The contents of the EMI box are too numerous to list but all the sonatas, variations, and most short pieces are here: absent is the London Sketchbook, which is trite juvenalia.
On the four previous installments in Timpani's series of the orchestral works of Iannis Xenakis, Arturo Tamayo and the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg have presented highly varied and volatile works from different periods of the composer's career and have provided an excellent overview of his output. This fifth volume focuses on the early orchestral works, which brought architect and mathematician Xenakis world renown as a cutting-edge composer and put him in direct opposition to the serial establishment.
The fourth volume of Timpani's series of orchestral works by Iannis Xenakis presents four works from three distinct periods, though not in chronological order. Erikhthon for piano and orchestra (1974) is one of the "arborescent" or branch-like compositions from Xenakis' middle phase. Expanding and contracting through criss-crossing glissandi and bending clusters, the extremely loud and aggressive orchestra overwhelms the impossibly dense and struggling piano part; in this role reversal, Erikhthon may be regarded as the absolute antithesis of the conventional piano concerto. Ata (1987) is a late work, contrapuntal in nature but with the difference that the polyphonic lines are all tightly bunched in clusters; it also features a sly reference to Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps, which is unexpected and hilarious.
These four compositions are among the best and most forceful works of Xenakis. This recording of Jonchaies easily beats the version on Col Legno. I believe Shaar, Lichens, and Antikhthon are recorded here for the first time, and they are outstanding works, brilliantly performed and recorded. For those unfamiliar with the later large works of Xenakis, the CD is a must have!
Arturo Tamayo's recordings of the works of Iannis Xenakis on the Timpani label are among the finest available, for they are finely interpreted, expertly performed, and brilliantly recorded. Xenakis' music is always different from piece to piece, because the composer never wanted to repeat himself, and his works always present unique challenges, depending on the nature of his evolving techniques and changing expressions. Whether it is in the stark text and extreme vocalizations of Aïs (1980), or the densely dissonant aggregations of Tracées (1987), Empreintes (1975), Noomena (1974), and Roáï (1991), Tamayo keeps the energy levels high and shapes the sound to have a sharp edge and forceful impact.
Hermann Baumann is easily one of the finest horn players of the second half of the 20th century. He came to prominence as a soloist in the 1960s and in 1964 won the prestigious ARD International Music Competition in Munich, beating out Jessye Norman for first place
Nikolai Borisovich Obukhov (Nicolas Obouhow) (1892–1954) was a modernist and mystic Russian composer, active mainly in France. An avant-garde figure who took as his point of departure the late music of Scriabin, he fled Russia along with his family after the Bolshevik Revolution, settling in Paris. His music is notable for its religious mysticism, its unusual notation, its use of an idiosyncratic 12-tone chromatic language, and its pioneering use of electronic musical instruments in the era of their earliest development.
Edvard Grieg will always be remembered as the composer of the highly effective Piano Concerto in A minor, and his incidental music to Ibsen's play Peer Gynt. However, it is as a miniaturist that Greig's true genius lies. Grieg was a very capable pianist, and had in fact made his early career as a concert pianist, his songs and solo piano music form the heart of his output. The early piano sonata although interesting shows clearly why the less restricting forms of the miniatures for solo piano suited his genius. The Lyric Pieces and Peasant Dances display his keen ear for traditional folk music, matched probably only by Bartok and Kodaly. The 66 works that comprise the 10 books of Lyric Pieces date from 1867 to 1901, and are extraordinary, exquisitely crafted works that can stand comparison to any of the great sonatas of his contemporaries. This 7 CD set includes the complete Lyric Pieces, the Sonata, The Holberg Suite and the lesser-known piano works of this great composer who captured the very essence of his native Norway in music.