Author Topic: Edgard Varese  (Read 36840 times)

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Offline steve ridgway

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #120 on: March 24, 2020, 09:21:03 AM »
Anyone listening to Varèse lately?

I have one CD of his music: Kent Nagano conducting the ONF, Vol. 1 of the complete works, on Erato. I got it at a record store in Chicago. It includes Amériques, Offrandes, Hyperprism, Octandre, and Arcana. I return to it every once in a while and, while usually enjoying what I hear, it does not typically end up leaving a big impression for me. I think the problem is that I don't really know what his music is all about, who his influences were, what kind of philosophies (or lack thereof) guided his music. But every so often I will read that a composer I really respect and enjoy—be it Boulez, Feldman, or whoever else—idolized Varèse. Given this I hope to one day understand his music.

Are there any good reading materials (or videos) out there that might help me understand what his music is all about?

I enjoy that one and a couple of other complete works. I don’t understand them as such, they’ve just grown on me with repeated listens.

Offline petrarch

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #121 on: March 24, 2020, 09:57:39 AM »
Are there any good reading materials (or videos) out there that might help me understand what his music is all about?

There are a couple of french TV documentaries that are quite worthwhile. For reading materials, the following is essential:



There are also two french books I recommend, even if they are somewhat old: Odile Vivier and Fernand Ouelette. 
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Offline Papy Oli

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #122 on: October 07, 2020, 12:37:32 AM »
Cross-posted from the French Music Exploration thread:

Next stop :  Edgar Varèse.



Played "Tuning Up", "Amériques", "Poème Electronique"

A blind spot for me also so I will definitely learn something here  8)

So far Edgar isn’t doing it for me.

Varèse's output is small, but it is just about as perfect as any human-made thing is likely to get.

(My first one was Poème électronique. The one I played most often, at first, was Arcana

My oldest son's first was also Poème électronique. It hit him even harder: he went on to study with David Cope at UC Santa Cruz, earning a degree in computer music composition.)

Nor me, I'm afraid. Too much banging and dissonance overall for my own tastes.

"Arcana" was sort interesting for 5-10 minutes but it lost me afterwards. "Tuning up" was original and quirky, even pressed replay on this particular one, but I do not feel the need to revisit again.
I haven't tried either of those yet. So far it was Ionisation, then Amériques. Just now Density 21.5 which is for solo flute, and now starting on Déserts where I stumbled across a Naxos performance conducted by someone I obliquely know, so that's novel...

I'm not having much reaction on the whole.

EDIT: Though interestingly, David Hurwitz was thoroughly enthusiastic about the Naxos disc. Said the performances were much better than Boulez' (and I've just found someone on Amazon saying the same thing). So maybe I'll listen to more of this album.



You don't like Varèse? You don't like Varèse??!?  Don't you know every time you say that, a beautiful water sprite in the Csárda-valley dies?? 



Varese is one of the most inventive and important of the 20th century composers.  Spend more time with his music.  Let him get under your skin, as it were.

I'll live with that burden :P  ;)

I have been doing some exploratory listening to Varese’s music over the last couple of days as I know nothing of this composer. One work stood out for me, and that is Arcana. I find it to be powerful, interesting, exciting and compelling listening. I also find Déserts and Amériques to be intriguing but I cannot quite grasp them yet. I will have to study them more.
I have no interest in percussion ensembles, however.  ;D

Seriously though, I did find a lot to interest me in Varese's music and I will definitely explore further, if slowly.

???

joke aside, you make a case for trying Arcana again at some point.

Yes, I think that it is certainly worth taking some time over but one would have to be in the right frame of mind for a challenge.

This is one of the versions that I found to be very appealing whenever you are ready for it:



<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/Bg3-Sdn4PPg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/Bg3-Sdn4PPg</a>


Olivier

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #123 on: October 07, 2020, 03:09:34 AM »
^So did you come around at all?

I must confess I've never gotten much out of Varèse's music, but I will try again in the future on account of several of my favorite composers rating him as a core influence.

Offline Papy Oli

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #124 on: October 07, 2020, 04:04:22 AM »
^So did you come around at all?

I must confess I've never gotten much out of Varèse's music, but I will try again in the future on account of several of my favorite composers rating him as a core influence.

Not really.

I realise now I haven't listened to that YT version of Arcana that Fergus had posted. I'll remedy to that now.
Olivier

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #125 on: October 24, 2020, 03:28:49 PM »
I've been listening to this:



Wow. It's all clicked now, Varèse, everything. ;D This is a phenomenal disc!! What a composer. His music gives me the impression that he was completely psychotic.

Offline T. D.

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #126 on: October 24, 2020, 04:24:26 PM »
I've been listening to this:



Wow. It's all clicked now, Varèse, everything. ;D This is a phenomenal disc!! What a composer. His music gives me the impression that he was completely psychotic.

