In the oeuvre of many composers the vocal works are often the most personal, as if the primacy of the human voice and speech elicit an unguarded response. Xenakis' earliest works were based on a Bartókian approach to Greek folk music, which he rejected. However, his Greek origins continued to disturb him like subterranean tremors. His great love of ancient theatre, Greek philosophy and his mother tongue had to be married to a new musical language. The works on this CD all stem therefore from highly autobiographical sources.
The works fall into three groups: the first intrumentalizes and orchestrates the voice stripped of text as in Nuits and Knephas; the second (Medea) is based on his beloved Classical Greek theatre with a dramatic context and text; and the third is a relatively new group, setting vocal texts where the language is left whole and undisturbed in a music which displays a limpid and strict modality (A Colone and Serment).
'Nothing short of phenomenal. Here is one of the 20th century's most important musical voices, and this recording does that voice full justice' (Gramophone)
'Staggering virtuosity. A likely disc of the year' (The Sunday Times)
'This is a 'must have' disc. Quite simply magnificent. Overwhelming. Buy it!' (Classic CD)
'Riveting' (The Irish Times)
A Colone (für Chor und Instrumentalensemble) (1977)
Nuits (für 12 Stimmen a cappella) (1967)
Serment (für gemischten Chor) (1981)
Knephas (für gemischten Chor) (1990)
Medea (für Männerchor und Instrumentalensemble) (1967)