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PRINT January 2019

music

SYNTHESIZE ME

Éliane Radigue in her studio, Paris, ca. 1970s. Photo: Yves Arman.

HOW LONG did an hour feel in 1971? Was it like three 2018 hours? Ten minutes? The music of the eighty-six-year-old French composer Éliane Radigue forces these questions because as much as it’s about synthesizers and magnetic tape and silence and held notes and resonance, it is also about time. Her work cannot be excerpted or sliced into representative swatches or versified. The movement from a piece’s beginning to its end is the motif itself; to lose even a little of that adventure is to lose the music. Œuvres électroniques (Electronic Works), a new fourteen-CD box set recently released by Ina GRM, collects pieces recorded between 1971 and 2007. The shortest of them is a little over seventeen minutes long; most of them run closer to an hour. These days, Radigue composes largely for acoustic stringed instruments, but she remains as focused an artist as electronic music has ever

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