Magazine article Tate Etc.

PAUL NOBLE ON HENRI CHOPIN (a Pioneer of Sound Poetry)

Magazine article Tate Etc.

PAUL NOBLE ON HENRI CHOPIN (a Pioneer of Sound Poetry)

Article excerpt

I spend most days in my studio. The blinds are down and I have a pencil in my hand drawing out from a piece of paper some imagined thing. There is no silence.

The pencil scrapes like a small saw, and outside lorries rumble backwards and forwards as my area is regenerated around me. For company and to mask external distractions, I listen to music, often the same piece over and over. My preferred companion above all others is Henri Chopin (1922-2008). He is called a sound artist, musician and poet. It was after the Second World War that Chopin did what he did. And how to say in words what he did when what he did was to do without words? What you can do without and still be human is what Chopin says, or sounds.

I imagine Chopin's antecedence thus: Chopin, born 1922. Thomas Mann, born 1875. In 1947 Mann publishes Doctor Faustus. Somewhere very much in the middle of the book comes a confession of the narrator Serenus Zeitblom. He is writing the story of his friend, the brilliant composer Adrian Leverkühn, but literary conventions demand a politening of time's passage, aphoristic paragraphs and the organising of time and events into chapters. …

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