Preview: Xenakis, Architect In Sound, South Bank Centre, London

Finding the keys to the heart

"There are one or two compromises to be made about what might be possible," he says, "but have you seen the score? When I first played it I completely re-scored it, reducing it from five staves to two, because, as I've said to his publishers, I think his way was needlessly off-putting. This is a problem I've come across with a lot of other contemporary composers. They say: 'I'm sorry, my music's terribly hard,' and I say to them: 'No, it's just the way you put in on the page.'" Hind should know, since he's the test-pilot of choice for many composers wanting to launch daunting new works.

But what is his reply to the charge of mindlessness? "I completely disagree. Xenakis's music is very interpretable. You could play it mindlessly - some early recordings of it really are just banging from A to B - but you can also shape each cluster of sounds very clearly, and the 'half-pedal' markings indicate an idea of a sonority that you have to imagine."

Xenakis, he says, wasn't inhibited by what was possible, and that unlocked things in him. "His music is not baffling, it's honest, and there's no particular struggle in it to be beautiful. A lot of new music pushes too hard to be gorgeous and tricksy to the ear. His is a raw, natural force."

The Xenakis weekend starts tonight and concludes on Sunday. Rolf Hind plays tomorrow at 4pm in the Purcell Room (0870 401 8181; www.rfh.org.uk)

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