Monday, February 8, 2016

André Almuró & Mouloudji - 1966 - Le condamné à mort

André Almuró & Mouloudji 
Le condamné à mort (Genet dit par Mouloudji)


01 Part I (15:00)
02 Part II (10:35)

As a radio producer working with Pierre Schaeffer at the latter’s Club d’Essai from 1947, and then for GRM after 1958, electroacoustic composer André Almuró (1927-2009) created many radio plays based on French literature . This LP is one of them, a setting of Jean Genet’s Le Condamné à Mort (or The Man Sentenced to Death), recorded in 1952 and released on LP in 1968. The poem, first published in 1945, is a paean to prison inmates’ homoeroticism, with explicitly gay language and provocations typical from Genet. French singer and actor Marcel Mouloudji’s warm and passionate voice contrasts with the sombre, industrial sounds of Almuró’s music. Far from mere incidental accompaniement, the sounds deploy their terrible beauty around the reader. The latter doesn’t steal the show either, and the mix is well balanced between voice and musique concrète – surprisingly so, as the LP is produced by Mouloudji’s regular producer at Bourg Records, Z. Jovanovic. Anyway, Almuró’s impressively dark, electroacoustic vision contributes to this stunning rendition of Genet’s oeuvre.
Fantastic multimedia homage to one of jean genet's most influential poems, read by the french-algerian actor/musician mouloudji (in... french, natch), with music by one of the most criminally underdocumented composers to come out the group recherche musicale (as in the 'grm' in ina-grm), andre almuro, the founder of the "mouvement sentationniste", collaborator to kunst-stars like breton, cocteau, casares, clementi, etc...
While mouloudji's impassioned yammering doesn't get treated nearly as often as casual logic would dictate, almuro's murk-infested tape constructs make us barely aware that anything in the sybillant range is even firing (and with some careful eq'ing... voila).

Apparently the score was originally titled "lettre de jean genet a andré almuro, four l'emission 'lenfance du crime' (radiodiffusion française - 1952)". did i mention this was executed in 1952? nineteen-freaking-fifty-two? continuous ululation(s) or not, this is a necessary piece in the early french electro-acoustic puzzle (only pierre schaeffer's "cinq etudes bruit" and some early pierre henry pieces predate it).

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