The text for A Colone
(1977) is taken from Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus
. Xenakis wrote that ‘the melodic lines unite with the speech modulation of that period [the fifth century BC] while respecting the long and short values’. This is a work based on the desire to recreate the ancient style of speech patterns and perhaps also the ceremonial performance atmosphere generated by a restrained, almost chanting choir. A Colone
is entirely non-combative, with a clear triumphal opening in which the instrumental and vocal forces are briefly but forcefully contrasted with texture. There is no contest, the phrasing is stately; the choir, sometimes with short solos, dominates the instrumental texture which frequently comments, sometimes lends support, and occasionally adds sinew to the musculature of a monumental statue.
from notes by Nouritza Matossian © 1998