This recording documents a sound-performance curated by Franck Ancel in homage to Varese’s « Poeme Electronique ». This musical milestone was commissioned for the Philips Pavilion created by Le Corbusier and Xenakis on the occasion of Expo’58, the Brussels World’s Fair that was held from 17 April to 19 October 1958. Le Corbusier envisioned an “art total’’ utopia involving space, music and images all at once. As soon as he was hired by the dutch company, he announced his intent to create an « electronic poem » in a bottle. That bottle would be the Pavilion. While Xenakis’ piece Concrèt PH could be heard at the entrance and the exit of the Pavilion, Varese’s composition, based on a complex spatialization scheme, was displaid through hundreds of speakers, prefiguring the concept of acousmonium. Xenakis and Le Corbusier collaborated again on Tourette’s Convent, a dominican community located in the suburbs of Lyon. Both Philips’ Pavilion and Tourette’s Convent opened universal and meditative gates, linking musical composition and architecture with a scientific precision. From Varese’s audiovisual journey through space and time to Xenakis architecture of sound builded in wave-like glass, those avant-gardist creations were among the first attempts to interlink artistic disciplines within a building specifically designed by Le Corbusier for this purpose. Sound as architecture, sound as environment, sound as timeless meditation.
At Franck Ancel’s invitation, Vincent Epplay restored the acoustic properties of this one-of-a-kind church. The featured recording is the edit of a 24-hours live session inside the big nave of its chapel. The sound is determined and guided by the whole shape of the building, especially the pieces of undulatory glass that were builded under the directive of Xenakis’ architectural score. Epplay’s musical equipment (mixing desk, EMS synthi AKS suitcase synthetizer, effects and electronic filters) was settled in the center of the nave and « tuned » in order to reveal the specific resonance of this geometrical building made out of glass and concrete.