Edgard Varèse & Le Corbusier / Poeme Electronique (1958)
In 1956 the Philips Company of Holland commissioned the architect Le
Corbusier to design a pavilion for the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels. Le
Corbusier conceived the notion of an "electronic poem" and insisted –
over severe objections from Philips – that Varèse be his collaborator.
With some reluctance, Philips turned over its facilities at Eindhoven,
Holland, to Varèse. The original form of the work was scored for four
hundred loudspeakers which covered the inside of the structure; while Le
Corbusier's "light show" of visual imagery was projected across the
irregular, flowing interior surfaces, the complex of electronically
organized and manipulated sound was moved across these same surfaces by
an elaborate distribution system. The vision of forty years was – for a
while, at least – a reality. Unfortunately, this remarkable structure
was torn down and the work survives only in the two-channel version
which, along with the final revised version of Déserts, was achieved later at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in New York.