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Alfia Nakipbekova, University of Leeds, UK
146pp. ¦ $41 £31 €35
Considered to be one of the most revolutionary composers of the twentieth century, Iannis Xenakis pushed the boundaries of classical music. As a largely self-taught composer, Xenakis drew from his technical training in engineering and architecture to produce music that had the ability to both unnerve and enrapture his audiences. Motivated by his intense study of many scientific disciplines, he employed the mathematical rules of the natural world to test the traditional rules of counterpoint and harmony, and to explore the spatial texture of sound, colour and architecture. The Romanian-born Greek-French composer transformed twentieth century classical music for decades to come, leaving behind an undeniable legacy that continues to inspire and even shock listeners to this day. By approaching Xenakis’s creative output from a variety of perspectives, the contributors to this edited volume seek not only to situate Xenakis’s music within a larger cultural, social and political context but also to shed light on contemporary issues surrounding his work. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of Xenakis’s music (in the context of particular works) and musical philosophy: mathematical, structural, performative, as well as the genesis of his compositional style and distinctive sound. Xenakis’s artistic presence on the contemporary music scene, his political influence during the tumultuous protests in Paris ’68, and his first piano composition, Herma, are also explored in-depth providing new insights into the life and work of this avant-garde figure. This book will appeal to contemporary music researchers, students and scholars and may also be of interest to artists, performers and composers, alike.
Availability: In stock
384pp. ¦ $59 £48 €55
Paris, the City of Light, is one of the most romantic cities in the world. The millions of visitors which flock to the French capital every year follow in the footsteps of countless artists, writers and composers who for centuries have been drawn to this magnificent city. Some composers, Chopin and Rossini among them, found success and contentment, and remained in Paris for the rest of their lives. But for others, Paris brought nothing but disappointment and disillusionment. Mozart, who came to Paris as a 22-year-old seeking a permanent position, was so bitter about the cavalier manner in which he was treated that he professed an aversion to all things French until the end of his days. Wagner was so upset by his treatment here that he once described Paris as "a pit into which the spirit of the nation has subsided." And yet he was drawn back to the city time and again. This book charts the musical history of Paris. It discusses the composer and musicians, both French and foreign, who were drawn here and the impact they made on the world of music, on this great city, and vice versa. It includes a wealth of biographical details, including where the artists lived and, where relevant, where they died and are buried. It also draws from and points to suitable scholarly literature, making it an accessible introduction to students of the musical history of Paris. The book also describes another feature which, if it did not enrich, most certainly enlivened Parisian musical life: The full-scale musical riot. The most notorious of these took place at the Theatre des Champs Elysées in 1913 at the premiere of Stravinsky’s ballet Le sacre du printemps. Less physical, but no less vociferous, was the reception accorded to Wagner’s Tannhäuser at the Opéra in 1860. Other composers who incurred the displeasure of Parisian audiences included Satie, Varese and Xenakis. These riots were not half-hearted affairs; police involvement was required and hospital casualty departments were kept busy. There are also chapters which discuss the musical history of the many theatres of Paris and the churches which played such an important part in the city’s musical past. The text is clear and accessible in order to appeal to both students and the general reader.