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Kuniko Kato (Percussion): Iannis Xenakis: IX *

Track List

>Pléïades: Mélanges (Mixtures)
>Pléïades: Métaux (Metals)
>Pléïades: Claviers (Keyboards)
>Pléïades: Peaux (Skins)
>Rebonds: A
>Rebonds: B

Album Remarks & Appraisals:

KUNIKO's much-anticipated third studio recording features the works of Iannis Xenakis, whose work has had a huge impact within the world of music, and in particular on percussion repertoire. Full of challenges, from the pioneering mathematical influences, to unusual notation and virtuosic performance requirements, many classify Xenakis' compositions as unplayable, but KUNIKO's unrivalled prowess sees her perfectly realise the composer's vision. KUNIKO gave the world premiere of Project IX at the Japan Society in New York in 2014. Pléïades explores a rich variety of percussive sounds and textures; marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, xylo-marimba and drums create a sound world of rhythmic complexity and vibrant colours. Uniquely, Pléïades also requires a SIXXEN, an instrument designed by Xenakis and customised by KUNIKO, who hand-selected 120 metal bars to craft the perfect sound. Since becoming a percussion soloist, Rebonds is a piece that KUNIKO has been playing and performing throughout her entire career. After hearing this performance of Xenakis' popular piece, renowned percussionist Sylvio Gualda congratulated KUNIKO on her 'marvellous' interpretation. KUNIKO is a soloist who is recognised around the world for her astonishing virtuosity, exquisite musical insight and expressive yet elegant performance style. She is renowned for her flawless technique when playing both keyboard and percussion instruments, which blends seamlessly with her profound musical intelligence. KUNIKO's debut kuniko plays reich was acclaimed by the media becoming Linn's bestselling album of 2011, whilst cantus entered the Top 10 of the Official UK Specialist Classical Chart.

Sunday Times, 3rd May 2015
These are meticulous and muscular performances, at once elemental and elegant. Brilliant.

The Guardian, 23rd April 2015
[Kuniko] takes on the 1978 dance score PlTnades, and treats its effervescent textures to a loose, sensual swing. Who knows what the spatially obsessed Xenakis would have thought of her overdubbing the multiple parts of the sixxen (an instrument of Xenakis's own devising), and it isn't a hugely muscular performance, but the delicacy and sway are enticing.

American Record Guide, September/October 2015

American Record Guide, September/October 2015
Xenakis's playfulness is evident as always in these two pieces. Pleiades was written for six percussionists. The randomness of the rhythms makes the piece sound like a jury of wind chimes at each other's' throats. Rebonds, a very popular piece, is deeper and earthier. Percussionists and Xenakis completists will want this fine performance. Notes are in English; the sonics are fine.

Album Notes

Liner Note Authors: Kuniko Kato ; Iannis Xenakis .

Recording information: Lake Sagami Hall, Kanagawa, Japan (2013-12-15_2013-12-18&2014-).

Editors: Kazuya Nagae; Yuji Sagae.

Photographer: Michiyuki Ohba.

Among Iannis Xenakis' most frequently performed and recorded works are his solo percussion pieces, Pléïades and Rebonds, which stretch the limits of a performer's dexterity, speed, and stamina. As part of her touring Project IX, Kuniko Kato has performed Pléïades in a multimedia presentation with dancer Megumi Nakamura, and Rebonds has been a part of her repertoire ever since she became a professional percussionist, so she has a thorough knowledge of Xenakis' system of notation and methods. This hybrid SACD from Linn provides the best format for capturing the subtle nuances and timbres of the instruments, which include pitched and unpitched percussion, and the multichannel recording reproduces the wide dynamic range and spatial dimensions of Kato's performances. Listeners who are coming to Xenakis for the first time may find the percussion works quite accessible, and they will appreciate the precision and power of Kato's virtuosic playing. Highly recommended. ~ Blair Sanderson


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