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Bebe Barron: First lady of electronic music dies aged 82

img  Tobias
Despite her many different activities, Bebe Barron will most likely mainly be remembered for the soundtrack to “Forbidden Planet”. Realised with her then-husband Louis Barron, the music was the first widely regarded electronic film music and its blurring of the borders between sound effects and compositional textures would prove to be highly influential on future generations of cinematic creatives. Bebe’s contribution to the movie would continue to inspire, “Forbidden Planet” receiving renewed screenings on the merrits of its music alone. “This was the first commercial film to use only electronic music, and the score for the movie displays an attitude towards film scoring that was different from anything that had happened before”, Barry Schrader remembers, “In Forbidden Planet, while there are themes for characters and events in the film, as was traditional in the scoring of that day, the themes are composed and perceived as gestalts, rather than as melodies in traditional movie music.”

Next to their Hollywood-connection, the Barrons also fostered the musical talents of some of their colleagues. John Cage recorded “Williams Mix” at their studio, while assisting Earle Brown and Morton Feldman in some of their pieces. Their vital role for electroacoustic compostion, long overlooked by many historians, was rectified when SEAMUS presented them with their “Lifetime achievement award” – posthumuously for Louis.

“Bebe created a firm legacy in her music”, Schrader summed up her artistic influence, “If the importance of one's work is to be judged in any regard by it's influence, acceptance, longevity, and innovative qualities, then the score for Forbidden Planet is an enormous success. It remains the most widely known electro-acoustic music work on this planet. For me, Bebe Barron will always be the First Lady of electronic music.”

Bebe Barron is survived by her second husband, Leonard, and her son, Adam.

Homepage: SEAMUS

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