded. Xenakis' music is always different from piece to piece, because the composer never wanted to repeat himself, and his works always present unique challenges, depending on the nature of his evolving techniques and changing expressions. Whether it is in the stark text and extreme vocalizations of Aïs (1980), or the densely dissonant aggregations of Tracées (1987), Empreintes (1975), Noomena (1974), and Roáï (1991), Tamayo keeps the energy levels high and shapes the sound to have a sharp edge and forceful impact.