Iannis Xenakis: Works With Piano

Published in Discography, Music Incubator

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Album Details

Iannis XenakisWorks with Piano

Aki Takahashi, piano


Eonta (1963) for piano, 2 trumpets & 3 trombones (22:20)

Morsima/Amorsima (1962) for piano, violin, cello & contrabass (10:55) with the Callithumpian Consort, Stephen Drury, conductor

Akea (1986) for piano & string quartet (13:53)
with the JACK Quartet

Paille in the Wind (1992) for piano & cello (5:09)
with Rohan de Saram. Only available recording


Pianist Aki Takahashi follows up her acclaimed first disc of Xenakis piano works (which won a “Diapason d’or” in France, mode 80) with this second volume, of works for piano with instruments.

She is joined by an all-star cast of players: Rohan de Saram (formerly of the Arditti Quartet), The JACK Quartet, and the Callithumpian Consort conducted by Stephen Drury.

All works are underrepresented in current recordings or difficult to find at all.

The legendary EONTA — a blistering work with one of the most difficult piano parts ever written — receives its first new recording in over 10 years. The brass writing specifies spatialized movement for the brass players — including playing directly into the piano for its resonance — both dramatic to see and hear, captured in surround sound.

AKEA (1986), written for Claude Helffer and the Arditti Quartet, is not a typical addition to the romantic tradition of the piano quintet. It signaled the beginning of a more inward, reflective phase of Xenakis’ output.

MORISIMA/AMORSIMA was composed with the aid of a computer in 1962. This is the only readily available recording.

PAILLE IN THE WIND (1992) for piano & cello is performed with Rohan de Saram. This is the only available recording.

Original hi-definition 96khz/24-bit recording.

Also available on 5.1 surround DVD with full HD video directed by Tim Chu.

The DVD also contains an option for high-definition 96khz/24-bit stereo audio.

Liner notes by Benoît Gibson.


The Callithumpian Consort and its music director, Stephen Drury, are featured on a CD of music by Xenakis just out from Mode Records. The 11th in Mode’s ongoing Xenakis Edition, the CD includes four works with piano; Aki Takahashi is the virtuosic pianist on all of them. Various Callithumpians are featured on “Eonta” for piano, two trumpets, and three trombones, and “Morsima — Amorsima” for piano, violin, cello, and bass. The CD also includes a piano quintet, “Akea,” featuring the JACK Quartet, whose recordings of all the Xenakis string quartets on Mode was a highlight of last year’s CD releases.
Xenakis’s works can be on the astringent side for some listeners. Nevertheless, advice about how to listen to his music is printed right on the CD: “PLAY LOUD”

– David Weininger, The Boston Globe, 2 April 2010

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