A 're-performance' of Poème électronique

Robert Godman (Artist), Kate Romano (Producer)

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


In 1958 Edgard Varese’s ‘Poème électronique’ premiered at Expo 58, also known as the Brussels World’s Fair, the first major World Fair after World War 2.
The premiere took place in the extraordinary Philips Pavillion, a cluster of nine hyperbolic paraboloids designed by the office of Le Corbusier and managed by Xenakis. It was a true ‘multi-media’ experience – sound, projected imagery and lighting, architecture, time and place…

Commissioned by Kate Romano (with funds from ACE, Britten-Peers Foundations, RVW Trust and Ambache Charitable Trust), this ‘re-working’ of Poème électronique was created by Rob Godman for concert-hall performance for the ‘Ritual in Transfigured Time’ tour 2016/17, premiering at the Cheltenham Festival.

Most concert-hall performances of this work only feature the audio component created by Varese. The version created for Ritual includes original imagery (le Corbusier) and a live spatialised mix to an 8.1 diffusion system.

Initial research for this project included visiting the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel, Switzerland to see the original Varèse archives of plans for 'Poème' and also the original draft of Ionisation. By witnessing how the ideas of Varese were written on the back of a napkin, how hard he pressed his pen on the paper, scribbles and sketches, we gained a valuable insight into the workings of arguably the most important composer of the 20th Century.

The work responds to a central idea of their philosophy for artistic programming - bringing excellence to musical programming that combine live electroacoustic performance into a meaningful concert-hall and public art environment.

The entire performance of ‘Ritual in Transfigured Time’, including ‘Poème électronique’ runs from a custom coded diffusion system, created and operated by Rob Godman.

Many thanks to Kees Tazelaar, Paul Sacher Foundation, Albersen and Ricordi
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016
EventCheltenham Festival - Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Jul 20169 Jul 2016


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