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Rest in Peace Pierre Henry: French Experimental / Classical Composer, Musique Concrète Pioneer, & "Grandfather of Techno"

Posted by Billyjam, July 6, 2017 12:35pm | Post a Comment

Renowned, universally revered French experimental, avant garde, classical composer, pioneer of musique concrète, and "grandfather of techno" Pierre Henry  has died at 89 years of age, it has been reported by various French media outlets including the Agence France-Presse (AFP).  A prolific composer who’s scored films, ballets and other pieces in a variety of styles, Henry is most known for his pioneering role in the development of musique concrète and perhaps most commonly known for his 1960's three minute piece "Psyche Rock" that was utilized in the 1969 film Z, remixed by Fatboy Slim in 2004, and the inspiration for the theme music for Futurama.  In today's AFP's report on the passing of the artist, who would have turned 90 later this year, the French news agency quoted fellow French music composer and friend-of-Amoeba Jean-Michel Jarre in saying that Henry Pierre, whom he considered an influence, was an "innovator" and "poet" with his legacy being bringing, "a fusion between experimentation and poetry."  In recognition of the late artist's "enormous and impressive body of work" Jarre told the AFP that he hopes, "France grants him the homage that he deserves."

Filed under such categories as classical and classical/experimentation you will find such recordings of Henry's as his as album Pierre Henry: Variations Pour Une Porte Et Un Soupir / Voile D'Orphée, the 1968 composition Variations For A Door And A Sigh, and the eight part musical piece Dracula.  The score for the 1950 French television documentary, Jean-Claude Sée’s Voir l'invisible produced by Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française, was the artist's first commissioned piece, as noted by the Amoeba bio that detailed the following: Pierre Henry was born December 9th, 1927 in Paris, France. As a child he was of feeble health and therefore received his schooling at home. In his youth, he developed a particular affinity for the music of Richard Wagner. In 1937, he enrolled in the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris where he studied piano and percussion under Félix Passerone, composition with Nadia Boulanger and harmony with Olivier Messiaen.  The Amoeba bio further details how Henry was approached by (future collaborator) Pierre Schaeffer, part of the RTF’s Club D'essai, and how the two formed the Groupe de Recherche sur les Musiques Concrètes (GRMC) as a vehicle for what the electroacoustice music they termed “musique concrète” and how in 1967, Henry would collaborate with Michel Colombier to create the "decidedly psychedelic work with pronounced electronic elements" Les Jerks Electroniques and release Les Yper-Sound. For a full in-depth look at Henry's life read the full Amoeba bio here. Meanwhile below check out an overview of the artist's music: both solo and collaborative works with Pierre Schaeffer.


Pierre Henry "Psyché Rock" (1967)


Pierre Schaeffer & Pierre Henry: Orphée 53 (1953)


Pierre Henry "Fragments pour Artaud" (1970)


Pierre Schaeffer & Pierre Henry "Symphonie Pour Un Homme Seul" (1949–1950)


Pierre Henry "Messe Pour Le Temps Present" 1967

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