“There is a small room at the Paris Conservatoire—where else?—that is home to the world’s most extensive collection of ondes Martenots,” writes Garry Scott in Wednesday’s (4/25) Herald (Glasgow, Scotland). “Herein reside seven of the glorious instruments…. Nathalie Forget, one of today’s leading ondistes and a featured artist at next weekend’s [BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra] Tectonics festival in Glasgow [says], ‘These instruments have had important fans. Messiaen, Varèse, Murail…. Cinema and theatre makers. Pop singers. Jacques Brel, Radiohead, Kraftwerk.’ … The ondes was invented by a French cellist, Maurice Martenot, who worked as a radio telegrapher during the First World War and saw the potential of using oscillating radio tubes to create sound waves via electronic pulses…. The instrument was officially born in 1928: a wonder of early electronics whose intangible, eerie-sweet voice captured the imagination … ‘At the beginning, the ondes had a lot of religious repertoire,’ Forget explains. ‘It came to represent the voice of angels, most famously thanks to Olivier Messiaen.’ … Tacked to the door of Forget’s classroom at the Paris Conservatoire, a list of names shows 14 current ondes students—a remarkably healthy enrollment for an instrument that nearly disappeared just a few decades ago.”

Posted April 26, 2018