Resources 03.04.2024

In an attempt to understand the ins and outs of the quarrel between Iannis Xenakis and Pierre Schaeffer, and to reconstruct the reasons and feelings that fueled the quarrel between the two composers, Metaclassique welcomes two witnesses: Jacqueline Schaeffer, who was Pierre Schaeffer's companion from 1959 until his death in 1995, and Mâkhi Xenakis, Iannis Xenakis's daughter, as well as two musicologists who took an interest in both composers: on the Xenakis side, Pierre Carré, and on the Schaeffer side, Nicolas Debade.

One composer could be a lighthouse for another, writing: " You are at an extremely important turning point, and I consider myself to be the signpost. You can burn this sign and ignore it, but I intend to do my duty to you to the very end. One way of returning the favor is for the composer who receives the warning sign to himself fire a warning shot, replying: " You're so keenly intelligent that you're more radically wrong than the average person. You see, you reason and then you stop observing ".
These phrases, balanced between esteem and mistrust, are taken from letters exchanged between Pierre Schaeffer and Iannis Xenakis in the late 1950s. The former had founded "musique concrète" some ten years earlier. The latter had just produced Concret PH for the Philips pavilion at the Brussels World Fair. Two composers who shared the common feature of having been trained at Polytechnique, who were certainly keenly aware of each other's importance, but who did not share the same conception of the relationship between music and science.

A Metaclassique program produced and directed by David Christoffel, recorded at the Bibliothèque du Centre d'Information du Centre Pompidou with Jacqueline Schaeffer, Nicolas Debade, Mâkhi Xenakis and Pierre Carré.
In partnership with Paysages Humains.

Musical excerpts :

- Concret PH by Iannis Xenakis

- Phèdre 1959 by Pierre Schaeffer

- Bohor by Iannis Xenakis

- Composite by Luc Ferrari

- Solfeggio of musical objects by Pierre Schaeffer

- Analog by Iannis Xenakis