This remarkable disc brings together two leaders of the 20th century avant-garde: the early French iconoclast Edgard Varèse and Iannis Xenakis, who now lives in France. Varèse's influence on modern music is indisputable -- from the later avant-garde, to Frank Zappa to movie soundtracks -- all borrowed from Varèse's unique style. He has also had a direct influence on Xenakis muiscally and personally, where the two collaborated on Varèse's electronic work Poème Electronique for the Brussels Worlds Fair.
Conductor Juan Pablo Izquierdo has had much experience directing Xenakis's music and other modern masterworks. Xenakis was invited by Izquierdo and Carnegie Mellon University for an extended visit featuring a festival of his music. All three works were prepared and recorded with the composer's supervisionl.
Dämmerschein ("Rays of Twilight") is one of the latest large orchestra works by Xenakis. An energy-charged, volcanic composition from the first note to the last, its massive contrasting blocks of sound give the aura of light through music.
Persephassa is a classic in Xenakis' œuvre and one of the great percussion ensemble works.
La Déesse Athéna is a thickly scored chamber work, with the instruments often playing in their most aggressive ranges. The virtuoso baritone part calls for the singer to range from his lowest register to high falsetto, effecting the dual male/female nature of the Greek deity Athèna.
Finally, Varèse's monumental Amériques, for a huge orchestra including 11 percussionists and sirens, was influenced of the urban landscape of New York - a thing of violent beauty. At the climax, the full power of the orchestra is unleashed in one of the most expansive and impressive passages in the entire orchestral repertoire. A sonic experience richly recorded and guaranteed to blow you out of your seat!
Xenakis, Iannis : Dämmerschein
Xenakis, Iannis : Persephassa
Xenakis, Iannis : La Déesse Athéna
Edgard Varèse (1885 - 1965) : Amériques
Reviews"The Mode disc places another late Xenakis orchestra piece from 1994 alongside a crack performance of VarÃ©se's AmÃ©riques. With its German title, DÃ¤mmerschein (Rays of Twiight) making explicit reference to Wagner's Die GÃ¶tterdammerung (Twilight of the Gods), this is a one-off Xenakis piece with a harmonic language that falls as close to tonality as he ever dared. The high-energy level and dramatic sweep is, however, absolutely characteristic. The disc also contains Persephassa (1969) - a curly constructed 26 minute piece for percussion ensemble - and La DÃ©esse AthÃ©na (1992) for baritone voice singing in the stylized falsetto Xenakis created for his theatre piece OresteÃ¯a.