First audition, repeated listening
If the primordial arena of contemporary music is the concert and its definitive moment is world premiere (that is to say the first hearing), it is thus not surprising that hearing is often depicted as a whole, absolutely attentive and unrepeatable. But all musicians, from the occasional listener to composers or professional performers, know how versatile situations, within which a work is accessed, can be: the social and technical conditions of listening are as variable as our reasons and manners for experiencing music.
This signifies that the previously unheard produced by a composer, can and must be at the same time the occasion or subject matter of the previously unheard that occurs in listening as a practice. In fact, contemporary music frequently tries to articulate these two "previously unheard" elements; it must thus confront its internal contradictions – first hearing compared to repeated hearing, performed music compared to recorded music, etc. For material we will refer in particular to texts by Stockhausen, Pousseur, and Schoenberg, and to a 1931 manual dedicated to disc amateurs.