Concret PH

Iannis Xenakis

  • Year of composition: 1958
  • Duration: 2:50
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium


“Although I have a CD reissue of this piece, I prefer to play the vinyl issue. The piece was created for the 400-loudspeaker array in the Phillips Pavilion at the Brussels World’s Fair in a programme which also featured Edgard Varèse’s Poème électronique. The PH initial Hyperbolic Paraboloids, the principal structural element of the pavilion. Beyond the allure of the simplicity of this piece i was fascinated by its physical relationship to the prevalent vehicle for recordings at that time; i.e., phonograph records. In some records rumble, dust ticks and the reproduced sound of tape hiss were an unwanted nuisance, but with Xenakis’ piece the medium and the message were inextricably intertwined — the little pops unique to my copy of the disc to my mind enhanced the experience of the whole.”

John Oswald [source: Réseaux des arts médiatiques] [iii-00]