Sound and Light

Robyn Fadden, Hour, 29 janvier 2009

Cinémathèque québécoise and France’s National Audiovisual Institute present 20th-century avant-garde music through film.

Montréal’s Cinémathèque québécoise has paired up once again with France’s National Audiovisual Institute (Ina) for a film series that focuses on sound and music. This fifth collaboration turns its focus to documentary and short films about the lives and art of contemporary, cutting-edge musicians and composers of the 20th century.

As part of its mission to collect, conserve, document and interpret film history, the Cinémathèque will screen the films every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 7pm during February, sharing 70 years of a vast collection of archived sound and film portraying the composers and musicians as well as some of their live performances.

The program focuses primarily on composers of concrete and electroacoustic music, joining their music with visual documentation. Starting in the 1950s with the inventor of musique concrète, Pierre Schaeffer, the documentaries and short films in the series look at how a number of big names in this genre of music used technology and innovative methods of sound production as an integral part of their work during the 20th century.

The films portray artists such as Edgard Varèse, John Cage, Michel Chion, Hermann Scherchen, Pierre Henry, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Olivier Messiaen, Iannis Xenakis, Mauricio Kagel and Cecil Taylor, and their ingenious combination of art with science and technology.

… how a number of big names in this genre of music used technology and innovative methods of sound production as an integral part of their work during the 20th century.

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