Bernard Heidsieck - poème-partition "R"

Bernard Heidsieck, a multimedia poet, finds his origins in action poetry and is one of the cofounders of sound poetry with Henri Chopin, when, in 1959 they started to use recorders and microphones not simply as reproductive tools but as transformative mixing devices. He published his first book of poems in 1955 and started shortly after his first recording experiences. He participated in the different avant-gardes festivals of the 60’s in Paris, particularly the rare Fluxus evenings before starting to organize his own events at home or elsewhere, evenings of lecture, performances, and sound poetry in the 70’s at the Soleil Noir in Paris. He is the co-founder with Jean Jacques Lebel in the 80’s of the international festival Polyphonix. He also published some vynils, the first book-record (5 vynils included) in the 70’s at Soleil Noir in Paris; he published some pieces in OU review from 1954 to 1974, some records like ‘L’encoconnage’ and ‘Poèmes-partitions’ etc., and lately the box (CD+texts) Vaduz, at Conz editions in Verona. A few CD’s and ‘plaquettes’ will be published in 1999. Jean Pierre Bobillot published Bernard Heidsieck’s first book on his work in 1997, at Jean Michel Place editions. Bernard Heidsieck has never abandoned the meaning or the sentence, he invents a new visual ‘dramaturgy’, gestual, verbal and sound, with pre-recordings and simultaneous improvisation on the microphone, live, creating what he has named action-poetry (in action with a predefined partition). Creator and interpreter of his own production, he produces his work in which the text -body and the voice are an indissociable whole.
Michel Giroud.

Bernard Heidsieck, poète multimédia, est à l’origine de la poésie-action et l’un des co-fondateurs de la poésie sonore avec Henri Chopin, en 1959, par l’usage qu’ils font du magnétophone et du micro, outils non plus simplement reproducteurs mais transformateurs par les mixages possibles. Il publie son premier livre de poèmes en 1955 et peu après commence ses expériences magnétophoniques. Il va participer aux différents festivals d’avant-gardes à Paris, dans les années 60, et tout particulièrement aux rares soirées Fluxus, avant d’organiser, chez lui et ailleurs, des soirées de lectures, de performances et de poésie sonore, dans les années 70. Il publie sur disque dans la revue OU de 1954 à 1974, édite le premier livre-disque (5 vinyls inclus) dans les années 70 au Soleil Noir, à Paris. Il publiera une suite de disques (L’encoconnage, Poèmes-partitions etc.) et tout dernièrement le coffret (Texte et CD) Vaduz, aux éditions Conz à Vérona (Discographie complète). Plusieurs CD et plaquettes seront publiées en 1999. Jean Pierre Bobillot a publié le premier livre sur son oeuvre, en 1997, aux éditions Jean Michel Place. Bernard Heidsieck n’abandonne ni le sens ni la phrase, il invente une nouvelle dramaturgie visuelle, gestuelle, verbale et sonore, avec les pré-enregistrements magnéto et l’improvisation simultanée, au micro, en direct, créant ainsi ce qu’il a nommé la poésie-action (en action et selon une partition préalable). Créateur et interprète de sa propre production, il produit une oeuvre où texte-corps et voix sont un tout indissociable.

About Bernard Heidsieck
by Steve McCaffery from Sound Poetry: A Survey

Bernard Heidsieck commenced sound poetry in 1955 with his 'poem partitions' and, since 1966 on, a species he terms 'biopsies'. Both types are rooted in a direct relation to everyday life. Heidsieck sometimes refers to both the biopsies and poem-partitions as 'action' poems (not to be confused with the action poetry of either Steve McCaffery or Robert Filliou). 'Action' since the pieces incorporate the actuality of quotidian soundscapes: subways, streetcars, taxis. Texts utilized are often found and superimposed and involve complex variations in tape speed, volume and editorial juxtaposition. In addition to their value as social comment, Heidsieck sees his sound texts existing within the domain of 'a ritual, ceremonial or event' that assumes an interrogative stance vis a vis our daily wordscapes. The day to day is appropriated and animated to make meaningful 'our mechanical and technocratic age by recapturing mystery and breath'. Heidsieck incorporates the taped-text within the context of live performance and plays off his own live voice against his own voice recorded. It is a positive solipsism that frequently results in a rich textural fabric. Since 1969 Heidsieck has called his tape compositions 'passe-partout' viz. universal pass keys. The passe-partout marks a further development in Heidsieck's central interest: the use of everyday, incidental soundscapes to be isolated and presented in their intrinsic integrity and their electroacoustic modification.

In France today Bernard Heidsieck is the sound poet most directly influenced by the simultaneism (Orphism) of Henri-Martin Barzun. His "Poèmes-Partitions" is a poetry-action(= communication) which places it in direct contact with the reality of the world. The event is treated as in Godard's cinema-vérité. Though a friend of Dufrêne and Chopin, he does not reject the common language, quite the opposite. His problem is one of assembly, that is, of rhythm: assembly of the magnetic tape, superimposition or alternation to voices and sounds. The construction of his texts is based on the counterpoint between a continuous diction and an interrupted diction, the noises, used as punctuation, are established by a score which does not admit of improvisation. Progression (appearance fragment by fragment of phrases which are gradually completed), a circular process (evident in the works presented "Vaduz, passepartout No. 22"), abrupt breaks, rigid structure, contrast with the linear automatism of his friends. The fragmentation of speech, the increasing rhythm of interjections, disorientations and at the same time dramatize the discourse. Heidsieck's works can be described as radiophonic dramas.

It is interesting in this regard to read again the manifesto "La Radia" written by Marinetti and Pino Masnada, published in the "Gazzetta del Popolo" in 1933, in which a new art was proposed: "... Immensification of space.... scene universal and cosmic ... pure organism of radiophonic sensations ... synthesis of infinite simultaneous actions... battles of sounds and of different distances... to paint delimt and colour the infinite darkness of the radia... geometrical construction of silence".
In the Heidsieck's texts what one wants to say becomes involved with a collection of commonplaces, of lyrical quotations, which contrast with the technical objectivity of the rhythm. The drama is formed between a will to communicate and the complex automatisim of the responses, between proposition and comment which generates the self-comment that comments on itself: a play of mirrors without exit, the essence of the drama is tautological.
"Vaduz" was commissioned for the 3rd Bourges Electroacoustic Music Festival (1975), where it was commended.
Bernard Heidsieck was born in Paris in 1928. A graduate of the Istituto Politico, he is the deptuy-manager of a large Parisian bank. He has been interested in sound poetry since 1955 and since 1962 in action-poetry. In 1955 the first "Poèmes-Partitions" and after 1959 use of the tape-recorder as a means of composition and retransmission. Between 1966 and 1969 he composed 13 "Biopsies", since 1969 23 "Passepartout."