interview with Jean-Claude Eloy
Presented and commented by Avaera and Makiko
translation revised by Meredith Escudier
The three controversial works are the following publications, all
in the French language:
Célestin Deliège : "Cinquante
ans de modernité musicale : de Darmstadt à lIrcam"
("Fifty years of musical modernity : from Darmstadt to Ircam")
- Contribution historiographique à une musicologie critique
(Historiographical contribution to a critical musicology). 1024
pages. Editions Mardaga, Belgium, 2003.
Marie-Claire Mussat : "Trajectoires
de la musique au XXe siècle" ("Trajectories
of music in the 20th century"). 208 pages. Editions Klincksieck,
Jean-Noël von der Weid : "La musique du XXe siècle"
("Music from the 20th century"). 442 pages. Editions Hachette
Litteratures, Paris, 2nd revised and corrected publishing, 1997.
: Last year, after the release of Célestin Deliège's
voluminous work "Fifty years of musical modernity : from
Darmstadt to Ircam" (1), I was intrigued by the contents
of one of the paragraphs, beautifully entitled "Jean-Claude
Eloy : the dream of a cultural expansion of poetics". This
theme was seemingly positive in appearance. To have a frame of reference,
I consulted two other works, more modest in length, nevertheless
substantial and rather recent : one by Marie-Claire Mussat, "Trajectories
of music in the 20th century" (2); another one by Jean-Noël
von der Weid, "Music of the 20th century" (3).
the first readings, I was surprised by the complete difference expressed
(about Eloy) through the work of these three musicologists: differences
in points of view, information, references, and sources.
the persistency of these contradictions, it seemed of utmost importance
to clarify a number of facts. To that end, I put together a summary
of the various comments, before questioning the composer directly.
: According to Célestin Deliège (p. 301 - 302), Eloy
is strongly connected with the school of his master teacher, Boulez
(serialism, post-serialism), along with other French composers from
the same generation (Amy, Mefano).
Marie-Claire Mussat, on the contrary (p. 133 - 135), Eloy's driving
force is clearly situated under the theme "Orient-Occident":
multiculturalism, influences of non-western music (together with
Takemitsu, Isang Yun, La Monte Young and certain works by Stockhausen).
for Jean-Noël von der Weid (p. 238 and 257), Eloy is placed
within the chapter of "experimental music" (on the side
of Cage, Carter, Crumb, Feldman, the minimalists, as well as Bussotti
the electro-acoustic practices (intensely used by Eloy from the
70s onward) do not appear to be highlighted by these three
authors, whose points of view are totally different.
: Jean-Claude Eloy, who is right? How should we place the works
that you have produced?
Eloy : All three are right, but only partially. These three orientations
are rather like "root-sources". But are these labels essential?
The difficulty of classification we notice here reveals the real
intertwining and multiplicity which reign in the various categories
of so-called "contemporary" music a term which
I would like to replace because everything taking place around us
today is in fact "contemporary", and part of our lives
- even our interpretation of the past.
to the situation which prevailed in the 50s and 60s,
there is no longer a dominant "school" today, or more
exactly a "theoretical vector of thought", amply shared
by an international community. Therefore, one sees the belief in
a unidirectional sense of history fading away. No longer is there
a true "musical reference theory", common to all, within
the framework of modern music. This observation illustrates the
magnitude of current difficulties because it is the first time that
such a situation has existed in the history of learned music from
western origins. I wonder, and would be tempted to say today that
contrary to received ideas, serialism (which aspired in its beginnings
to be "the" new common reference theory) dimmed, not because
of its exaggerated excess of theory, but perhaps on the contrary
because of its restrictive limitations. The difficulties for theorizing
beyond certain limits arose partially from the complexity of new
materials, engendered by the striking development of new technologies.
Today, a great part of electronic music has grabbed the massive
industrial ground; placing the policies of old-style "research
centres" in an awkward position. These difficulties have also
arisen from the encounter with other theories and non-western musical
practices, which belonged, as recently as fifty years ago, to the
realm of "ethnomusicology", but among which some (let
us take only the example of classical music from India) have become
popular world-wide, continually increasing their audiences for half
of a century.
: These two grounds (electro-acoustic music and music from non-western
origins) are a part of both domains in which you have been strongly
committed since the 70s, without ever turning your back on
your past as a classical musician, trained at the Conservatory of
Paris, and as a "post-serial" composer, trained in Darmstadt
and Basel, with Boulez and Stockhausen.
