One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider

Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free

we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

absolutely thrilling

immediacy and spontaneity

Schumann Lieder

24 Preludes
one of the finest piano discs

‘Box of Delights.’

J S Bach A New Angle
Organ fans form an orderly queue

a most welcome issue

I enjoyed it tremendously

the finest traditions of the house

music for theorbo
old and new

John Luther Adams
Become Desert
concealing a terrifying message

ground-breaking, winning release

screams quality

Surprise of the month

English Coronation, 1902-1953
magnificent achievement


We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Iannis XENAKIS (1922- 2001)
Works for Chamber ensemble and voice
Zyia for mezzo, flute and piano (1952) [11.22]
Six Chansons Grècques (1951) [9.42]
Psappha (electro-acoustic version with percussion) (1975/95) [12.26]
Persephassa (version for solo percussionist and electronics) (1969/2003) [28:31]
Angelica Cathariou (mezzo); Cécile Daroux (flute); Daniel Ciampolini (percussion); Nikolaos Samaltanos (piano); Dimitri Vassilikis (piano)
rec. no details given
SAPHIR LVC1168 [62.14]

Experience Classicsonline

The first thing to say is that Cécile Daroux, a supporter and commissioner of Xenakis works, died in 2011, aged just 42. This was before the recording was completed so as Christophe Sirodeau writes as a preface to the notes, “May this recording be considered a moving, bereaved homage from all those who will continue to love and admire her beyond time”. I suppose that similar comments could be made the remarkable Iannis Xenakis, one of the most incredible polymaths of the last century and a totally original musician and composer.
The first work Zyia - an archaic word meaning ‘couple’ - quite surprised me as I realised that until that moment I had only heard the more untamed and later Xenakis. The coupling alluded to here may be the two instruments against the voice. I found it beautiful, colourful and exotic. It uses a sort of recurring eastern European scale. Dating from 1952 it may then have appeared rather ‘difficult’; now it seems to fall into a more general European system of musical thought. The text is by Xenakis himself and is a call to youth to rise and enjoy the spring. Here the spring represents a new life, away from the dictatorship that had affected Greece just after the war. This was the same war in which the composer himself had been much injured both psychologically and physically when the left-wing uprising was brutally suppressed. Yet the work is not always impassioned in an emotional way but stands back and observes its surroundings. Especially memorable is its wild Greek dance in the central section. This is exciting and there’s marvellous demanding work for Daroux’s flute. This is a piece to which I will often return.
There then follows a piece from the preceding year. One can judge easily what a vast jump it was from the Six Chansons Grècques to Zyia. These aphoristic piano miniatures are what the booklet notes curiously describes as ‘demotic rural-style folksongs’. They have harmonic variety but are generally diatonic. The last however comes as a bit of a shock: it is called Soustra and is a mad dance, It’s the sort of thing Skalkottas might have written had he have lived longer than his measly and tragic 45 years. These pieces were composed only a couple of years after his death but it’s odd that they possess French titles such as the beautifully nostalgic ‘Aujourd’hui le ciel est noir’.
Psapphais the Greek for the poetess Sappho (seventh century BC) and is scored for a variety of metallic and wooden, non-pitched percussion instruments. These are here presented in an successful and evocative electro-acoustic version sanctioned by the composer by Daniel Ciampolini himself. To quote Carol Ann Duffy in the recent Penguin translation of Sappho “In Sappho we often find erotic emotion expressed in stylised and ritualised ways”. This piece is like a ritual, in fact there’s nothing here I feel which an ancient Greek would not have comprehended. It is purely rhythm, differing tempi, colours and patterns. Indeed, even in the original, Sapphic poetic rhythms are, I believe, significantly variable and always relevant to the subject matter. I like the quote in the booklet, which sums up what Xenakis was probably attempting “beauty cleansed of an effective dirt, lacking in sentimental barbarism”. Its dancing pulses are a joy and a true connection with ancient times.
Sirodeau says of Persephassa that the music seems to come, not from ancient Greek cultures this time, but “from before the creation of the world” and is described as a ‘frieze’. Persephone is nature’s goddess of the renewal of springtime and there is much that is rudimentary and burgeoning about this extraordinary piece. Originally performed by the six players ‘Le Percussions de Strasbourg’ and premiered in Iran. Ciampolini has created a version for himself only to play by pre-recording five tracks then adding himself live. At almost thirty minutes it seems quite remarkable both musically and technically. When one considers the many complex rhythms and the marvellous and gradual accelerando in the final five minutes the achievement is even more remarkable. Falling into, five sections (unfortunately, although there are silences, they not separately tracked) the fourth has the startling noises of primitive mouth sirens along with the metallic, skin and sometimes wooden instruments. The idea of small metal tubing comes from the simandres of Greek Orthodox churches. This version has received only one performance and that in 2003, according to Ciampolini’s own notes on these percussion pieces. I must add that although I have read the rest of Sirodeau’s notes on this piece I just don’t understand them; never mind.
As I imply, the booklet essay has been oddly translated and some passages I have re-read several times and still don’t grasp. The general gist though is often thought-provoking as is the entire disc of music by this most innovative of minds. Search it out.
Gary Higginson 



























































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.