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"Mikka, For Solo Violin" by Iannis Xenakis

From the release

"Iannis Xenakis: Chamber Music, 1955 - 1990"


Mikka ("small," also named for Mica Salabert, Xenakis's publisher), was completed in 1971 and premiered at the 1972 Festival d'Automne in Paris, soon after the opening of the Polytope de Cluny. The piece's most immediately striking aspect is the solo line that unfolds in continuous fashion from beginning to end. It consists entirely of a single glissando, snaking its way along the registral compass of the violin in a perpetually varying contour. The banishment of vibrato from the music lends a metallic edge to the sound, although Xenakis does vary the timbre through ponticello and tremolo effects. Dynamics, too, play an important role in adding depth to the singular sonority of the glissando, even if quite different from the constantly varying markings of Nomos alpha. After the relatively neutral mf opening, the rest of the score consists of shifts between extreme dynamic levels, usually linked to changes from ponticello (soft) to normal mode (loud).

-- EXCERPT FROM "XENAKIS: HIS LIFE IN MUSIC" BY JAMES HURLEY (PG 76)

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