: Contrary to some superficial comments, I have never repudiated
anything I have done. To take a series of successive metamorphoses
and to define these as a succession of breaks is an analysis without
any foundation and which is used by some to systematically mask
the problem of politics, of society, and the working
means composers can or cannot access in our continually transforming
: In Célestin Deliège's lengthy work, I found some
surprising things in the text about Eloy.
author begins with a very positive tone about Eloys work at
the beginning of his career, that is, some works from the 60s,
conducted several times by Boulez and other great conductors (Maderna,
Bour, etc. ; "Etude III", "Equivalences".).
He continues to support the cause of the composer with works from
the beginning of the 70s, such as "Faisceaux-Diffractions",
and especially "Kâmakalâ", whose success he
emphasizes warmly: "... Kâmakalâ ... will probably
remain his master work and one of the happiest from the second half
of the century" (p. 301). He even goes much further because
in a footnote, he comments: "It is surprising [...] to note
that musicological literature, mainly American, ignores this work
and even often the name of its author" (p. 302).
abruptly, he seems to break loose from the composers development:
"After this grandiose piece" (Kâmakalâ)
"Eloy was in a position to occupy a major place in European
music; he seems to have refused it". He then blames Eloy
"for getting closer to Stockhausen" (4), then refutes
a work such as Shânti that he considers "excessively
long", accusing Eloy of following "in Hymnen's
footsteps, but without Hymnens degree of coherence"
generally, he seems disappointed to see Eloy more committed to the
electro-acoustic field, and less to the field of writing. Then he
asserts: "From this time on, works by Jean-Claude Eloy have
been rare". He even adds this curious comment (which is
neither negative, nor positive, but which is debatable): "very
conscious of social reality and technical obstacles, did he not
think too much; is he not one of the vanquished by the great disillusionment
in the world as foreseen by Max Weber and painfully described by
Marcel Gauchet?". Finally, quoting an interview which Eloy
gave in 1972 to François-Bernard Mâche (let us keep
in mind that this book was finished in 2002 and published in Belgium
in 2003, or more than thirty years after the interview quoted as
a reference!), he brings up the questioning (or rebellion?) that
Eloy then seemed to raise against the domination of the "musical
note" in the West, as opposed to "sound". In fact,
Deliège seems sincere in his attempt to understand Eloy,
but hesitates to follow him, because, although he recognizes that
"...notation, in a literal sense, has strongly determined
western music", he reaffirms that "
a great part of the richness of our writing to it... ".
To conclude, Deliège recognizes that if this writing "...
favored the proliferation of signs [...] it is no less true that
it is dangerous to cast off everything that has been gradually imposed
on us for centuries: one does not embrace a culture, one grows out
of it" (p. 302).
comparing the text on Eloy written by Célestin Deliège
with both of the above-mentioned books, I was surprised to note
that the works by Eloy brought up by these various authors are in
no way the same! Marie-Claire Mussat comments on the work of the
composer starting from "Shânti", without
referring to any previous stages, and then she goes well beyond,
up to "Anâhata", "Erkos", passing by "Gaku-no-Michi",
"Yo-In", etc... Her comments begin exactly where Célestin
Delièges leave off! It is as if these two authors were
speaking about two different composers, given how divergent their
clarify these contradictions, I made a quick calculation. The works
quoted by Deliège are the first works by Eloy played in public
in the 60s, up until his beginnings in electro-acoustics in
1972-73, that is, from "Etude III" until "Shânti".
This represents about 4h.45' of music. I chose not to mention the
works from his early youth: twenty four numbers from an opus of
about 4h.15' in length.
with "Shânti", I see that the works which follow,
put end to end (from "Gaku-no-Michi" to the "Anâhata"
cycle), represent about 14h.40' of music. Some of these works are
based on original sound situations, built around various creative
soloists (solo-performers, traditional musicians from other continents):
thus, individual, independent performers - not institutional groups.
