Author Topic: Edgard Varese  (Read 30343 times)

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snyprrr

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #60 on: August 04, 2010, 06:21:05 PM »
Missed the Chailly set on Ebay,... for $5!! :-[

Offline just Jeff

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #61 on: August 15, 2010, 08:50:24 PM »
Missed the Chailly set on Ebay,... for $5!! :-[

The Chailly and the Mehta/LA Decca recordings get the top ratings for CD issues.  $5 for that double set, yes!
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #62 on: October 08, 2010, 08:15:00 PM »
BUMP
“There will be sunshine again and the violins will sing of peace on earth.” - Closing line from Weinberg’s Symphony No. 6, Op. 79

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #63 on: October 08, 2010, 08:18:57 PM »
I've been listening to Chailly's 2-CD set of Varese's music and it's really interesting music. I haven't heard a wasted note yet! Very accessible music surprisingly.
 
I heard Boulez's earlier recordings are quite good, but don't surpass Chailly's in sheer orchestral brilliance and audio quality. Anyone have any opinion on the Boulez recordings?
 
The Naxos recordings look interesting as well. Right now, I'm just going to try absorb the Chailly set and see where it leads me.
 
P.S. I hope Sid is reading this. :)
« Last Edit: October 08, 2010, 08:20:34 PM by Mirror Image »
“There will be sunshine again and the violins will sing of peace on earth.” - Closing line from Weinberg’s Symphony No. 6, Op. 79

Sid

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #64 on: October 10, 2010, 04:32:57 PM »
I've been listening to Chailly's 2-CD set of Varese's music and it's really interesting music. I haven't heard a wasted note yet! Very accessible music surprisingly...

 
P.S. I hope Sid is reading this. :)

Yes, I am reading this - always like to read about Varese. I think Varese's music takes me where other composers might not. But it is very intense, and I have to be in the right head-space to access it (a bit like some other C20th masters, Messiaen comes to mind). Varese's orchestration/instrumentation is interesting and unique, because he didn't write much for the strings, it's all focussed on the winds and percussion.

I have the Naxos recordings, I haven't heard any other recordings. I think that there are a number of good recordings out there, from Chailly to Nagano & Boulez. I even saw the (live) world premiere recording of Deserts in the store a while back, conducted by Helmut Scherchen. That would have maybe been interesting, though generally I don't like to double up on works that I already have. I think people have mentioned above how that performance didn't go down well with the audience (it was a 2-cd set, with the other works at that concert, like Purcell, Mozart and Tchaikovsky - maybe it wasn't the right context to present Varese's work?).

The main thing with Varese, which is a pity, is that he had such a small output. Most of his early works were destroyed when a fire broke out in a warehouse in Berlin where they were in storage. Varese also sent a symphonic work of his to Bartok for evaluation and opinion, but it apparently got lost in the mail. I'm surprised he didn't keep a copy(?). & in his final years, Varese was extemely self-critical, producing little and actually destroying some works (his assistant Chou Wen Chung apparently saved a few from the trash bin). Oh well, at least we have what we have and though his output is small, he was one of the most influential composers of the C20th...

Offline Dax

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #65 on: October 11, 2010, 01:08:57 AM »
I even saw the (live) world premiere recording of Deserts in the store a while back, conducted by Helmut Scherchen. That would have maybe been interesting, though generally I don't like to double up on works that I already have.

I posted it on page 2 of this thread. Here it is again.

http://www.sendspace.com/file/fhqnsr

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #66 on: October 11, 2010, 07:49:11 AM »
My favorite Varese works are Ameriques, Un grand sommeil noir, Tuning Up, and Arcana. I find these works to be the most musically interesting or at least to me anyway.
“There will be sunshine again and the violins will sing of peace on earth.” - Closing line from Weinberg’s Symphony No. 6, Op. 79

karlhenning

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #67 on: October 11, 2010, 08:13:10 AM »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #68 on: October 11, 2010, 08:16:53 AM »
MI, I suspect you may enjoy this:


Varèse
Amériques (version for two pianos, eight hands)
Helena Bugallo, Amy Williams, Amy Briggs, Benjamin Engeli


I'm not much for chamber works, Karl, so I'm not sure how intuned with the music I would be.
“There will be sunshine again and the violins will sing of peace on earth.” - Closing line from Weinberg’s Symphony No. 6, Op. 79

snyprrr

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #69 on: October 25, 2010, 01:08:06 PM »
Well, after everyone's suggestions,... I went with,... Nagano!!

I've been comparing to the YouTube's Chaillys, and Boulez, and Nagano comes out like a great alternative. The imaging may not be as crystal clear as the Decca recording, but where you crank it up,  :owoah, there is dynamic range to this disc! From what I heard, everyone finds something different to emphasize, but everyone seems to keep the energy up.

