Marko Slavíček: Orchestrating Noise: Traces of Mycènes alpha in Anémoéssa

With an input of only several pieces in the electronic music genre, Iannis Xenakis established unique aesthetics that made him one of the most influential avant-garde composers of his time. His approach to electronic music overlapped stylistically with his acoustic music. The result of this is not only evident in reusing acoustic sources in his electronic pieces, but electronic sources in acoustic pieces, too.

In the analysis, we take a closer look at two seemingly different works: Mycènes alpha (1978), composed on the UPIC system, and a rather obscure composition for mixed choir and orchestra, Anémoéssa (1979). The latter represents a sound collage created from excerpts of Xenakis' earlier works, like Cendrées and Pléïades. The majority of passages, however, are taken directly from the noisy electronics of Mycènes alpha and orchestrated for large forces. To locate the common passages, we use scores, recordings, and manuscripts found in the Xenakis personal archives. The comparison between the pieces uncovers an unconventional example of self-borrowing that ultimately contributes to a better understanding of the composer's compositional techniques and his approach to electronic music in general.


Marko Slavíček

Marko Slavíček (*1986) is a composer and an architect from Zagreb, Croatia. During his music and architecture studies at the University of Zagreb, he attended several composition seminars abroad with renowned composers such as Nigel Osborne, Heiner Goebbels, and Philippe Manoury. He further specialized in spectral music in the class of Tristan Murail at the Mozarteum University of Salzburg. He is currently doing doctoral research on Iannis Xenakis at the Technical University of Berlin under the supervision of Prof. Dr Stefan Weinzierl. His interests include acoustics and spatial music.