Milan Kundera on Xenakis

From Total Rejection of Inheritance or, Who is Iannis Xenakis?- Milan Kundera(1980)


“Can his experiments with sounds and noises that are beyond notes and scales signal a new period in the history of music?  Will they remain in the memory of music lovers? No one can say for sure.  But what will survive for sure is this gesture of immense rejection: for the first time ever, someone dared to tell European music that it is possible to abandon it.  To forget it. (Is it a coincidence that during his youth, Xenakis lived through the massacres of a civil war, was condemned to death, his handsome face having been permanently marred by a wound, came to know human nature to a greater extent than any other composer?) And I think of the necessity, in the profound meaning of this necessity, which led Xenakis to choose the world’s objective sonority over the subjective one of a soul.”