This ORCHESTRAL WORKS, VOLUME IV collection of Xenakis from Timpani has the same format as Volume III -- a fantastic premiere recording of the radical piano concerto "Erikhthon" (1974 -- 17'21), along with another superb composition, "Akrata (1965 -- 10'30), and then two later works that are not nearly as good, "Ata" (1987 -- 14'39) and "Krinoidi" (1991 -- 10'08). If you are not already deep into the music of Iannis Xenakis, I recommend starting at the beginning of the series, as Volumes I and II contain more consistently excellent compositions. The performances and recordings are uniformly outstanding across all four discs.
Xenakis composed three works for piano and orchestra. "Synaphai" (1974) was recorded on Volume III, so I expect Hiroaki Ooi on piano, with the Luxembourg Philharmonic, Arturo Tamayo conducting, will tackle the third one ("Keqrops" -- 1986) on Volume V. Both "Synaphai" and "Erikhthon" are compelling, amazing works for huge orchestras (14 winds, 13 brass and 60 strings on "Erikhthon"), featuring trademark glissandi and nearly continuous athletic piano. "Erikhthon" is from the peak of Xenakis's "arborescences" phase, a compositional form which produced complex glissandi.
"Akrata," the earliest work included, is from 1965, Xenakis's most purely mathematical period, for a small orchestra of only 16 winds and 8 brass. "Akrata" is relatively spare, austere and stark, and somewhat foreboding, in contrast to the high energy of "Erikhthon." The two later works are much simpler and have a pummelling quality to them that is hard to take even for a dedicated afficionado of the avant-garde like myself. Granted that Xenakis may have been reflecting the brutality of the turn to the right of the 1980s (Reagan, Thatcher, nuclear threats, and so forth), it is undeniable that "Ata" and "Krinoidi" are not among his finest works. "Krinoidi" is marginally the better of the two, and is here recorded for the first time.
All in all, another fine addition to the Xenakis oeuvre, another splendid accomplishment for Maestro Tamayo and all the fine musicians involved. The cover is a colorized photo of the visionary Xenakis with added touches creating the impression, quite appropos, that his hair is on fire... Many thanks to Timpani -- I look forward to Volume V!
This disc is still available, now found at: Complete Orchestral Works, Vol. 4.
See my list XENAKIS: A LISTENER'S GUIDE for much more on one of the three best composers of the late 20th century.