These soloists are most often integrated into a rich electro-acoustic
sound, created in numerous highly-reputed, specialized studios or
institutes: 1 - NHK, Tokyo; 2 - Sonologie, Utrecht; 3 - Sweelinck
Conservatorium, Amsterdam; 4 - INA / GRM, Paris; 5 - ART, Geneva;
6 - Technische Universität, Berlin; 7 - again the WDR of Cologne
(which gave rise to the production of "Shânti in
1972-73, and also supported the production of "Erkos"
in 1990-91 in its new Annostrasse studio). In addition to these
works, one should add the work on the "Liberations" cycle,
inaugurated in 1989 (with "Butsumyôe", "Sappho
Hikètis"), which represents 4h.20' more of music or
a total of 19 hours of music, systematically ignored by Célestin
Deliège's assertions ("... From this time on [Shânti,
1972], works by Jean-Claude Eloy have been rare ... ").
a work of musicology, this assertion is already disturbing! It is
contradicted by the facts. The question then that should be asked
is: "Were these works (subsequent to "Shânti")
so confidential that an established and influential musicologist
such as Célestin Deliège was not informed about them?".
The answer to this question is even more disturbing because by studying
the catalog of the performances of these works, I noticed that they
have been clearly presented, played and replayed (by Eloy, and his
various performers) in festivals and venues most renowned for their
modernity, the defender of which Célestin Deliège,
proclaims himself to be! These works were in fact performed more
often than the prior works to which Deliège exclusively refers.
And their public performances took place on an international scale,
mostly for monographic concerts occupying complete evenings. From
the "Autumn festival in Paris" (five times, always for
monographic concerts) to the day-marathon of the "Music Today"
festival in Tokyo. From the Donaueschingen festival ("Donaueschinger
Musiktage", with two complete concerts around "Anâhata"
in 1990) to the Berlin "Inventionen" festival (twice),
or the series "Musik der Zeit" in Cologne (twice). From
the "Autumn in Warsaw" festival (for four complete concerts
with the Polish-Radio) to the "Festival of Holland" in
Amsterdam. From the National Theater of Japan in Tokyo to the "Presence"
festival of Radio-France in Paris. As well as other festivals: "Almeida"
in London; "Sigma" in Bordeaux (three times); "Biennal
of contemporary music" in Zagreb; "38th Rugissants"
in Grenoble (twice); the "Pan-Music" festival of Tokyo;
"Musica", Strasbourg (twice); the festival of Wallonie;
Goethe-Instituts of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil (with
the Museu de Arte and the Cecilia Meireles concert-hall); the Museum
of Contemporary Art of Chicago; the SMCQ in Montreal; "New
Music Concerts" in Toronto, and other places in Indonesia,
Hong-Kong, Kyoto, Berkeley, Yale, Austin, New York, etc....
incoherence cannot simply be the fruit of ignorance. Consequently,
how must one interpret these considerable gaps?
: Ill go back to the question: to what do you attribute
: Deliège might as well have written a book entitled "Pierre
Boulez; his life, his work, his institution, his circle of acquaintances".
His project would have gained in clarity. Instead, he tries to implicate
quantities of names which have nothing directly to do with the subject
of this book. But he does so without any respect for their individualities.
What do American minimalists have to do with a work entitled "From
Darmstadt to Ircam"? What is Takemitsu doing under such a banner,
he who never had anything to do with either Darmstadt or Ircam in
his lifetime? - Takemitsu was a friend of Xenakis, and also a personal
friend of mine, which authorizes me to vouch for him. He was in
fact very critical of the French policy of institutional centralization.
In Deliège's book, everything is presented and considered
in connection with a centre of the world that extends from
Darmstadt to Ircam, by way of Pierre Boulez. At no time did it occur
to him that this "centre of the musical galaxy" could
(just like our real galaxy) reveal the presence of a powerful "black
hole" (what the astrophysicists call "an attractor"),
a black hole which attracts and absorbs all the surrounding energies,
and does not let them escape again. It is moreover what happened
to an entire younger generation that rushed into the institution
by career opportunism (and anyway, did they have a choice?), never
allowing themselves the expression of any critical perspective.
: I find here the idea which you already tried to sketch in your
short text from 1965 entitled "Heritage and Vigilance"
("Inheritance and Attentiveness") which, at the time,
caught the attention of a few French journalists, such as Maurice
Fleuret. But do you think that Deliège (whose work is impressive
- you recognize it yourself) is an impartial observer? A short biography
published in the back of this book mentions that the author led
seminars for the DEA degree in Paris, ENS and IRCAM,
for almost ten years". Did Deliège contact you before
the publication of his work? Did he ask you for more recent information
about your life and your work - as most musicologists, researchers
and journalists do before publishing their texts?
