Thursday, 19 February 2009

Poême électronique, Edgard Varêse and Le Corbusier 1958 ii

I've just discovered a very interesting documentary about the Philips Pavilion and Poême électronique by Vitual Reality and Multimedia Park.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009


The real composer thinks about his work the whole time; he is not always conscious of this, but he is aware of it later when he suddenly knows what he will do.
Igor Stravinsky

One of the odd things about composing music or any creative endeavour is the amount of time one spends just thinking about what you are going to do. I am involved in a project for the University of Sussex called Sounding the Site and although I've written a couple of sketches I'm still thinking about the shape or form of the piece. I've written a piece that has a working title of 'cave music' because it's a soundscape the evokes the interior of a cave, but I'm undecided about how to proceed. Do I keep it as a soundscape or add more structure to it? Do I add themes or think about counterpoint...?

One the other things that also tends to happen is procrastination, it's a feeling that somehow, you're not ready to get down and finish the work - it's not the right moment to do it. It's during one of those moments of prevarication I found a couple of photographs that have intrigued me. The first small is a small photo of Claude Debussy and Igor Stravinsky taken by Erik Satie. I would have loved to have been there. Were they competitive with each other, what kind of small talk was going on that room?

The second is a mugshot of Igor Stravinsky after he was arrested by the Boston Police in 1940 for adding a major 7th in his arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner. There was a federal law that prohibited the reharmonization of the National Anthem.