May 25, 2003

Steve Layton Realizes Xenakis' Evryali

Composed for piano in 1973, Xenakis' "Evryali" is a wildly imposing work, yet one that has a kind of directness and even "play". This directness comes from the simple and intuitive forms that lie beneath the barrage of notes, and is what makes the piece immensely engaging, almost "familiar", for both the performer and the listener. While traditional notation might obscure the work's compositional origins, a slightly different representaion of the notes will show the actual framework of purely free graphic inspiration that lies at the heart of the piece. It reveals a piece that was much more "drawn" than "composed" in the traditional sense. Granular (composed of many discrete "bits" or notes) blocks of sound alternate with many equally granular, entangled or branching lines or curves (Xenakis called these "aborescences" or "Medusa's hair"). The visual demands of Xenakis' "drawings", when translated to traditional notation, make for many passages that are strictly impossible for any human pianist. The performance I give here is a "virtual" one, that makes use of digital (midi) technology to realize the work just as written, bypassing the limits of two hands and ten fingers.

Steve Layton Music at AmpCast

Posted by jeff at May 25, 2003 04:21 PM

Nice article.

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