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20th C. avant-garde films
July 2, 2006 2:56 AM   Subscribe

A video broadcast of György Ligeti's Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes (AVI, French), with helpful background on the controversial piece located here. For those who know French, you may also be interested in 1993's György Ligeti: Portrait, A Documentary by Michel Follin, showing Ligeti as "the displaced cosmopolitan", through the metaphor of train ride through the European countryside. These and many other avant-garde films can be found at Ubuweb, including features with William Burroughs, a recent "performance" of Cage's 4'33", and Varése and Le Corbusier's 1958 World Fair collaboration Poême électronique, a 400-speaker soundspace installation predating later, more experimental feedback pieces.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (14 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't really understand things like this. The geeky side of me says it'd be neat if the metronomes were tuned to each other, then it'd be cool to see how they eventually start to beat in lock step. Poême électronique is a lot more interesting to me. I guess not all art is made for my enjoyment.
posted by substrate at 4:43 AM on July 2, 2006


The geeky side of me says it'd be neat if the metronomes were tuned to each other, then it'd be cool to see how they the eventually start to beat in lock step.

the magic of Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes (for me, at least) is that patterns do emerge, sometimes a few metronomes, or lots of metronomes, do beat in step. hearing those patterns decay, or morph into other rhythms, is eary fascinating.

(still waiting for the videos to work right/download. and I can't understand French =.( but thanks! great post.)
posted by carsonb at 8:09 AM on July 2, 2006


Thanks for the Ligeti tribute and the great ubuweb link. Ligeti's music can be both really complex and really enjoyable as music, substrate, and is worth exploring. Miller Theater here in New York featured some of his pieces last year. I went and had my brain tuned.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 8:13 AM on July 2, 2006


the magic of Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes (for me, at least) is that patterns do emerge, sometimes a few metronomes, or lots of metronomes, do beat in step. hearing those patterns decay, or morph into other rhythms, is eary fascinating.

But I'm betting they were not effecting one another's timing. Therefore, it's just a bunch of random periodic clicks going in and out of phase with one another, which is particularly interesting. Bah Humbug.
posted by phrontist at 10:03 AM on July 2, 2006


*affecting
posted by phrontist at 10:10 AM on July 2, 2006


*not particularly interesting
posted by phrontist at 10:10 AM on July 2, 2006


fluxus.
posted by carsonb at 11:02 AM on July 2, 2006


The metronome film was very interesting, thank you for finding and posting this Blazecock.

Production values - the blurry, phased-out speakerine was a little over the top, we got the point from the metronomes, thanks.
posted by seawallrunner at 12:13 PM on July 2, 2006


I have a poeme symphonique mp3 that I really love. Thank you for this post!
posted by hermitosis at 3:58 PM on July 2, 2006


If you folks are interested in a really innovative musical piece, I have been recording the sound my air conditioner makes. I'm hoping to release a twelve hour 'long cut' edition in the near future, and provide live performances. My government grant is on the way!
posted by Sukiari at 4:20 PM on July 2, 2006


Thanks for this Blazecock: it was cool to see the metronomes in action, although, even as an admirer of the Poème Symphonique, I’d be hard-pressed to make a case for it as compelling TV. I wonder how come this performance is so much shorter than the one on the Ligeti Mechanical Music CD? Were there edits, or do they not make metronomes like they used to?
posted by misteraitch at 1:06 AM on July 3, 2006


misteraitch: I found a performance 'score' here tha says
The performance may be considered ideal, if
a) in the first version all the metronomes
b) in the second version the first metronome of each group
is(are) completely wound.

The ideal manner of performance is the obligatory one. Non-ideal performances are only permitted if weighty reasons are present which force the occurrence of a deviation from the ideal performance, such as the playing of a shortened version of the work. In this unwelcome case the conductor must set, with the performers, the number of turns for (1) all the metronomes or (2) the first of each group, according to whether the first or second version is being played. The winding-up and the regulation of the oscillation speeds (the setting of the metronome number) must be done ceremoniously and formally.
so maybe they're not completely wound.
posted by carsonb at 7:02 AM on July 3, 2006


If you folks are interested in a really innovative musical piece, I have been recording the sound my air conditioner makes. I'm hoping to release a twelve hour 'long cut' edition in the near future, and provide live performances. My government grant is on the way!

If the KVR forums weren't down, I would link to an audio plug-in that claims to be an air conditioner noise simulator. I can't find it again on Google though.

Instead I'll settle for self-linking to the refrigerator-themed album I did for NaSoAlMo 2005, where every track was built on samples of refrigerator noise. Honestly, that soft noisy hum was inspiring :)
posted by Foosnark at 12:52 PM on July 3, 2006


Aha.

vst.p0k.net First one on the page.
posted by Foosnark at 1:03 PM on July 3, 2006


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