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The title Bohor is based on the subject of a medieval song cycle, "Bohor the Outcast," who was a valiant knight of the Round Table. Bohor is an 8-channel tape work and was Xenakis's first large-scale electroacoustic work, running approximately 23 minutes in length. The source materials for this work are a Laotian mouth organ known as the khen and various bracelets from Eastern countries, which Xenakis does not fully specify but are conceivably foot bracelets with small crotal bells attached. His technique of transforming and amplifying elements of very soft sounds in order to bring out their hidden structure is apparent throughout the work.

Sketches of Bohor reveal that Xenakis was quite concerned with the spatial orientation of the speakers as well. Indeed, Xenakis has said that the experience of Bohor should be like standing inside of a large bell. Xenakis traveled to Japan the previous year and was influenced by its traditional and sacred music. He has deliberately said little about Bohor so that "the imagination of the listener is left so free to choose a story or to image its own way or follow an itinerary."

Analysis and Video

Multimedia Program Notes


List of works