Iannis Xenakis

Metastasis (1953-1954)



Metastasis is Iannis Xenakis' first major orchestral work, inspired by Einstein's conception of time, the composers own personal experience of war, and the mathematical ideas of Le Corbusier [whom Xenakis worked with as an architect]. The work calls for an orchestra of 65 players: 12 winds, 7 percussionists, and 46 strings, though no two performers play identical parts. The sound mass that defines the piece is thus created by each player performing a glissandi at different pitch levels, durations, and points, with the resulting score, followed in this video sequence, supposedly serving as the basis for the hyperbolic paraboloids of the Philips Pavilion.