: Obviously not. Such a summary speaks for itself. But I do not
wish to make a personal affair out of it. As you say, certain aspects
of this book are excellent. Boulezs thinking is very seriously
approached there. His musical uvre is very well analyzed,
in its spirit and according to the criteria which we ourselves assimilated
in the early 60s, during Boulezs composition class at
the Music Academy of Basel - at the time when he published "Thinking
music today". I always considered this period of my youth as
indisputable. It never seemed necessary to question it, except to
feel the need to surpass it so as not to lock myself into it. Now,
Célestin Deliège's problem is that he has double-locked
himself there for half a century.
: As Deliège would have it, your musical work apparently
stopped in 1977 as he makes no further reference to your work after
"Fluctuante-Immuable (Orchestre de Paris, 1977). By chance,
I notice that this is exactly the year of your public and inevitable
confrontation with what was then the "new institutional circle
of acquaintances" of your former teacher, Boulez (the beginnings
of Ircam-EIC). Coincidence? Furthermore, I notice that the "French
social model" (we could expand that to the model of all "Francophony")
has thus far offered you no venue for a response to these publications,
no access to an alternative channel of information. Absolutely nothing.
: The system has been more and more muzzled and silenced. For example,
for thirty years of my life (and more widely during the 70s
and 80s), I was frequently invited to radio programs on Radio-France:
France-Culture notably, or I even produced or co-produced broadcasts.
When there were burning issues, the journalists came to us. All
of this has been progressively censored, eliminated, and blocked
from 1992 on, and increasingly so from the late 90s and early
2000's. These strategies have been deliberate and come from the
ideological and political manipulation permanently organized around
the musical Institution, with a capital "I". Music has
become the least free of all the arts.
what strikes me here, and will be the summary of this first comment,
is seeing how certain authors self-appropriate the mission to inform
others, to be the influential thinkers, to enlighten a profession,
all the while refusing the most elementary duty of inquiring on
: Did you personally know Deliège?
: Of course. I met him rather often during the period of my youth
when I was present, as a direct pupil of Boulez, at emblematic places
of the time ("Domaine Musical" in Paris, "Reconnaissances
des musiques modernes" in Brussels, Darmstadt's summer courses,
: You have just brought up the idea that serialism was not that
complex from a theoretical point of view though its
always been blamed for being too complex. This is a paradox, isnt
: Seemingly, yes. But beware. For that matter, Deliège himself
makes that same argument over and over again, and very rightly so.
The application of serial principles has sometimes been very
complex and hyper-virtuoso on behalf of certain important and inescapable
composers. But the theoretical foundation has often remained
rather simple. Very often, composers found themselves compensating
for this lack by inventing supplementary or different rules. We
have to keep in mind the quantity of new cultural, social and technological
factors that have come into play more and more quickly and influenced
the development of music during all the second half of the 20th
century. Such a novelty of sound and cultural phenomena could not
be legislated by a theory stemming, for the most part, from
an "overcoming-sublimation" of the most sophisticated
past of western learned music. Hence, the remarkable opening
up of Stockhausens development, criticized for years by
the most dogmatic voices from the "avant-garde" academy.
: In the text which is kindly devoted to you by Célestin
Deliège, I have noticed the conclusive sentence; "One
does not embrace a culture, one grows out of it". What is your
: As far as Im concerned, to proclaim this kind of thing,
in such a sententious way, is a prime example of an assertion that
is too short and incomplete, bordering on blindness. It is a very
conservative conception of culture. In a time of extensive and accelerated
communication such as ours, wanting to limit the mechanisms of "cultural
legacy" to the strict inheritance passed on by the historic
moment of birth, and the geographic place of this birth,
is too restrictive.
are living in a time that is shattering two taboos.
The first taboo is that cultural inheritance must be limited only
to an "historical place"; the immediate, one-sided,
unidirectional historical moment. Unlike this logic, our time, more
than any other, confronts our eyes and ears with a greater and greater
wealth stemming from all the times in history. It makes of
us the live witnesses of humanitys past (just as for
current events, simultaneously) - notably by the development of
a museographical and videographical interactivity that is more and
The second taboo is that cultural inheritance should be limited
only to the geographic place of birth; exclusive, harmonious,
well-balanced and surrounded by borders. Naturally, during all of
my youth, I studied western writing: harmony, counterpoint, fugue.
