The Black Museum

Randall Smith

  • Year of composition: 1993
  • Duration: 15:05
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: ACREQ, with support from the CCA
  • ISWC: T0705074505


ISRC CAD509410850

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

The Black Museum is a collection of experimential artifacts or sound objects; my musical sensibility, compositional techniques, and the impressions collected; and things learned from other composers’ works which have been so fundamental to my own development. As curator of this ‘museum’ I have collected all of the ideas and experiences that mean the most to me, transforming the past into my present. This piece emphasizes a strong dynamic structure which brings together the use of such elements as the ephemeral, the fleeting, the use of rushes and sudden outbursts — a fantasy of unexpected encounters where sound illuminates the eye through the ear. The piece is composed of nine movements.

The Black Museum was realized at the composer’s studio in 1993. It was commissioned with support from the Canada Council [for the Arts] (CCA) by the Association pour la recherche et la création électroacoustiques du Québec (ACREQ) for its Clair de terre concert series. It premiered on April 27, 1993 at the Planétarium de Montréal. This piece is dedicated to the history of the Groupe de recherches musicales (GRM) and the composers and friends of Montréal. The Black Museum was finalist at the 21st International Bourges Electroacoustic Music Competition (France, 1993); it received the 1st prize at the 15th Luigi Russollo International Competition (Varese, Italy, 1993); and the Groupe de musique expérimentale de Marseille (GMEM) Prize (France, 1993). Special thanks to composer Robert Normandeau for a door sound excerpted from his Rumeurs (Place de Ransbeck) released on an empreintes DIGITALes compact disc [IMED 9002; IMED 9802].


  • April 27, 1993, Clair de terre IV: Concert 4 — L’œil écoute, Planétarium de Montréal, Montréal (Québec)