🎻♫♪ – Metastasis by Iannis Xenakis

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
88/501Title: Metastasis
Composer: Iannis Xenakis
Nationality: Greek

I guess it only made sense that if math rock was a thing that there would be such a thing as math classical music. The fact that you get classical music like this in the early fifties before rock and roll began to take the world by storm, however, is astonishing to me. It feels like, when I listen among the earliest entries in the list, the experimentation and innovation is within certain limits. I wonder what Hildegard of Bingen would make of Metastasis.

The moment that this piece started, I really wish I had actually read a bit about it first. That initial onslaught of sound is pretty intense and yet incredibly well organised. Never have I heard of a classical piece where the initial composition was made using graphs and parabolas which were then translated into the more traditional notation. Sure this isn’t the most soothing of listens, but boy Metastasis makes you pay attention.

It’s a short and powerful piece which, like Different Trains, shows the extreme breadth in the world of classical music and actually makes you question about having one umbrella term for such variation in styles. I guess it’s just a way to draw a distinction between pieces like this which are made for the art of it rather than other music which it far more universal.

I would love to find a list that was wider than the classical list that showcased something outside of the European classical sphere – so I would appreciate any suggestions on that.

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