Thursday, April 19, 2012

nostalgia for the future pt 589

ooh lord, just stumbled on my #2 wish-i'd-been-there-to-see-hear-that, after Philips Pavilion/Poème électronique in Brussels 1958....

don't know why i never made this mental connection before but Messe De Liverpool by Pierre Henry, that wouldn't have anything to do with that amazing modernist church that was built in post-War Liverpool, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King? Which brutalist sacred space I, previously unaware of its existence, was thrilled to enter a few years ago when up in Liverpool (to do that hardcore continuum event at the FACT artspace).






sure enough:

26 May 1967 Messe de Liverpool for tape by Pierre Henry (39) is performed for the first time, without the Credo, at the inaugural ceremonies for the Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool.

[via http://musicandhistory.com/music-and-history-by-the-year/230-1967.html ]

Messe de Liverpool

A time warp and arriving in 1967 brings us to Liverpool, with its monstrous concrete cathedral. Henry had been asked to compose music for the inaugurational mass. Henry by that time already wore the aura of being a composer with a deep affection for public performances of a mass-like character. Messe de Liverpool is structured as a classical Catholic mass. Starting with a Kyrie, moving on with Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and finishing with Communion. The work consists of recitation of the traditional texts in a way that is definitely Buddhist. These voices are supported by traditional musical instruments that are traditionally played at first but after some ten minutes they are played in a typically Henry-esque fashion: plucking and scratching the snares."

[from http://media.hyperreal.org/zines/est/intervs/henry.html]

listening to it again for the first time in a long while, i do wonder how it went down with the Catholic punters of Liverpool.... As "cup of cold sick" like as the building itself, possibly, which I imagine had a fair few detractors when it was erected.

personally i find it absolutely gooooooooooooooooorgeous













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