Personalities | Henri Pousseur | Contemporary | Classical

(On-re’ Poo-ser’) 1929–2009
Belgian composer

During the 1950s and early 60s, Pousseur was at the forefront of the avant-garde, teaching at Darmstadt and working at the Studio di fonologia, Milan, with Berio and Maderna. Influenced, like many of his generation, by Webern, he nonetheless saw the composer’s importance as lying not in his serial technique but in his creation of a balanced, almost weightless, harmonic field. Pousseur became interested in variable and open form (influencing Umberto Eco’s speculations on the subject): his major project of the 1960s was Votre Faust (‘Your Faust’) which sought to employ principles of openness and indeterminacy in the staging of an opera, with audience members voting at various points on which way the action should proceed. Votre Faust also involved quotations from the operatic literature and a harmonic system for modulating from one into the other, a system he refined and reused in the orchestral work Couleurs croisées (‘Crossed Colours’, 1969).

Recommended Recording:
Couleurs croisées, La seconde apothéose de Rameau, Orchestre Philharmonique de la Communauté Française, Musiques Nouvelles (cond) Pierre Bartholomée (Cyprès)

Introduction | Contemporary | Classical
Personalities | Einojuhani Rautavaara | Contemporary | Classical


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