I played all of the composers on the piano: classical, romantic,
modern. I absorbed all of these foods, with passion! But very early
in my youth, I also liked, and just as much, all of
the types of music in the world. I discovered music from Bali by
going to a spectacle at the Chaillot Theatre with my parents at
about the age of 14. In Paris, I frequented the Centre dEtudes
des Musiques Orientales (Centre of Studies for Oriental Music)
towards the age of 19. Quantities of records from all of the classical
musical forms in the world accumulated around me and accompanied
me all through my student life. They became integral parts
of my cultural food, in the same way as the classical, romantic,
polytonal, dodecaphonic, polymodal, or serial music of the West.
our friend Célestin Deliège is exclusively "grown"
from a culture which extends from Bach to Boulez, I have no objection
to that. I claim it just as much as he does! But he should understand,
as a man of culture, that this exclusivism is no longer compulsory
nowadays, that other modes "of cultural begettings" are
possible. And that art, that culture have this potentiality of power
to stimulate intertwining, variable, transversal, multiple, renewed
paternities, and sometimes even "a-historical" - in the
sense of a pluri-dimensional movement of history, and not
just the unidirectional movement he refers to that underpins
his point of view.
begetting" through multi-culture, geographically and historically,
is an inescapable fact of modern life. Certain models and archetypes
expressed in philosophical, political and artistic realms can be
found here. The utopian ideology of a revolutionary unidirectional
progress from an exclusively European source (an idea that I once
shared with many others), is today confronted by factors of historical
complexity that are vaster and more subtle than ever before. "Globalization"
also exists in culture. And the ascendancy of learned music from
the West - European (this irritating superiority complex) will some
day be questioned, by necessity.
remember a conversation, years ago with the ethnomusicologist Mireille
Helffer. She explained to me that to broaden the education of children,
she made them listen every day, from their earliest years, to music
from the whole world. She said to me: "For them, these different
sources of music became as natural as the music that can be heard
every day on the radio".
notice, for that matter, that this persistent prejudice (that one
must be "born" into a culture to be able to live it and
understand it - which is a downright racist prejudice) is expressed
essentially within European circles of music, more precisely
within European circles of learned music because when
it comes to popular forms of music, the most creative jazz or numerous
other fields using digital arts, this has not been the case for
a long time!
have never heard this idea in the United States. I have rarely heard
it in Asia. Indeed, the assertion of such an idea in Asia would
immediately condemn to obsolescence the numbers of Asian musicians
who have received their education exclusively through western
music! How can Célestin Deliège account for all
these musicians and Asian students who have been converted by the
West to the religion of Western music, who stream into Paris, Berlin,
New York or San Francisco, to conservatories, universities and music
schools? Will he say to them: "You were not born into western
music, so as a consequence, you have no chance to be able to understand
it in depth. You cannot embrace our culture: you should be born
into it". This point of view is ridiculous and indefensible
in our time.
: Apart from what concerns you directly, do you have any other
comments about this book, from a more general point of view?
: My third comment goes back to the title chosen by Célestin
Deliège for his work: "Fifty years of musical modernity".
I question the existence of a single musical modernity, in the singular.
exacerbates things by these two direct institutional references:
"From Darmstadt to Ircam" (which seems to imply a relation
of continuity and flowing from one to the other). To suggest that
the spirit of Darmstadt would have continued in a permanent institution
like Ircam is a questionable and unfounded assertion.
to observe history only through the filter of pilot institutions
seems to me to send the situation of the artist back to a state
of dependence and loss of individuality (not to be confused
with individualism), which I consider a very grave infringement
on the artists freedom. That is a very academic view
and one that sees a safe social status for the artist only through
positions pompously baptized as "research functions".
lived Darmstadt, as a young student in my adolescence. I can assure
you that the spirit which reigned there had nothing to do with the
institutional and academic constraints that tend to be so imperative
today almost everywhere in the world. It was even quite the opposite.
The spirit of Darmstadt does not necessarily end up in institutions
such as Ircam. There is no automatic chain from one to another,
through the application of some designs borrowed from a formal and
hollow Marxism. The "laws of history", once again, reveal
themselves to be more rebellious and sly than the statements from
any of our learned apologists for the "single thought".
Ircam had been the continuation of Darmstadt, then Stockhausen would
have exercised an active role there - and not simply as a
passing guest. Xenakis would have actively participated in
its development, instead of being driven to publicly protest at
my side in 1981 against the hegemony of this institution
a hegemony programmed far in advance by its founder. And Bério
would not have left the institution so quickly to go and found his
own working centre in Florence ; etc.
