Saturday, March 03, 2007

New technology meets new music

Prompted by my recent Theremin and variations article a regular 'pathfinder' in Europe has sent me a link to a wonderful article on Edgard Varèse and Léon Theremin. Varèse is seen here together getting to grips with the new technology. The article is in French, but it is a fascinating document well worth translating with Babel Fish.

Now read about contemporary composers and the theremin.
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6 comments:

rchrd said...

You imply that the picture is that of Varese with Theremin. But that would be impossible because Theremin would have been in Soviet Russia at the time. The photo is usually described as that of Varese with an assistant at the Phillips Labs in 1958, when he was working on Poem Electronique. Actually, I think it is at Columbia University with his assistant at the time, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten but am trying to find.

rchrd said...

Here it is. I'm pretty sure that's James Seawright, an engineer at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center. See http://www.newworldrecords.org/linernotes/80521.pdf

Pliable said...

Richard many thanks for the correction.

You are of course right - my error entirely.

I've now amended the post.

Pliable said...

This thread started with the lunar eclipse.

It is now 11.20pm in Norfolk and we've just returned from a concert. The sky is completely clear of cloud, and we have probably the best view we've ever had of a lunar eclipse.

And an awful lot of people are arriving On An Overgrown Path via Google searches for 'lunar eclipse'. I hope they enjoy the theremin story, and return for more.

rchrd said...

But I think you meant to put the lunar eclipse comment on an earlier entry:
Theremin and variations on the moon

There's no lunar eclipse in this entry.

Oops. I guess now there is.

Pliable said...

And Richard Friedman adds:

By the way, I'm still not sure that the guy sitting with Varese is James Seawright. Jim is known now more for his kinetic sculpture.

It was 50 years ago, but it doesn't look like him, so it could have been some smartly dressed Phillips engineer. I've seen that photo so many times, but I always assumed it was Jim, whom I met in the mid 60's when I lived in NYC and made some visits to the Columbia-Princeton studio. I'll probably research it further until I've satisfied my curiosity.