Saturday, 17 December 2011

Parmesan Cheese & Bernard Parmegiani

I like to think I've made my mark, culturally-speaking, by being the first (and last) writer to twin John Cage with courgettes. It's no great claim to fame, perhaps, but in the absence of a masterpiece in Art or Literature, it will have to suffice.

That post still attracts visitors who Google 'courgette', much to my amusement. Imagine their disappointment in finding an avant garde composer instead of either recipes involving courgettes, or more information about what is probably the best-known member of the species Cucurbita pepo (although the pumpkin is a strong challenger to that title). It is also called a zucchini, from the Italian, zucchina.

'Courgette' is a French word, and Bernard Parmegiani was born in Paris, but his name is strikingly similar to the Italian for parmesan, Parmigiano-Reggiano. I know nothing about Permegiani's parentage, or his personal life, but I can tell you that he joined the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM) in 1959, and worked for French television in a studio, along with Xenakis.

I can also tell you that there's a 12-CD box set called 'L'Oeuvre Musicale', which includes his major works from 1964 to 2007. Regardless of it's current value, you should buy it if you have any interest in musique concrete and electro-acoustic composition. It would be the soundest musical investment you will ever make, providing as it does a lifetime's-worth of deep listening, the brilliance of which can only be truly appreciated in time, a considerable length of time. That is if, like me, you are constantly distracted by an endless supply of other music. I'm still discovering new elements to this great man's work.

So there we have it; parmesan and Parmegiani. I do apologies for the lack of content regarding parmesan, but if you came looking for that, hard cheese.

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