A Joyous Sound
An Important Sonambient from the Collection of John J. Desmond
Architect John J. Desmond studied under Alvar Aalto at MIT before returning to the small town of Hammond Louisiana to start his award winning practice. Desmond acquired the present lot, a Sonambient in beryllium copper and brass, for his own residence which he designed in 1960. Upon hearing of the purchase, Bertoia drafted the below letter highlighting the musical qualities of his tonal works, which he described as "a joyous sound".
Aug 18, 1969
Dear Mr. Desmond
I heard from Carlos Ferrer that you have purchased one of my tonal pieces. Specifically the 48’’ Beryllium Copper—two shafts that can clap and produce a joyous sound. Of the many alloys, beryllium is still my favorite for its tonal quality. You may be interested to know that your piece is a member of a large family, an entire orchestral ensemble which offers unlimited possibilities for generating new sound relations. Some future day, I hope, will hold the pleasure for you to hear its kin. Meanwhile my best wishes for your enjoyment of your acquisition.