EPOUND-L Archives

- Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine


Options: Use Classic View

Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
j sweitzer <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 25 Mar 2004 18:19:12 -0800
text/plain (102 lines)
re Antheil/Pound, see the following from the BBC
(mention of Pound is in 2nd to last paragraph):

Antheil: Ballet Mécanique (1926)
from: www.bbc.co.uk/music/features/paris/music3.shtml

Antheil described his Ballet Mécanique as "the new
fourth dimension of music" - as well as a dead-end.

It was originally a collaboration with the French
artist Fernand Léger, famous for his "machine-art"
paintings. Léger had toyed with the idea of
"simultanist art" which involved film-like techniques
of cutting and close-ups with no logical progression
or explanation. This led to his decision to attempt a
film with no scenario, using a prism in front of the
camera to destroy the perspective. The result was
Ballet Mécanique, for which George Antheil was chosen
to write the music.

Having written it Antheil felt the music could also
stand alone and it was premiered in its own right two
years later in Paris. The incredible line up of
instruments called for were 4 player-pianos (all
playing simultaneously), an aeroplane propeller,
gongs, rattles and a xylophone. Repetition and
syncopation are powerful elements in the music, as is
the influence of jazz styles.

The outrageous premiere drew many of Paris's
celebrities to the Théatre des Champs-Èlysées in 1926.
James Joyce was there sporting an eye-patch, T. S.
Eliot was spotted with an unidentified woman in black,
and Diaghilev and EZRA POUND were also present.

Ballet Mécanique has been described as symbolising
"the acme of demented modernism" but is highly
significant in that it can be seen as looking forward
to minimalism.

--- Stephen Adams <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Burt--
> Two thoughts:  (1) Don't forget about EP's
> involvement in the
> Leger-Dudley Moore "Ballet mecanique," with music by
> Antheil.  The film
> is of course a landmark in avant-garde cinema in all
> the textbooks, and
> somewhere, I seem to recall, EP claimed to be in the
> cutting room when
> it was being made (or some such place).  I see it as
> an extension of
> "vortography."
> (2) There's a reference in XXX Cantos to "Birth of a
> Nation," which has
> to be an allusion to Griffith's film, though
> Terrell's Companion doesn't
> identify it as such.  I'll find the reference if you
> need it.
> Stephen Adams
> Burt Hatlen wrote:
> >
> > Pounders,
> >
> > I've been thinking about the parallels between
> Pound's poetics and the film aesthetic of the 1920s,
> and I'm looking for information on what movies Pound
> may have seen during this period and what he might
> have thought/said about them. I'm also
> > looking for critical commentary on the
> relationship between Pound's poetic methods and film
> technique. Kenner in The Pound Era and Max Nanny in
> his book on Pound and the electronic age mention
> that in developing his concept of "montage"
> Eisenstein
> > points to the Chinese ideogram as a model, and the
> analogy with Pound's poetic method is obvious; but
> neither Kenner nor Nanny explores the relationship
> between Pound's poetic methods and actual films of
> the time.  Any tips would be much appreciated.
> >
> > Burt Hstlen
> --
> Stephen Adams
> Chair, Undergraduate Studies,
> Department of English
> University of Western Ontario
> London, Canada
> Undergraduate English business should be directed to
[log in to unmask]

Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Finance Tax Center - File online. File on time.