L’œuvre électronique

Luc Ferrari

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10-CD Boxset! Interview with Brunhild Meyer, biographical timeline, program notes, photos…

  • La Muse en circuit

10 × CD (INA_G 6017/26)

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This item is not available through our website. We have catalogued it for information purposes only. You might find more details about this item on the Ina-GRM (Groupe de recherches musicales) website.

Disc 1

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Disc 4

Disc 5

Disc 6

Disc 7

Disc 8

Disc 9

Disc 10

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An Open Door into Luc Ferrari’s Electroacoustic Music

As a complement of the too short biography and his more intimate portrait, in the 2006 interview with Luc Ferrari’s wife, Brunhild Meyer, we felt it was important to explain more clearly the relationship Luc had with concrete sounds and electroacoustic composition techniques.

When he composed in the studio, Luc Ferrari simply put into practice the “do and hear” theory inherited from Pierre Schaeffer, back in the day when they had worked together at the GRM at the end of the fifties: record sounds, listen to the recording, change it by editing and some simple experiments, listen again, change, listen again, mix, and so on. Any new production started with several sound recordings, usually done outdoors with a tape recorder and a mike. He was not directive, when, for example, he passed on his knowledge during a training session or workshops. After a short technical introduction, he encouraged a collective effort around an initial general idea like, for example, Eros and Thanatos… and let the musical ideas come to light. During his sound reports, he tried to be the most receptive possible to the events he encountered, even directing himself by asking some passers-by questions. He was stimulated by all the sound sources he could find: Nature’s sounds, voices, classical instruments, and synthetic sounds. Then, while listening to the rushes in the studio and at all the other stages of composition, from editing to the final mix, he fine-tuned his understanding of the sound material in order to extract its “essence”.

He used to check out morphologies, spatial relationships and natural theatrical games between sound sources and arranged them like stories. The sounds were seen as characters with adventures. He was interested in the sound treatments inasmuch as they were able to reinforce the first impressions while listening or as a specific formal objective: to create a contrast or even a touch of humour with another sound or sequence, reinforce a movement, give extra depth to a fly-on-the-wall scene. He often worked with allegories: women laughing or speaking represented the eternal feminine, sheep baaing symbolised Nature that he loved so much or even the attitude of Panurgian sheep that men sometimes took. According to him, every technique was valid to reach this freedom of expression, so typical of his character, notwithstanding as wide a range of sounds possible. To do that, he integrated the different successive technical advances, from the VCR to the synthesizer to the computer.

Finally, all these accounts converge to remind us of his wonderful ability to mix sounds. He knew how to keep a sound sequence alive while losing the anecdotal side to it. He was able to bring us to the edge between the concrete and the abstract, between sounds with recognizable sources and sounds thereto unheard of, thereby giving us extra depth to those events.

It was in this form of art, which went hand in hand with the trends in vogue among artists in the sixties, situated somewhere between American Pop Art and French New Narrative Figuration, that Luc Ferrari constantly called for and perfected his electroacoustic repertoire; his piece Hétérozygote (1963-64), is considered a prototype of “anecdotal” musical works. However, he returned regularly to the most classical writing because he never followed any one style or method exclusively; the chronology of his repertoire is there to prove it.

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