Two Works by Iannis Xenakis

November 15, 2012, 6:30PM

ACT Cube
20 Ames Street Building E15, Lower Level
Cambridge, MA 02139

In conjunction with In the Holocene the List Center presents two seminal works by Iannis Xenakis

Iannis Xenakis, Mycenae-Alpha (1978), audio recording and video (9 min 37 sec)

Composed in 1978 on the UPIC graphic computer system at the Centre d’Etudes de Mathematique et Automatique Musicales (Center for the Study of Mathematics and Automatic Music) in Paris, Mycenae-Alpha is a mono tape manipulated between two or among four speakers. By taking the shapes and movements of natural phenomena, such as molecules in a gas, Xenakis developed a method of digitally mapping those images into the computer and using them to trigger sound events of similar aural shapes. Mycenae Alpha is a composition of dense and intense textures, of phase-shifting waveforms rich in harmonics that cascade, flutter, crash, and scream like sirens in a vast cosmological territory.

Iannis Xenakis, Diamorphoses (1957), audio recording (6 min 54 sec)

The studio at Radio France dedicated to the creation of new sounds was launched in 1948 by electroacoustic pioneer Pierre Schaeffer. Iannis Xenakis was quickly fascinated by the expanded possibilities of musique concrète, and by 1955 had begun working there, as part of what became known as the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM). Between 1957 and 1962, he completed a number of pieces, the first being Diamorphoses. The sound-world Xenakis designed for this work combines the violent noises of jet engines, trains, and an earthquake with high bell-like sounds. The contrasting character of these sonic layers interacts with shifting densities and successions of events to produce a complex, yet balanced form.


This program is FREE.  All are welcome.

For more information, contact:

Mark Linga
[617] 452-3586