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date: 06 May 2021

Henry, Pierrelocked

  • Francis Dhomont

Extract

(b Paris, 9 Dec 1927; d Paris, 5 July 2017). French composer. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire (1938–48) with Nadia Boulanger (piano), Félix Passerone (percussion), and Messiaen, among others. From the age of 15 he experimented with sounds made with diverse objects – he described these investigations as ‘true concerts of noises’ – and was fascinated by the possibilities of integrating noise into music. In 1949 he joined the RTF musique concrète studio, which had been founded by Schaeffer in 1943. The first formally educated musician to involve himself deeply with electronic techniques, he was to devote all of his energy to the medium. He headed the Groupe de Recherche de Musique Concrète from 1950 to 1958.

Henry’s collaboration with Schaeffer resulted in the composition of the Symphonie pour un homme seul (1950). With this 12-movement work, a symphony in the etymological sense of ‘sounding together’, they aimed to create a composition using only the sounds of the human body. Henry went on to compose some of the first major works of ...

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Revue musicale