I don't generally like to use the blog just to link to other sites, but Steve Smith has an eye-opening article on Edgard Varese's percussion piece Ionisation in today's Times. I don't know Slonimsky's recording. I have Craft's and Chailly's. Sorry I can't make the performance, either.
Back when I was studying acting in college, we were given an assignment to improvise a monologue over a piece of music. The piece I chose was Ionisation, which was a little different from the pop stuff the rest of the kids selected.