XENAKIS, IANNIS: Percussion Works (3 CD set)
The first complete set of Xenakis' works for percussion - all the solos and ensemble works, plus the three duos (with oboe, harpsichord and voice). Xenakis was one of the great composers for percussion, and these recordings are particularly good: massive, rich, nuanced and extremely well defined - with some deeply impressive low frequencies. Xenakis' writing is complex the way rain falling on a roof is complex; or the statistical distribution of people in public places over time is complex; sheets of sound shift attention form point source to shifting masses and from articulation to timbre. Densities constantly change as focused and unfocused events slide in and out of attention. Unlike most percussion music, this work has more in common with an organism than a machine. And some of the sounds are breathtaking. But it is the large pieces that work best, Persephassa, for instance in a truly great and indispensable work, and this is the best recording of it I have heard. For those who know already the pieces are: Persephassa, Psappha, Dmaathen, Pleides, Komboi, Kassandra, Okho, Oophaa, Rebonds.