Iannis Xenakis Profiled

Source: The Spectator.

At the same time, inspired by the post-war developments in avant-garde and electro-acoustic music, Xenakis worked on becoming a composer. He developed a novel approach to orchestral and electronic music based on dynamic sound masses. The string orchestral work Pithoprakta (1955-56), for example, features shifting groups of pizzicato and struck wood, while the electronic work Concret PH (1958) samples and granulates the crackle of burning ember. Here, music is no longer about notes and chords but about clouds and torrents; no longer about stable harmonies but endless transformations.