Hyperion Records

Serment
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Serment (‘Oath’, 1981) is based on the Hippocratic Oath sworn by doctors and was commissioned by the 15th World Congress of the International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery. The first performance took place in the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens in September 1981 and was given by the chorus of the Third Hellenic Radio Programme conducted by Antonis Contogeorgiou.

As a young architect with Le Corbusier, Xenakis had designed a chapel for the Dominican monks in the famous Couvent de la Tourette in 1954. The chapel became especially notable for his musical panes of glass based on the Fibonacci series which also ordered his first orchestral work, Metastasis.

From the opening phrase of Serment, in which the main structural idea is blithely presented, the work quickly develops towards a colourful weaving of fine textures—solo voices of complex articulation, accompanied by rapidly shifting block sounds. These alternate with broad repetitive sweeps and percussive interjections that serve as textural tufting points. One of the interjections, leaping from the background to the foreground and then back again to pulsate like a war chant, pulls the ensemble together again for a final sweep. Something of the asceticism of monastic life to which he was strongly attracted, tinges the pliant and rigorous aesthetic of this uplifting work.

from notes by Nouritza Matossian © 1998

Track-specific metadata
Details for CDA66980 track 3
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-97-98003
Duration
5'54
Recording date
25 July 1997
Recording venue
St Silas the Martyr, Kentish Town, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Gary Cole
Recording engineer
Gary Cole
Hyperion usage
  1. Xenakis: Choral Music (CDA66980)
    Disc 1 Track 3
    Release date: February 1998
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