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Beethoven and more podcast #21: An armada of instruments

Performances by percussionists are somewhat of a sporting event: with an armada of instruments, Martin Grubinger & Friends are as interesting to watch as they are to listen to.

Percussionist Martin Grubinger at another festival in 2010

Percussionist Martin Grubinger at another festival in 2010

Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001)

Pleiades for 6 percussionists: (IV.) Peaux

Martin Grubinger (percussion)

Leonhard Schmidinger (percussion)

Rainer Furthner (percussion)

Sabine Pyrker (percussion)

Rizumu Sugishita (percussion)

Slavik Stakhov (percussion)

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

The panoply of a multi-percussionist is impressive: in addition to conventional drums, there are all sorts of unusual instruments like bells, whistles, stones and sirens. To watch how often and deftly Martin Grubinger and his fellow percussionists move among their vast array of instruments is an exercise in fascination.

The Greek composer Iannis Xenakis was one of the first to extract the percussion section from a symphony orchestra and assign it a role of its own. In "Pleiades," he created a sound both serious and celebratory, as Greek mythology can be, and yet there's something reminiscent of Asian rituals in it - a sound that sets one's teeth on edge, inescapable, louder than at a rock concert, a sound with which the listener's body itself seems to resonate.

Autor: Rick Fulker

Editor: Louisa Schaefer

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