: But Stockhausen refused to be part of it.
: I know. He later confirmed this to me. But if the structure had
been conceived otherwise, and in a more openly artistic way,
he would have probably participated more effectively. At the beginning
of the 60s, in Darmstadt, and during my studies in Basel,
I witnessed numerous internal struggles, often very fierce. Sometimes,
Boulez was accused of trying to brake the movement. But in
spite of the debates and confrontations, all these people managed
to express themselves inside the same framework, with their growing
differences, but without ever cracking the framework.
: And Xenakis?
: Please, re-read his article from 1981 (5). When - from Tokyo,
in 1977 - I clashed with Boulezs entourage (Nicholas Snowman
in particular), who were playing a game of deceit and absolutely
unacceptable manipulation, and things quickly degenerated,
Xenakis called me a little while later to say that he had not been
surprised by these conflicts: "These people are deliberately
trying to destabilize you" he said to me
have never stopped doing since.
Célestin Deliège has kept totally under silence in
his book is the political aspect of the institution, with regard
to the world of modern music. He defends a cause which, from the
very beginning, was engaged by the will of a man and his circle
of acquaintances towards the goal of confiscating the future,
and the means of the future - or what could be considered
as such at the time.
: What comments do you have on the two other books which we chose
for the sake of comparison?
: Marie-Claire Mussat's more modest book has the wisdom to refer,
in its title, to "trajectories" in the plural. That implies
this inescapable multiplicity of our time. It is also true for Jean-Noël
von der Weids book, based too on the idea of a lively and
mixed pluralism. From the beginning, this creates an enormous difference
in the orientations of these three books, going beyond their weighty
differences and volumes!
I observe that the three affiliations with which I see myself honored
and which are attributed to me (one could almost say: three "paradigms")
reveal a specific "geographical" orientation of their
authors views. In the first affiliation (Deliège),
they are French references (Paris, the "Domaine Musical ",
Boulez, etc.) which form the data to which he exclusively assimilates
me. In the second affiliation (Mussat), Asian references attributed
to me ("Orient-Occident") are in the majority. In the
third affiliation (von der Weid), American references to which he
associates me (transversely, very indirectly) seem more numerous.
I lived in France. I lived in Japan and sometimes taught in Asia.
I taught and lived in the United States. It is correct.
It is at the same time partially correct and completely contradictory.
Hence, the difficulties to include you in a musical world which
is still very compartmentalized and which practices the game of
labels. Please, speak to us about the affiliation in which Marie-Claire
Mussat places you: this influence of the East on western music,
which is interesting as an idea and debate.
: It is a possible affiliation, that I myself openly claimed during
several periods, but which should be clearly put into perspective.
I advanced this "Orient-Occident" theme at a time when
nobody spoke about it in the sphere of contemporary music
activity (with the exception of Messiaen and Stockhausen, but in
directions which were very specific to each). It was in 1971, at
the SMIP festival in Paris, in a lecture entitled: "The Orient
and us: chances for a conjecture", which accompanied the creation
of my work "Kâmakalâ". I also wrote and published
different texts and studies on this subject (6). But today, this
theme seems to me a little bit reductive.
1982, while doing a series of lectures at the universities of Taipei,
I recall a very interesting comment from a young Chinese student.
This student got up and said to me: "You should abandon
this terminology, in the shape of contrasting arguments, opposing
the East and the West. Here, one does not think in such a way anymore.
We live our two cultures day by day, Western and Chinese. They overlap
to such a degree that we can no longer really draw a clear line
between them. So we live both of them, which now together just make
: To conclude, some words on Jean-Noël von der Weids
book (3). In this book, the author places you in the chapter dedicated
to experimental music. It is rather strange. Arent you amazed?
: Experimental music does not necessarily grow out of the invention
of a machine, a "technological experiment", or an exaggerated
form of behavior in a specific direction, such as random techniques.
To explore the voice of a woman solo-performer, a voice that lies
completely "outside norms " (as I did, for example, in
"Sappho Hikètis", for the voice of Fatima Miranda),
and succeed in composing something for her that is coherent, could
be considered a form of "experimental" method. To be recognized
in Japan (7) as the first composer who attempted to compose"
something original for traditional Buddhist Monks from the Tendai
and Shingon sects (a composition to be learned and sung with their
own vocal techniques), is also a form of musical experiment".
