Author Topic: Edgard Varese  (Read 30302 times)

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Sid

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #80 on: October 27, 2010, 04:12:48 PM »
Deserts is certainly exciting for me, yes it's not as propulsive as some of his other works, but like most of them, the structure is made up of blocks which are interlocked but also separate. I also notice the similarity with Xenakis, Varese's music is often based upon these granite like structures. Of course, it's also impossible to separate New York from some of his music, Ionisation could perhaps be an image in sound of that city (sirens, church (?) bells, drum beats reminding one of street parades a la Ives). Some people think Varese was too radical, but if you think about it (& read some info on what he was doing) you may see his work as an extension of what Debussy was doing in Jeux or Janacek in (say) his only Violin Sonata. By the time of the 1910's, these composers interest in traditional thematic development (the sonata form?) had vanished (not that it was ever that strong), and was replaced by structures that presented the music in seemingly unrelated blocks that were very organic and malleable. So I think this is part of the issue that you have with Deserts, MI - that it is not propeled forward in any way toward some kind of resolution, much of the music has a static immutable quality that goes agains the grain of say Ameriques, which a recent music writer called a 'poor man's Rite of Spring.' But I find it interesting how Varese was still using quite primitive technology (2 track tape) whereas in the 1970's guys like Xenakis and Stockhausen were able to utilise 8 track tape. In effect, what Varese was doing with the orchestra in his works - eg. the complex layering - was exactly what they would do in their later electronic works. If Varese had the technology of the 1970's and '80's at his disposal, his music would have probably been totally electronic (of course, he was already doing this in the Poeme Electronique, the only work of his that I have never heard). Food for thought...

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #81 on: October 27, 2010, 06:28:48 PM »
Deserts is certainly exciting for me, yes it's not as propulsive as some of his other works, but like most of them, the structure is made up of blocks which are interlocked but also separate. I also notice the similarity with Xenakis, Varese's music is often based upon these granite like structures. Of course, it's also impossible to separate New York from some of his music, Ionisation could perhaps be an image in sound of that city (sirens, church (?) bells, drum beats reminding one of street parades a la Ives). Some people think Varese was too radical, but if you think about it (& read some info on what he was doing) you may see his work as an extension of what Debussy was doing in Jeux or Janacek in (say) his only Violin Sonata. By the time of the 1910's, these composers interest in traditional thematic development (the sonata form?) had vanished (not that it was ever that strong), and was replaced by structures that presented the music in seemingly unrelated blocks that were very organic and malleable. So I think this is part of the issue that you have with Deserts, MI - that it is not propeled forward in any way toward some kind of resolution, much of the music has a static immutable quality that goes agains the grain of say Ameriques, which a recent music writer called a 'poor man's Rite of Spring.' But I find it interesting how Varese was still using quite primitive technology (2 track tape) whereas in the 1970's guys like Xenakis and Stockhausen were able to utilise 8 track tape. In effect, what Varese was doing with the orchestra in his works - eg. the complex layering - was exactly what they would do in their later electronic works. If Varese had the technology of the 1970's and '80's at his disposal, his music would have probably been totally electronic (of course, he was already doing this in the Poeme Electronique, the only work of his that I have never heard). Food for thought...

Yes,  food for thought. I will say that if people still look at Varese as a radical then they're not using their ears at all. So much development has been made in classical music thanks to his cunning way with composition. But the most interesting thing about Varese, for me, is the fact that his music is very accessible. I think works like Ameriques and Arcana should be in everybody's classical collections.
 
For me, in terms of Modern music, it all comes back to the Second Viennese School. If these three brave, innovative composers had not existed, then classical music would be very different today. They helped "get the ball rolling" so to speak for many composers.
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snyprrr

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #82 on: October 27, 2010, 09:25:21 PM »
Just listening to Deserts.

So spare,... such, almost childlike building blocks,...the empty spaces,...the primitive tape,...

sooo '50s!!! I like! 8)

I like the aimlessness of this particular piece alone. Very wasteland. It should segue into Metastasis, no? Dawn of the New Era.



I love how in the '50s, briefly, everything went to the Stone Age whilst everyone tried to cope with all the new, godlike power.

Sid

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #83 on: October 28, 2010, 04:02:52 PM »
@ snyprrr:

You probably encapsulated why my favourite Varese work is Deserts (along with Ionisation). I love the fact that you can't answer all of the questions Varese poses in these pieces, not only about music, but about many other things. I love losing myself in these pieces, not ony whilst listening to them, but (perhaps more importantly) when thinking about them. That's what I expect from all music I listen to (& not necessarily only classical) - to stimulate, engage and open up new horizons.

@ mirror image:

Yes, Schoenberg et al were important during the 1900's & 1910's & beyond, but so were guys like Scriabin, Roslavets and Ives who were doing similar things (but separate from what was going on in Vienna). Ditto Debussy, Busoni, Janacek, Prokofiev, Stravinsky and many others I'm not that familiar with. There were so many things & directions in music going on during that time all across the globe. Varese was kind of the generation between the old and new, but he was pivotal in influencing others who were emerging after World War Two like Xenakis and Carter...

Offline just Jeff

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #84 on: November 06, 2010, 05:16:14 PM »
Not sure anyone has yet noted a Varese set conducted by Konstantin Simonovich, the Paris Contemporary Music Ensemble, an EMI recording on Angel might be out of print of Deserts, Ionisation, Integrales, Density 21.5.

