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Xenakis, Iannis: Oresteia (1965-66,rev.1969/87/89) 50'
for baritone, mixed chorus and chamber ensemble

Music Text

Text by Aeschylus (Gr)


Solo Bar; children's chorus, mixed chorus (18 men and 18 women, or multiples thereof) doubling perc: wood simantras/metal simantras/whips/sirens/metal sheets/maracas

1(=picc).1.0.Ebcl.dbcl.0.dbn-1.1(=picc.tpt).1.1-perc(3):2timp(sm,lg)/2bongos/SD/BD(lg)/2wdbl/2lion's roar/2gongs(sm,lg)/2tamb(without jingles)/whip/4tom-t/2nylon brushes(long bristles)/2maracas/thunder-sheet(lg)/glsp-vlc

Each instrumentalist (except percussionists) doubles on each of tgl/tamb(varying pitch,without jingles)/siren/glass chimes/whip/metal sheets/lion's roar/rattles

Audience plays metal simantras

Performances of Oresteia should include Kassandra (1987) for baritone, psalterium and solo percussion (15 minutes), and La Déesse Athena (1992) for baritone and twelve instruments (9 minutes). Both additional scores are available from Editions Salabert.

Abbreviations (PDF)


This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

For full details on this stagework, including synopsis and roles, please visit our Opera section.

World stage premiere

Gibellina, Sicily
Iannis Kokkos and Rene Loyon, director / Spiros Sakkas (Cassandra); Sylvia Gualda, perc; Ensemble Instrumental de Basse-Normandie; 280choris / Michel Tabachnik and Dominique Debart

Press Quotes

“…sharp-edged, otherworldly. …“Oresteia” works powerfully on its own terms.
The New York Times

“arresting…Xenakis never wrote a score…that didn't instantly grab the ear and deliver a satisfying musical experience. …the elemental impact of the piece is undeniable……wholly mesmerizing.”

“…remarkable music…
The New York Sun

Recommended Recording

Spiros Sakkas, Sylvio Gualda, Choeur de Département musical de l'Université de Strasbourg, Maïtrise de Colmar, Ensemble Vocal d'Anjou, Ensemble de Basse-Normandie, Dominique Debart
Montaigne 782151

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