I did it in "Approaching the Meditative Flame", as in
"Anâhata". "The experimental" can also
grow out of aesthetics and is not necessarily technological.
As for electro-acoustics, I did indeed explore this direction very
thoroughly during certain times of my life. "Gaku-no-Michi"
proves it, even if the "experimental" aspect is less technical
and more aesthetic, and linked to the duration. The use of the electronic
studio was not, at this time, particularly commonplace, especially
pushed to such extremes!
I think that Jean-Noël von der Weid made a link (perhaps subconscious)
between the word "experimenting" and the word "exploring",
which is not exactly the same thing. My path belongs rather to this
second nuance. "To explore" unfamiliar lands is a little
different (although parallel in some ways) from a project that consists
of "proceeding to an experiment"; this last language relating
more to the scientific approach.
: I have here a copy of a more developed and substantial article
that Jean-Noël von der Weid wrote about you in 1996 in the
Swiss magazine "Dissonance" (8). At the beginning of this
article, he says: "The program of the eighth year of the
38e Rugissants of Grenoble features the French composer Jean-Claude
Eloy, creator of worlds of sound that are as subtle and elusive
as they are gripping and telluric. He is often misunderstood
or rather he is incompletely understood or misinterpreted, as if
his musical isolation had been organized". This takes us
back to Célestin Deliège, doesnt it?
: No comment.
: At the end of this same article, he says: "So what are
record companies waiting for to record the works of such an important
composer? One would think that the truly original and independent
creators can no longer, as Varèse once said, refuse to die;
but they are condemned to such a fate". Was this call ever
translation revised by Meredith Escudier
rights reserved world wide.
Tous droits de reproduction interdits pour le monde entier.
Avaera / Jean-Claude Eloy / "hors territoires", 2005.
Célestin Deliège : "Cinquante ans de modernité
musicale : de Darmstadt à lIrcam" ("Fifty
years of musical modernity : from Darmstadt to Ircam") - Contribution
historiographique à une musicologie critique (Historiographical
contribution to a critical musicology). 1024 pages. Editions Mardaga,
Marie-Claire Mussat : "Trajectoires de la musique au XXe
siècle" ("Trajectories of music in the 20th
century"). 208 pages. Editions Klincksieck, Paris, 2002.
von der Weid
: "La musique du XXe siècle" ("Music
of the 20th century"). 442 pages. Editions Hachette Literatures,
Paris, 2nd revised and corrected edition, 1997.
Nevertheless, in a note on "Equivalences", drafted in
1964, Eloy already awards to Stockhausen the fact of having encouraged
him - in some days of class in Basel - to release himself from certain
serial bans, notably the use of "decomposed clusters",
very widely used in the writing of "Equivalences" - a
work praised by Deliège.
"It must change ! ". In "Le Matin de Paris",
January 26, 1981.
"Music of the Orient: our familiar universe". (1968)
- Published in "La musique et la vie" ("Music and
life"), volume 2, OCORA (Office de Coopération Radiophonique
- Office of Radio Cooperation), ORTF, Paris 1969. "To finish
it with exoticism" (1982) - Published in "Temps actuels"
("Current Times"): special issue dedicated to the Autumn
festival in Paris (1982). "Lautre versant des sons"
("The other side of sounds") (1995) - Published in "Internationale
de l'imaginaire" ("International of the imagination"),
new series, number 4; "La musique et le monde" ("Music
and the world"), Babel, Maison des cultures du monde (House
of the cultures of the world), Paris 1995. "Une rencontre
nécessaire" ("A necessary encounter" (
1996 ) - Published in the program of the festival "Why Note",
Dijon 2002 ; etc.
Motegi Kiyoko - The Creation of tradition at the National Theatre
of Japan: A Descriptive Documentation. Works commissioned by the
National Theatre, Tokyo. Contemporary Japanese Music, Volume 3.
Published by JAPAN ARTS COUNCIL. Theatre Research Office, Research
and training Department, National Theatre. Published by Shunjüsha
Publishing Company, 2-18-6 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0021,
Jean-Noël von der Weid: "The sound cosmogony of Jean-Claude
Eloy". "Dissonanz - Dissonance" - die neue schweizerische
musikzeitschrift / the new Swiss musical review; N° 51, February,