Has the Chailly set become scarce? I've owned that for a long time, it was an inexpensive way to get good performances of all the works (previously I had only a few, most memorably cond. Abravanel).
Funny, I love the Chailly "Complete Varese" every time I listen, but only get the urge to pull it off the shelf every couple of years.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #127 on: October 24, 2020, 04:36:13 PM »
Has the Chailly set become scarce? I've owned that for a long time, it was an inexpensive way to get good performances of all the works (previously I had only a few, most memorably cond. Abravanel).
Funny, I love the Chailly "Complete Varese" every time I listen, but only get the urge to pull it off the shelf every couple of years.

I don't know, I've never gone looking for it. I think I will get the other Lyndon-Gee disc, on the strength of this one, but I'll likely go for the Chailly eventually, if it turns out I really do like what I'm hearing.

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #128 on: October 25, 2020, 12:24:29 AM »
Last year I picked up the Nagano twofer which appears to include a good chunk of the few works he wrote. I always like to describe Amériques as The Rite of Spring on steroids.

Offline steve ridgway

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #129 on: November 21, 2020, 08:54:49 AM »
I started with the Chailly and have found the Nagano and Lyndon-Gee discs refreshingly different and their Amériques in particular more enjoyable.

Offline T. D.

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #130 on: November 21, 2020, 09:17:39 AM »
I started with the Chailly and have found the Nagano and Lyndon-Gee discs refreshingly different and their Amériques in particular more enjoyable.

Reminds me to listen to this old release (Amériques, Nocturnal, Ecuatorial):

I vaguely recall Abravanel's Varèse as very good, but it's been a long time.

Offline aligreto

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #131 on: October 03, 2021, 06:28:24 AM »
I am a late newcomer to the work of Varese. I have just finished listening to the Vol. 2 CD under Lyndon-Gee:





Amériques - original version: I like the haunting, somewhat wistful opening bars of this work. I also like the juxtaposition of the two opening moods. They provide a wonderful contrast, tonal and sonic clashes and great points of musical interest. The tone and mood easily, initially, switches from lyrical and peaceful to harsh modern brutality with relative ease. This is a major attraction of this work for me. I also enjoy the dynamic range of the work. I also think that the scoring is very imaginative and inventive. It creates a menacing tone which is also filled with excitement. It is a very powerful and exciting and emotionally provoking work which often feels menacing and disconcerting. There is also great tension and drama in the work created by the wonderful orchestral colour and sonorities. The woodwind writing is particularly fine and atmospheric. The work gradually builds towards and concludes with a satisfactory and definitive resolution. This is a fine performance and presentation of this very fine work.

Ecuatorial: This is a powerfully scored and crafted work which is very atmospheric and both drama and tension filled. It has a very typical disconcerting tone which I am now associating with Varèse.

Nocturnal: I find the overall tone of this work to be both menacing and aggressive. This sense is achieved primarily both by the orchestral scoring and by the vocal element. The music is quite disconcerting but it is also interestingly dramatic and atmospheric. The tension throughout is also quite palpable. The contrasting vocals between the soprano and the male choir are always intriguing and atmospheric.

Dance for Burgess: I still have not quite come to terms with this work. A danse macabre perhaps? A short exercise in staccato writing perhaps? Either way, it is always tense and exciting.

Tuning Up: When you listen to this and you next sit in front of an orchestra in the process of tuning up, remember it and it will certainly bring a different complexion to this initial process. I find it to be compelling.

Hyperprism: I like this work. I like the variety and intensity of its sonic world. It is harsh and brutal, sparse and lean, but that in itself has its own beauty.

Un grand Sommeil noir: This hauntingly beautiful song is wonderfully sung here. The soprano, Elizabeth Watts, delivers a wonderful performance and, with Lyndon-Gee himself on piano, this is a wonderful presentation.

Density 21.5: This is a short and accessible work for solo flute. The musical language is relatively straightforward but still quite appealing. It pushes the range of the instrument in the higher register notes.

Ionisation: Interestingly, I had not become aware of the darker side of this music on previous hearings.



I have to admit that, by the end of the CD, I had grown quite tired of the ubiquitous siren. It had become too obvious a calling card for me and it became sonically tiring in its repetitive appearances.
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Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #132 on: October 03, 2021, 06:51:51 AM »
Amériques is amazing. My favorite work on the disc alongside Ionisation, which I was introduced to many years ago after reading Frank Zappa's autobiography.

Offline aligreto

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #133 on: October 03, 2021, 07:41:21 AM »
Amériques is amazing. My favorite work on the disc alongside Ionisation, which I was introduced to many years ago after reading Frank Zappa's autobiography.

I also like Amériques very much. I find it to be very exciting and engaging.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.