I have the vinyl and it sounds rather open and lucious.  I've not seen a CD issue, but have not looked very hard either.
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Offline Lisztianwagner

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #85 on: May 31, 2013, 02:35:18 AM »
About Varèse's music, I only know his Amériques, which is really a quite brilliant composition; what a great way depicting strong, vivid impressions of an american metropolis. The hauntingly beautiful climaxes, the powerful dymanics, the fierce dissonances and the massive, thrilling use of percussion create such an involving atmosphere; definitely amazing! Amériques reminds me of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring for most of the time, apart from some sections, especially those one requiring harps, which sound similar to the floating style of Debussy. Really a colourful contrast!
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Offline 7/4

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #86 on: June 02, 2013, 06:52:57 AM »

Offline lescamil

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #87 on: June 02, 2013, 09:51:25 AM »
Varèse was at the premiere of the Rite of Spring, and that opening alto flute solo should be a giveaway that he was influenced by it, for sure!
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Offline petrarch

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #88 on: March 11, 2014, 05:46:57 PM »
//p
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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #89 on: March 11, 2014, 06:04:00 PM »
Varèse was at the premiere of the Rite of Spring, and that opening alto flute solo should be a giveaway that he was influenced by it, for sure!

Saints-Saens, Ravel, and Debussy were at the premiere as well. Imagine the spectacle it must have been to witness one of the most revolutionary moments in music history. I'm sure Ravel, Debussy, and Varese were grinning from ear to ear. They knew a 20th Century master was born. Not to undermine the success of Petrouchka or The Firebird of course.
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ibanezmonster

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #90 on: March 11, 2014, 06:12:03 PM »
About Varèse's music, I only know his Amériques, which is really a quite brilliant composition; what a great way depicting strong, vivid impressions of an american metropolis. The hauntingly beautiful climaxes, the powerful dymanics, the fierce dissonances and the massive, thrilling use of percussion create such an involving atmosphere; definitely amazing! Amériques reminds me of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring for most of the time, apart from some sections, especially those one requiring harps, which sound similar to the floating style of Debussy. Really a colourful contrast!
Ameriques is a piece I always like to turn up, especially near the end.


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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #91 on: July 16, 2014, 04:51:08 AM »
In order to avoid derailing snyprrr's resurrected Xenakis (late works) thread, I will post this here.
Funny because I just downloaded the Boulez in question. I haven't listened to it yet. It will be my first encounter with Varese.
I suspect that you will love "Ameriques" and other Varese (not just because I do, but based off of what you seem to like). Be prepared to get the opening alto flute melody stuck in your head for weeks. Edge-of-your-seat music all the way through from the deceptively gentle opening to the earth-shattering finale. Some of it does indeed remind me of Rite (as someone said earlier), but I feel that it is far more "modern" and even more savage. It is hard for me to believe that it was composed only roughly ten years later than the Rite.
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Offline 7/4

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #92 on: September 09, 2014, 02:12:41 PM »

Frank Zappa Referees Tribute to Edgard Varèse
Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Q2 Music is thrilled to present an archival recording of the famous Frank Zappa-hosted concert of the music of Edgard Varèse, recorded April 17, 1981 at the now-defunct Palladium in NYC.

Offline torut

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #93 on: September 13, 2014, 09:39:36 PM »
Frank Zappa Referees Tribute to Edgard Varèse
Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Q2 Music is thrilled to present an archival recording of the famous Frank Zappa-hosted concert of the music of Edgard Varèse, recorded April 17, 1981 at the now-defunct Palladium in NYC.


It was fun. Thank you for the link. That kind of exchanges with audience are rarely heard in classical music concerts. "Ah, shut the f*** up." :laugh:
I love Ionisation.

Offline 7/4

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #94 on: September 14, 2014, 02:11:56 AM »
I was thinking that it even sounds like his conducting too, the phrasing. I need to listen to this again, I don't listen to much Zappa these days.

There's an entire album in the can of Zappa conducting Varese, Gail Zappa has been hanging on to it for years.

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #95 on: February 24, 2016, 06:59:52 AM »
I was unhappy with my answer the other day when North Star asked what the differences were in the revised (vs. original) edition of Varese's 'Murica were. So instead of playing my normal Polish National Radio Symphony (Naxos) recording, I decided to play Boulez/Chicago's revised version and take note.



I figured I'd write down and post time markings on the Boulez recording in case anyone is interested in knowing where the differences are. I pretty much have the Naxos recording memorized so it wasn't too difficult to tell where things sounded different. I am not talking about orchestration differences -- I mean actual cuts/additions.

4:30, 5:00, 6:10, 11:20 (I wrote a question mark here -- not sure why), 13:20, 16:35, 17:10, and 18:10 (through the entrance into the recapitulation.
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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #96 on: September 08, 2016, 06:45:39 AM »
I especially like Octandre.
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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #97 on: September 08, 2016, 11:52:22 AM »
So.....what would be your Varese: Greatest Hits?  :laugh:

Amériques, Arcana, Ionisation.

I love Octandre and Hyperprism too but decided to keep my Greatest Hits to three (considering he only composed 17 works).


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Offline Heck148

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #98 on: November 02, 2016, 05:19:27 AM »
Mehta's (premiere?) recording of Arcana with the L.A. Phil is still the one to beat, I think.

I'll take Martinon/Chicago from 3/66....amazing

Quote
I don't really disagree with James' opinion about the Boulez, but I must say that I felt a lot better when I had gotten several different recordings of Varèse.

I enjoy the Boulez disc, very good...

Offline Scion7

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #99 on: December 25, 2016, 01:48:02 AM »
Oh how much I would give to hear his lost works (which includes a symphony and two operas!)  :(
I believe the correct term for the symphonies is not lost, rather he destroyed them, for whatever justification he had in his mind.
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