Henri Chopin (1922-2008)

An Interview with Henri Chopin (April 3, 1972)

An interview with Henri Chopin and his family, recorded by Charles Amirkhanian and Carol Law at Chopin’s home in Ingatestone, Essex, on April 3, 1972. Chopin’s English wife Jean assists in translating from French to English during this discussion about Chopin’s early work, influences, and recent publications. Also joining in the discussion is Chopin’s daughter Brigitte who is also an artist. Henri Chopin was an active member of the French avant-garde from at least 1950 until his death in 2008. Chopin was a pioneer in the field of musique concrète and sound poetry being one of the first to recognize the potential for such creations when the first tape recorders became available to consumers. Chopin also published a magazine called “OU”, the premiere publication for visual or concrete poetry, from his home in England. “OU” also often included a record of sound poetry with each issue. Chopin died in 2008.

Cantata for Two Farts & Co.

  1. Cantata For Two Farts And Juan Carlos I (11:48)

  2. Les Chuitantes Respirent (9:50)

  3. Throat Power (10:30)

  4. Vertigo Du Vertige (11:00)

Henri Chopin Cantata for Two Farts & Co. LP. Edition of 80 copies with new labels. Henri Chopin presents previously unreleased audiopoems as well as the reprint of two pieces from the Radiotaxi LP (the tracks taken from Radiotaxi are here presented for the first time mastered at the correct speed)

Les Mirifiques Tundras & Co.

  1. La Digestion (14:06)

  2. Les Pirouettes Vocales Pour Les Pirouettements Vocaux (5:41)

  3. Les Souffles Des Tempêtes (14:15)

Henri Chopin Les Mirifiques Tundras & Co.. Original pre-released edition of 80 copies on yellow vinyl, never offered before. Extreme voice sound manipulations. Somehow in the vein of Hodell Text-Sound composition, just more primitive and visceral.

Various Tracks

1. La civilisation du papier (1975), 7:07

2. Extrême Tension (1974), 4:30

3. Henri Chopin | Définition des Lettres Suivantes (1975), 5:33

4. Henri Chopin | Audiopoems, Part 1

5. Henri Chopin | Audiopoems, Part 2

1. Rouge (1956)
2. Dynamisme intégral (1973)
3. French Lesson (1974)
4. Double Extension (1970), Voice: HC, electronic composition: Sten Hanson
5. Hoppa Bock (1970)
6. Pêche de Nuit (1957)
7. Tête á Tête (1971-73), Sten Hanson and Henri Chopin
8. L'Agrippe des Droits (1980), for Christian Clozier
6. "L'énergie du sommeil" Audio-poème (1965)

7. "Indicatif 1" Audio-poème (1962)

8. "La Fusée Interplanétaire" Audio-poème (1963)

9. "Sol Air" (1961-64)

10. "Le Corps": 1st Part "Déchirure de l'air" (1966)

11. "Le Corps": 2nd Part "Brisure du Corps" (1966)

12. "Le Corps": 3rd Part "Chant du Corps" (1966)

13. "2500, les Grenouilles d'Aristophane" (1967), 4'29

14. "La Fusée Interplanétaire" Audio-poème (1963), 2'12" (dedicated to E. Alleyn, announcement by Jean Ratcliffe-Chopin)

15. "Le Rire est Debout" (1969), 8'00"

16. "Le Soleil est mécanique" Audio-poem (1972) (Voice: Denis Chopin, Audio H. Chopin), 5'06"

17. "Lè Ventre de Bertini" Audio-poème (1967), 3'24"

18. "Les Mandibules du Déjeuner sur l'Herbe" (1971) (For Mr. and Mrs. Kaplan) 5'23"

19. "Mes Bronches" (1968), 5'48"

20. "Vibrespace" Audio-poem (1963), 8'51"

21. Petit Livre Des Riches Heures Signistes Et Sonores D'Henri Chopin: La Cavalcade Echevelee

22. Petit Livre Des Riches Heures Signistes Et Sonores D'Henri Chopin: Dialogue Desourds

16-page book and 7" single released 1987 by Jacques Donguy, a Parisian art dealer specialized in avantgarde and sound poetry. Booklet includes 8 typewriter poems and liner notes by Middle Ages historian Paul Zumthor. The 2 tracks belong to the Audiopoems series, Chopin's version of sound poetry. Presented in collaboration with Continuo.

