Pierre Henry, The Art of Sounds

The man who created "Psyché Rock"

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Pierre Schaeffer

Program notes

An elusive figure, the inventor of concrete music invites us to his home and describes his art.

An elusive figure, full of ideas that have provoked scandals, Pierre Henry, born in 1927 in Paris, nevertheless followed a conventional career path. He attended the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris, studied with Olivier Messiaen and Nadia Boulanger and trained as an orchestral musician (percussionist and pianist). But since his childhood he always felt the need to assemble and create sounds.

His meeting with Pierre Schaeffer was to be decisive: together they invented concrete music of which La Symphonie pour un homme seul (1954) was the founding stone. Maurice Béjart, who was the second decisive encounter for him as a musician, transformed it into a ballet which was to be followed by fifteen others, among which Messe pour le Temps Présent was a huge success around the world. In this documentary, built chronologically and using rare archive footage, Pierre Henry talks about his different discoveries, ranging from his music to the way it should be performed.

Never short of ideas he has, for example, initiated concerts that take place in the different rooms of a house. Today, Pierre Henry's audience includes all generations, from his own to young people for whom he is the king of DJs. In the same way as French rock singer Johnny Hallyday, who is also fascinated by his music.

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