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Hallucinations…and Hymns

Hallucination, A Tribute to Mary Bauermeister, Jacaranda, January 25, 2014 — Jacaranda, the concert series in Santa Monica now in its 10th season, gave listeners two solemn, stunning performances on January 25th. With important compositions by Iannis Xenakis and Karlheinz Stockhausen —two originators of “electronic music”—the evening offered the possibility of explosive, sonic fireworks. But candlelight in a hushed room might have better suited the reverential tone of this music, despite its many unusual and fervent sounds. It was fitting that Jacaranda’s Halluncination take place in the modern, airy sanctuary of Santa Monica’s First Presbyterian Church. Patrick Scott, the Artistic Director of Jacaranda, writes copious, … [Read more...]

Modern Commitment to the Present and Past

JACK Quartet, SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture) – Chamber Music in Historic Sites, 13 February 2011 In this uncommonly vibrant and relevant program of contrasts and collisions, the New York-based JACK Quartet demonstrated thrilling engagement with music from the medieval, Renaissance, and 20th century periods. When one considers the extensive list of string quartet composers, including Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Bartók, and Schoenberg, it is even more impressive that the JACK Quartet began the concert with three arrangements of songs originally written for unaccompanied voices by 14th-century master Guillaume de Machaut. These settings, by quartet member Ari Streisfeld, gave the intricate polyphony of Machaut … [Read more...]

Sight and Sound

Iannis Xenakis: Now and Tomorrow Curtis Roads: New Work, with Brian O'Reilly, Video, REDCAT, January 30, 2011 –  The CalArts Center for Experiment in Art, Information and Technology (CEAIT) Festival returned this year to REDCAT with an extraordinary three nights of concerts and two symposia featuring the work of the highly experimental architect and composer Iannis Xenakis. Presented in conjunction with the MOCA exhibition Iannis Xenakis: Composer, Architect, Visionary, Angelinos got a rare opportunity to dote on the work of this complex hybrid master. The culminating CEAIT program included Xenakis works, Dikhthas (1979), Epicycles (1989), Akanthos (1977) and Polytope de Cluny (1972), and that night's opening … [Read more...]

End of Empire

Persepolis (1971), Iannis Xenakis – "Nous Portons La Lumiere de la terre" "We Bear the Light of the Earth" The Iranian Revolution of 1979 was fomented by the unusual pairing of ultra-conservative Islamists, reacting against the so-called “cultural contamination” of Iran by the West, and by various leftist elements, long outraged by the nation’s history of injustice, brutality and extravagance under the rule of the Shah. Left and right together filled the streets for months of protest. They marched on and sometimes burned cinemas, casinos, banks, hotels and other ostensibly un-Islamic institutions and luxuries, paving the way for the return of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Symbolic of the extravagance perpetrated by the regime of … [Read more...]