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Beethovenfest

Beethoven and more podcast #19: Order and chaos

It's mathematically composed music that's become a cult: Martin Grubinger & Friends play music by Iannis Xenakis before a diverse, wildly enthused audience.

Austrian percussionist wunder Martin Grubinger

Austrian percussionist wunder Martin Grubinger

Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001)

Okho for 3 percussionists

Martin Grubinger (percussion)

Leonhard Schmidinger (percussion)

Rainer Furthner (percussion)

MP3 recorded in the Beethoven Hall, Bonn on September 25, 2010 by Deutsche Welle (DW)

The Beethoven Hall is packed to the gills with people of all different ages. It's rare to see so many pupils and college students at a classical concert - especially with Iannis Xenakis on the program, whose music, written in the 1960s, is not exactly "easy-listening."

Xenakis was a composer, architect and mathematician. His extremely complex compositions make clear the strong connection between music and mathematics. Chaos theory informs "Okho for 3 percussionists," in which the beats of the three percussionists sound out together, but then continually separate themselves by nano-seconds, growing ever further apart until they ultimately come back together in unison.

Through music, Xenakis demonstrates how order dissolves into chaos. The interaction between periodic and aperiodic sounds is only one aspect of this rational music calculated with mathematical formulas, which paradoxically makes a surprisingly strong emotional, even ecstatic impact.

Author: Rick Fulker

Editor: Louisa Schaefer

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