Isidore Isou “Symphony #4” : Juvenal
(2001), 62’

orchestrated and performed by Frédéric Acquaviva (2001-2003)
spatialized in real time on multiple speakers

voice : Isidore Isou
solo voice : Maria Faustino
lettrist choir : Jean-Baptiste Beck, Silva Gabriela Béju, Alain Bertaud, Nicole Brenez, Broutin, Jacques
Chaumeix, Camille Cholain, Catherine Cousin, Lucienne Deschamps, Maria Faustino, Sylvain Monségu, Eric
Monsinjon, Francois Poyet, Helene Richol, Marie-Therese Richol-Müller, Woodie Roehmer, Roland Sabatier,
Jean-Louis Sarthou, Frédéric Studeny, Dany Tayarda

After having met Isou and produced his first symphony from 1947 (which had never been performed before), I wanted to see what kind of “symphony” Isou would write in 2001. Since he complained about the whole world, seen as a part of the Society of Spectacle, such as his famous ex-disciple Guy Debord, he decided to write a new 62-minute symphony on Juvenal. In this particular piece, which I orchestrated creatively, a Lettrist choir repeats the famous sentence “Panem and circenses”, and you can also hear Isou’s unique, old and very moving voice. I will spatialize the work with multi speakers and invite people to walk into the space or just lie down, listening to this very special music, which seems to synthesize primitive, early and contemporary music.

Frédéric Acquaviva,
is an experimental composer and sound artist born in France. He lives in Berlin where he runs the space La Plaque Tournante and the magazine CRU (contemporary radical underground), with Loré Lixenberg. Since the 90s, he has composed more than 40 pieces of music and has released 100 multiples, CDs and sound books, which are part of the collections of Centre Pompidou. His work was presented at ZKM, Palais de Tokyo, Moderna Museet, Experimental Intermedia, Deep Listening, Royal Opera House, La Fenice, Berghain, Fylkingen, France Cultur, among others, and he was composer in residency at EMS and EHF. Having worked with Isou, Guyotat, Lemaître, Chopin or Heidsieck, Acquaviva is also known for writing books, doing films, radio programs, archives or curating exhibitions on Lettrism or Sound Poetry (Reina Sofia, MACBA, Serralves) for which he was twice awarded a fellowship at the Beinecke Library (Yale University).

Isidore Isou Recital
(1947-1984), 30’

 by Loré Lixenberg

  • Cris pour 5.OOO.OOO de juifs égorgés (1947)
  • Neige (1950)
  • Recherches pour un poème en prose pure (1950)
  • Opus aphonistique n°1 (1959)
  • Poème aphoniste à fonctionnelle (1984)

Loré Lixenberg proposes a highly varied recital of Isou’s most striking poetic propositions. With her unique interpretation that contrasts dramatically with the previous non-professional interpreters of Isou, and specially the Lettrists themselves, Lixenberg manages to give relief and subtlety to these amazing Lettrist’s proposals, which can be seen as a major influence on voice composers such as Aperghis.

Lore Lixenberg is an English mezzo-soprano that lives in London and Berlin. She has worked with contemporary composers such as Stockhausen, Aperghis, Ligeti, Earle Brown, Wishart, Acquaviva, Turnage, Phill Niblock or Pauline Oliveros, as well as poets or artists like Stelarc, ORLAN, Heidsieck, Lemaître, but also pop bands like Radiohead.  She has released the first complete recording of John Cage’s Songbooks for Sub Rosa and has transcribed for her own voice Conlon Nancarrow’s Piano Studies. She was the first singer to perform a complete Isidore Isou recital worldwide. Loré Lixenberg is also the only singer that has worked both with Pierre Boulez and Bronski Beat. She also composes her own pieces, like the real-time opera Prêt-à-Chanter or the super-extended vocal piece Bird, and published her Memory Maps, which are in the collection of the MACBA.

(2015-2017), 26’

– for buchla, voice, mouths, skins, fixed imaged and ideas
spatialized in real time on multiple speakers

by Frédéric Acquaviva
mezzo-soprano : Loré Lixenberg

MESS was commissioned by Deutsche Radio Kultur and created at Berghain in Berlin for the Arts Birthday 2017. I wanted to write a piece that would go beyond what I already had composed – and specially what I had composed for voice – but also beyond the usual phonetics and effects used in Lettrism or sound poetry. I was interested in dealing with the sounds and frequencies of the legendary Buchla put at my disposal at EMS in Stockholm and which I reworked on computer during an entire year. Those textures were themselves antagonized by some Arabic percussion as well as by a few comments in French and a video-text in English.