Thursday, September 11, 2014

La Legende D'Eer

Iannis Xenakis La Legende d'Eer CCMIX: New Electroacoustic Music From Paris The music assembled for La L├ęgende d'Eer was designed for the Polytope that Xenakis exhibited outside the Pompidou Centre in 1978. Mode's DVD version attempts an interpretation of the visual and architectural material he intended to accompany the sounds, but the original structures themselves are now missing, presumed lost. His title is borrowed from Plato and the music itself conflates a typically diverse selection of sounds - various African and Japanese instruments, the sounds of bricks hit together - into wildly vibrant sonic matter. The static opening places simple melodic lines against extended durations, curiously Feldman-like in spirit, until Xenakis injects structural shocks into the unfolding argument. The sound sources could be divided into three categories: recorded instruments from all over the world, such as the African mouth harp and the Japanese tzouzoumi, various sounds created by different objects, for exam- ple clapping wooden blocks or rubbing materials against one another, and electronic sounds created in the studio, either using the UPIC system or by applying mathematical functions in a first attempt at stochastic synthesis (Toop 1995). Xenakis decided on an architectural form that made use of hyperbolic paraboloids, the smooth curved sur- faces that he used previously in the Philips Pavilion. The Diatope was 16 meters high and it was covered by a 1,000-square-meter red vinyl. The floor was made of translucent glass tiles. For the visual part of the spectacle, Xenakis used 1,680 flash lights, four lasers, and 400 rotating mirrors. The lights changed their state every 40 msec ( 1/25 sec), producing the illusion of continuous movement. The laser beams were reflected by the mirrors in a rel- evant manner as in the Polytope de Cluny. The commands that con- trolled the flashes, the laser beams, and the mirror positions were stored on a magnetic tape. The commands for the volume changes and the distribution in space of the seven audio tracks were also stored on the same tape. All these sounds were later treated by filtering, reverberation, transpositions, etc. The spatial position of the sounds also played an important role in the composition. Each of the seven audio tracks were distributed over eleven loudspeakers. In this work Xenakis not only created the audio and visual part of the spectacle but also designed the archi- tecture of the Diatope. La Legende d'Eer (1977) was the music of the Diatope, staged on the Place Beaubourg, outside the Pompidou Center in Paris to cel- ebrate its opening. The work was created partly at the Centre d'E- tudes Equipe de Mathematique et d'Automatique Musicales (CEMAMu) and partly at the Westdeucher Rundfunk (WDR) in Cologne, where the work was commissioned It was first per- formed on February 11, 1978. The title of the work came from Plato's Republic, excerpts of which were included in the program. Xenakis also included three other texts in the program: Poimandres from Hermes Trigemestre, a discussion on the Infinite in Pascal's Pensees and a text of Robert Kirchener on supernovae. The duration of the seven-track tape is 46 minutes.

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