New expanded edition of an essential text of 1979 for defining Pierre Henry's thought: a musical biography in the sense of a diary and an autobiography in forty-two sequences that accompanied him in various forms between 1977 and 2005.
In the first person singular or plural, at one and the same time a manifesto, a historical record, notes to himself, a stock-taking, points of view or a declaration of love for his nearest and dearest, Journal de mes sons (Diary of my sounds) took shape at the pinnacle of a life lit up by the desire to create.
The version published here is the integral original text. In addition to the text, a sound file is included with the book, the eponymous work Journal de mes sons in the French version, in which part of the text is read out by Florence Delay in 1983 under the direction of the composer, and set to music. In order to identify the passages that do not figure on the recording, we have adopted a colour code: the sequences from the text that are read out are printed in blue, and those that are not are in black.
The musical materials are extracts or parts of finished works; cut, combined, re-composed or mixed together. The layout of the text, completed by a listening guide in the margin, follows the organisation of the music. In the appendices are the lists in order of appearance of all the works quoted and heard, which could provide material for further listening.
In addition to these hitherto unpublished materials, the edition contains the first translation into English by Christine North & John Dack.
Audio download link included.
Instructions for downloading the audio file:
1. Create an account on the publisher's website: www.maison-ona.com
2. Log in and go to your "Account"
3. Scroll to "My downloads" and click on "I have an activation code"
4. Enter you code (printed inside the book on the blue page) and confirm
5. A sound file is now available for download in "My downloads"
French composer Pierre Henry (1927-2017) is considered as one of the fathers of electroacoustic music. He studied music from his earliest years and was a pupil at the Paris Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique from 1937 to 1947, notably under Olivier Messiaen, Félix Passerone and Nadia Boulanger.
His meeting with Pierre Schaeffer
in 1948 was a point of no return in the pursuit of unexplored territories of sound. After a time as head of the RTF Groupe de Recherches de Musique Concrète (Concrete Music Research Group) (GRMC) between 1950 and 1958, he left this post in order to set up the first private studio in Europe specialising in experimental music, Apsome, which was active from 1959 to 1981. This period would be rich in influential contacts with choreographers, artists, theatre and film directors.
In 1982, and for the first time supported by the Ministry of Culture, he founded the Son/Ré association. The Maison de sons
(House of Sounds
) was a living space of much creative activity at 32 rue de Toul in Paris 12, it also housed his concrete paintings and was a venue for public events.
With more than 300 opuses and 250 pieces for ballet, film, theatre, radio, advertising, etc., composed over a period of 72 years of creativity, his catalog is to this day the most extensive in this domain. In concerts, he was the performer of his works. The listening experience, which he constantly reinvented, was then amplified through his sound projection equipment — the orchestra of loud-speakers. Most of his works were released during his career on the Philips and Decca/Universal labels.
He was a major figure in musical composition, a pioneer of the sound arts, who left an indelible mark on his century. His sonothèque and his 14.000 or so magnetic and digital tapes, together with his compositional diaries, are now in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, where his archives are being catalogued in partnership with Son/Ré. There is a permanent space for him in the Musée de la Musique de la Philharmonie de Paris. With his combination of artistic radicality and popular appeal, he leaves us a body of work ahead of his time, which continues to inspire present generations.