Mouloudji & André Almuró ‘Le Condamné à Mort’

As a radio producer working with Pierre Schaeffer at the latter’s Club d’Essai from 1947, and then for GRM after 1958, electroacoustic composer André Almuró (1927-2009) created many radio plays based on French literature (see my Wikipedia article). This LP is one of them, a setting of Jean Genet’s Le Condamné à Mort (or The Man Sentenced to Death), recorded in 1952 and released on LP in 1968. The poem, first published in 1945, is a paean to prison inmates’ homoeroticism, with explicitly gay language and provocations typical from Genet. French singer and actor Marcel Mouloudji’s warm and passionate voice contrasts with the sombre, industrial sounds of Almuró’s music. Far from mere incidental accompaniement, the sounds deploy their terrible beauty around the reader. The latter doesn’t steal the show either, and the mix is well balanced between voice and musique concrète – surprisingly so, as the LP is produced by Mouloudji’s regular producer at Bourg Records, Z. Jovanovic. Anyway, Almuró’s impressively dark, electroacoustic vision contributes to this stunning rendition of Genet’s oeuvre.

A rip from the CD version is available at Ubuweb. This new rip from the LP was an excuse to write a Wikipedia entry – or is it the other way round?

Le Condamné à Mort
01 Part I (15:00)
02 Part II (10:35)

Total time 25:35
LP released by Bourg Records, France, 1968


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8 Responses to “Mouloudji & André Almuró ‘Le Condamné à Mort’”

  1. 1 newname October 4, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Thanks !

  2. 2 continuo October 4, 2010 at 11:11 am

    You’re welcome.

  3. 3 jim October 5, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    hi continuo, love yr site – cheers! almuro certainly had works broadcast by studio d’essai but i don’t believe he ever worked at the grm. in chion & reibel’s les musiques electroacoustiques he’s mentioned fleetingly as an independent precursor (p. 127). & his name doesn’t figure at all in evelyne gayou’s rather exhaustive 50 year history. i guess a glance over the grm’s repertoire acousmatique 1948-1980 would settle it, but my copy is not to hand right now. from my listening, his application of electroacoustics is very limited in any case – although he certainly collaborated with freres baschet.

  4. 4 continuo October 5, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Hi, Jim. Thanks for your interesting comment.

    The information that Almuró joined the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM) in 1958 is printed at the back of his “Musiques Expérimentales” LP, Adès records, France, 1970. The GRM was only the continuation of Pierre Schaeffer’s Club d’Essai under another name, and I suspect Schaeffer badly needed good radio producers like Almuró. Anyway, the latter left after a few years at the GRM studio to launch his own recording facility — and escape Schaeffer’s dogmatic presence, one suspects. That he did not release records in the INA-GRM LP collection doesn’t mean he wasn’t a member of the studio at its inception.

    The printed information on Almuró is shamefully lacking, admittedly. I tried to address that with my Wikipedia article. The real skeleton in the closet of Almuró’s life is his homosexuality, though, which explains a lot of U-turns his carreer took, in my opinion.

  5. 5 Sound of Eye October 6, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Sounds fantastic, like so many other things here that I’ve been to lazy to comment on or thank you for.
    So, a global thank you for your extraordinary work.

  6. 6 continuo October 6, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Thank you very much, my friend.

  7. 7 jim October 8, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    hi continuo, thanks, i’ve heard the musiques experimentales lp but haven’t seen a copy for years – my bad. i did manage to pull up my copy of repertoire acousmatique 1948-1980 (a wonderful thing; it provides extensive details of all the early recordings by schaeffer & henry, as well as the work of the grmc & the grm) & almuro is entirely absent. i still maintain a suspicion that most of almuro’s effects are realised acoustically (& perhaps in a like fashion to some of henry’s early experiments with percussion), but i suspect there’s considerable substance in what you’ve written. it seems more than a pure coincidence that artaud’s to be done with the judgement of god should be banned by french radio the same year as schaeffer’s earliest noise etudes went to air. agreed: almuro & his work deserves more attention. thanks again.

  8. 8 continuo October 8, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Well, the Almuró Wikipedia article is a first attempt at a biographical sketch. I plan to update it with additional information, eventually. For the time being, it seems safe to consider him as one of the pioneers of Musique Concrète.

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