Re: on Brussels (an excerpt) ... (FYI) [buildings for sound]

Subject: Re: on Brussels (an excerpt) ... (FYI) [buildings for sound]
From: Katharine Norman (
Date: Mon Jun 07 2004 - 01:48:25 EDT

yes, the whole Le Corbuser / Xenakis interaction over the Pavilion is
fascinating -as you say, the letters Xenakis wrote at the time are most
revealing of his altercation with Le C over credits - as you say, most
unusual to credit an individual - although grudgingly given. They
actually commissioned Tomasi to write a son et lumiere score because
Varese was so behind with production, just think! Xenakis reveals some
interesting views (that change remarkable over the years....) on Le

I've read a lot of the correspondence you mention - I actually wrote a
book chapter recently entirely centred on a lot of the Xenakis/Le C.
thing, hence my interest. What's also interesting to me is the role of
Concret Ph in this - which to me is much more 'successful' in being
about the space and in the space than the rather ponderous Varese Poeme.

The contemporaneous brochues, like the one I mention, are fascinating
in themselves as design - some of the essays have to be read with
'blurb-mode' on, especially some of the very differing facts and
figures regarding the gear, number of speakers etc.


On Sunday, June 6, 2004, at 01:13 AM, Jim Harley wrote:

> Katharine,
> Thanks for that pointer. Interesting presentation, even if not
> completely accurate (LeC never offered X money to keep his name off,
> for example--he actually gave him credit for his part, soon after the
> request, highly unusual for an architecture studio).
> Just think, instead of Varese's Poeme Electronique, we could have had
> something nice by Britten! The suits at Philips imagined a
> surround-sound sort of thing, with nice orchestral music sweeping
> through the pavilion.
> There is some fascinating correspondence on this struggle re: Varese.
> LeC made it a condition of his participation, repeatedly, that V be
> the composer, point final. Xenakis, too, did his share of defending
> Varese.
> Jim
> On Sunday, June 6, 2004, at 01:39 AM, Katharine Norman wrote:
>> I'd second that -and, in case it's not too late on this
>> buildings/sound thread - here's a wonderful page by page scan of the
>> brochure (or one of them) brought out on the Pavilion at the time.
>> Can't remember where the person originally requesting this info was,
>> but in the UK they have another similar brochure in the British
>> Library, containing a long essay on the sound design etc by one I.
>> Xenakis.
>> Katharine
>> On Thursday, June 3, 2004, at 09:18 PM, Jim Harley wrote:
>>> This book by Marc Treib (with an interesting analysis of the Varese
>>> piece by Richard Felciano) is extremely well researched and written.
>>> I can recommend it highly.
>>> Jim Harley
>>> On Thursday, June 3, 2004, at 08:00 PM, Kevin Austin wrote:
>>>> For those interested in the Philips Pavilion.
>>>>> Date: Thu, 03 Jun 2004 10:26:19 +0200
>>>>> From: Richard Felciano <>
>>>>> Subject: architectural transitions
>>>>> I am a Professor of Music & composer at UC Berkeley, and founder
>>>>> of UC's Center for New Music and Audio Technologies. Architecture
>>>>> has been a very strong auxiliary interest (not really a secondary
>>>>> one) in my life and, with my architect colleague, Marc Treib, I
>>>>> team-taught in UCB's School of Architecture for several years.
>>>>> The result of that collaboration was writing of the musical
>>>>> portions of a large tome dealing with what is perhaps the first
>>>>> collaborative attempt between an architect and composer: the 1958
>>>>> Philips Pavilion in Brussels. The book is titled Space Calculated
>>>>> in Seconds: The Philips Pavilion, Le Corbusier, Varèse, published
>>>>> by the Princeton University Press.
>>>>> Le Corbusier's name for the pavilion, for which he designed
>>>>> projections on purposely curved walls (before pre-stressed
>>>>> concrete!) was Le Poème Eléctronique, which remained as the name
>>>>> of Varèse' electronic score (which played over 40 carefully
>>>>> located speakers in the building's curved walls). It is the first
>>>>> major work of electronic music and remains a masterpiece today.
>>>>> ...
>>>>> Richard Felciano
>>>>> Founder, Center for New Music & Audio Technologies (CNMAT)
>>>>> UC Berkeley
>>>>>> Date: Thu, 27 May 2004 19:23:33 +1000
>>>>>> From: Derek Thompson
>>>>>> Subject: Compositions / Sound Designs and entranceways
>>>>>> Sender:
>>>>>> To:,,
>>>>>> All, (with apologies for cross-postings)
>>>>>> As part of a Master's research, I'm looking for existing works -
>>>>>> either historical or recent (current?) - that explicitly explore
>>>>>> architectural space, especially transitional space (i.e. foyers /
>>>>>> stairwells / entranceways / atriums...).
>>>>>> I'm wanting to identify and document significant sound designs,
>>>>>> compositions or installations that have exploited, expressed, or
>>>>>> transformed space normally passed through with little regard for
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> acoustic or sonic properties.
>>>>>> Alongside this I am recording, documenting and analysing a number
>>>>>> of
>>>>>> public spaces with the aim to return to a select few with
>>>>>> spatially
>>>>>> diffuse sound designs that integrate (or intentionally intervene)
>>>>>> with the visual and physical architecural environment.
>>>>>> Any thoughts - or suggestions of works - welcome!
>>>>>> Please feel free to mail me off-list if you wish, and I will
>>>>>> collate
>>>>>> responses for a single posting.
>>>>>> Many thanks,
>>>>>> Derek
>>>>>> SIAL Sound Studios
>>> ***************************************************
>>> James Harley, Assistant Professor
>>> Coordinator, Music Industry Program
>>> 138, Center for the Arts
>>> Minnesota State University Moorhead
>>> 1104 7th Ave. S., Moorhead, MN 56563 (USA)
>>> tel: (218) 477-2001; fax: (218) 477-4097
>>> email:
>>> URL:
>>> ***************************************************
> ***************************************************
> James Harley, Assistant Professor
> Coordinator, Music Industry Program
> 138, Center for the Arts
> Minnesota State University Moorhead
> 1104 7th Ave. S., Moorhead, MN 56563 (USA)
> tel: (218) 477-2001; fax: (218) 477-4097
> email:
> URL:
> ***************************************************

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