With a synthesizer as big as 20 grand pianos, this was electronic music not as we know it.

The documentary edited by Robert Hilferty and later finished by Laura Karpman when he passed away showed a man every bit as rich and complex as his music.

There was a balance of people talking about avant-garde American composer Milton Babbitt.

His supporters like his wife and students revealed his human aspects like emotionality, sense of humour and surprising interest in pop songs.

Yet his own music was far from popular. Influenced by Schoenberg’s 12 tone technique, he evolved this technique to apply it to every aspect of music so that there was a complex relationship between each aspect, all happening at the same time.

It was the ability of the audience to listen that was on trial rather than the performer.

This alienated many people who found it inaccessible.

Still, he had an influence on both jazz and mainstream culture. An interview with Stephen Sondheim, a student of Babbitt, acknowledged that the two motifs from the Sweeney Todd film score were a direct result of Milton’s teachings.

Although a fascinating introduction to this composer, the documentary did not play enough of his music. Moot will redress this next Friday with the Milton Babbitt Discovery concert - visit www.brightonscience.com for more details.

Three stars