Tracks 1, 2 from the LP "Futura Poesia Sonora" (Cramps Records, Milan)

Track 3 from the LP "Fylkingen Sound Text Festival: 10 Years" (Fylkingen Records, Sweden)

Tracks 4, 5 from the CD "Audiopoems" (?, Records 05, 2001)

Track 6 from OU 23-24

Tracks 17, 8 from OU 26-27

Track 19 from OU 28-29

Tracks 10, 21, 12 from OU 30-31

Tracks 13-20 from OU Review

Tracks 21-22 presented in collaboration with Continuo.

Vocal Waves

Since the end of the 50's, Henri Chopin, an explorer in the new recorded sound poetry field, has never ceased, through his own work as well as through his publishing activities (the magazine Cinquième Saison from 1959 to 1963, then the magazine with record OU from 1964 to 1974) to defend the electronic explorations of the voice and the body, the grain of the voice, the vocal texture, the vibrations of the larynx, the labial snaps, and the hiss; first with the aid of the tape recorder, then, starting from the early 70's, by working in the best electronic music studios in Europe (Atelier de création of Radio France, the Fylkingen Studio in Stockholm, the WDR Studio in Cologne, and recently in Australia ... ). A path extending from the exploration of the resonance of words, in 1956, to the new sound form of 1994, in collaboration with a cybernetic musician at Ircam, Marc Battier.

Henri Chopin opens new ways by going beyond the separation between music and language, and he discovers the infinite chant, the fantastic yard of the mouth and the corporal noises with the aid of new electronic machines: a new conscience of space thanks to astro-physicians and biologists. A new, as of yet unknown culture, is born with the aid of the new means. Varèse had long before foreseen this exploration, defining it as necessary. An explorer of a terra incognita, of an infro- and ultra-poetry of pure energy that goes beyond language, Henri Chopin introduces the primary poetry, in the sense of Novalis, that is poetry as energy, the primary planetary poetry of the corporal space. At the some time as his research into sonority, he gives letters another form through his typewriter poems, which find their best expression in the recent, wonderful work titled Les riches heures de l'alphabet, put together in collaboration with his friend Paul Zumthor, an expert in the Middle Age period.

Michel Giroud

(text published in Revue et Corrigée n. 23, Grenoble, March 1995)

(translation: Andrea Cernotto)



Le Corpsbis & Co

The title given to this collection of sound poems of Henri Chopin is quite representative of its contents. All these audio-poems, composed between 1983 and 1992, propose a much wider and more formal definition of poetry than the traditional one. They also represent the apex of Chopin's activities spanning over a period of forty years. He has made researches in several fields voice recording techniques, sound spatialisation and publishing, with the magazines Cinquième Saison and OU, which for more than ten years, since 1963, was the only publication to report the current developments of sound poetry and to include phonograph records featuring previously unpublished works by Burroughs, Gysin, Novalk, de Vree, Heidsieck, Dufrêne and all the other poets devoting themselves to this new art form.

Issue nr. 26/27 of the magazine featured, among others, Raoul Hausmann, a leading figure of the Berlin Dada movement who, in 1918 produced some phonetic poems as spoken translations of his own poems affiches, which were composed exclusively of letters from the alphabet. It is not surprising that Chopin had an interest in the negation of the traditional patterns proposed by Hausmann's phonetic poetry and he acknowledges

Dadaism's decisive role in taking to its limits the objectivity of the individual, as started by the Romantic Movement and developed by the Symbolists.

Though Chopin is far from Dadaism's paralyzing nothing because his poetry is a research on man's existential problems, an investigation on the relations between body, sound and space and not just an expression of one's subconscious, as it deals with the several levels of the poetic process in which intellect and emotion are no more separated.

The dynamics of the kinetic qualities, of p