P-ART Anthology


The Beethoven Session

© P-ART 1983


The traditional division between the I - the composer, the he - the performer, and you - the listener, doesn't benefit music at all.

Chopin (1982) is one of my tape compositions that bears the subtitle: "this century's best interpretation of  the Waltz". The piece may be considered as a parody to the classical performers syndrome.

La Séance Beethoven (1983) has been conceived as a piece of reflection and interaction for the innocent public of concert halls.

The immediate reason for the creation of this performance was my participation to the project "Ecoute l'Image " (Listen to the image) at Louvain-la-Neuve (28.11.83).

Protocol of


l. The public leaves its own acoustical traces behind,as it enters the hall and is awaiting the musical happening. The tape recording of this innocent event will be integrated in the session as a kind of fingerprint.

2. Visual scene: in full darkness I take place as composer on the scene. I turn my back to the public.
A spotlight projects my shade on the wall. Next to me there is a fairly large table on which a small Beethoven bust stands on a book with yellowed piano score sheets of Beethoven's music. The shadow of this bust is projected next to the shadow of the contemporary composer. The whole scene is decorated at the left of the table and at my right hand with a series of standard pianoscores attached one to the other and set out on music stands. The composition is the Piano Sonata Opus 111 (Maestoso and Arietta) by Ludwig van.
Still no music, Beethoven remains deafmute.

3. The silence is disturbed by the still life on the table: a series of intermittent dynamically evoluating (amplified) microphone sounds is getting more and more overwhelming.
This development of sounds is produced by the activity of the lid on a thermos filled with a hot fluid. The ears of the listeners are gradually excited by the fascination of the "music" they hear. This is their mental preparation for the next part of this Beethoven session.

4.While the public is being confronted with itself in the large mirror above the scene, its music (see:1) is retransmitted.

5. Reflection:  a voice is coming out from the dark and state

A tree is a tree

Beethoven is Beethoven

My music is my music

Words are words

You are listening to the Beethoven Session

Real compositions are personal obviousness.

They are the result of a spontaneous flowing,

of some intuitive alluding to an object:

it faces you and it utters its own definition.

You only got to perform the act of recognition.

The composer is the chief witness.

Listening totally, simply physically-astrally.

In certain conditions daily life materials can drop their conventional functions:

Beethoven's bust - the image of Beethoven

a score - the notation

a saucer - the listening

the public as a public - the public as a performer

A new musical reality.

6.The composer picks up the saucer and the coffe-spoon from the table and plays his music.

7. Silence in the dark. The lights light up.

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