One example:

At the beginning of Ameriques, Nagano takes the percussion entry louder than the rest, to good effect, but everyone else has a more,...mmm,...studiofied sounding recording. Nagano's recording has the brass up front and the percussion behind, which sometimes leaves the percussion not as crisply ti8nkling as the others. But, like I said, when you crank it up, this problem goes away. As a recording, this is up there in earthquake territory. The Decca recording seems musch more perfected, but the Apex/Erato recording has a thrilling edge.

Phyllis Bryn-Julson sounds like a living statue in her bits (meant as a compliment ;)), and Nicholas Isherwood's bass in Ecuatorial is very impressive (as is the bass response in this piece! :o).

Hey, considering how expensive that Decca set can be, this is a great alternative, probably even cheaper than the two Naxos discs. Nagano brings out the violence very nicely,... you really feel the tropical humidity and the ancient rites. And everyone contributes a variety of rude sounds exclusive to this recording.

I don't want to take away from anyone's sacred cow, but please don't discount this great cycle! And, currently, it is quite competitive. I have a feeling I'm going to been listening to this a LOT! ;D

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #70 on: October 25, 2010, 06:26:55 PM »
Well, after everyone's suggestions,... I went with,... Nagano!!

I've been comparing to the YouTube's Chaillys, and Boulez, and Nagano comes out like a great alternative. The imaging may not be as crystal clear as the Decca recording, but where you crank it up,  :owoah, there is dynamic range to this disc! From what I heard, everyone finds something different to emphasize, but everyone seems to keep the energy up.

One example:

At the beginning of Ameriques, Nagano takes the percussion entry louder than the rest, to good effect, but everyone else has a more,...mmm,...studiofied sounding recording. Nagano's recording has the brass up front and the percussion behind, which sometimes leaves the percussion not as crisply ti8nkling as the others. But, like I said, when you crank it up, this problem goes away. As a recording, this is up there in earthquake territory. The Decca recording seems musch more perfected, but the Apex/Erato recording has a thrilling edge.

Phyllis Bryn-Julson sounds like a living statue in her bits (meant as a compliment ;) ), and Nicholas Isherwood's bass in Ecuatorial is very impressive (as is the bass response in this piece! :o ).

Hey, considering how expensive that Decca set can be, this is a great alternative, probably even cheaper than the two Naxos discs. Nagano brings out the violence very nicely,... you really feel the tropical humidity and the ancient rites. And everyone contributes a variety of rude sounds exclusive to this recording.

I don't want to take away from anyone's sacred cow, but please don't discount this great cycle! And, currently, it is quite competitive. I have a feeling I'm going to been listening to this a LOT! ;D

Boulez (both on Sony and DG) has turned in some amazing Varese performances. Chailly's set is also very good and contains the original score to Ameriques. I haven't heard Nagano's recording(s), but I suspect he doesn't reach the precision that Boulez and Chailly are able to muster from these highly inventive scores. I wouldn't want to be without Boulez or Chailly.
“There will be sunshine again and the violins will sing of peace on earth.” - Closing line from Weinberg’s Symphony No. 6, Op. 79

Sid

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #71 on: October 25, 2010, 06:30:53 PM »
...I haven't heard Nagano's recording(s), but I suspect he doesn't reach the precision that Boulez and Chailly are able to muster from these highly inventive scores...

How can you judge Nagano's conducting if you haven't heard it? I've heard him doing some modern stuff on radio, and to my mind, he's pretty good...

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #72 on: October 25, 2010, 06:42:27 PM »
How can you judge Nagano's conducting if you haven't heard it? I've heard him doing some modern stuff on radio, and to my mind, he's pretty good...

Because I own many of Nagano's recordings and haven't been too impressed with his conducting. His recording of Messiaen's Turangalila Symphonie, for example, was quite mediocre.
“There will be sunshine again and the violins will sing of peace on earth.” - Closing line from Weinberg’s Symphony No. 6, Op. 79

Sid

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #73 on: October 25, 2010, 06:55:56 PM »
Well, I think he's hardly a "mediocre" conductor if he has lead some of the finest orchestras of the world. I haven't heard his Messiaen, but have got his recording with baritone Jose Van Dam doing the "Jederman" song cycle of Frank Martin & I think that must be one of my favourite recordings of that type of repertoire. He brings out the latent romanticism and Bergian rumination in the music perfectly. The colours of the orchestra are pretty amazing (I think it was one of the French orchestras?)...

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #74 on: October 25, 2010, 07:05:00 PM »
Well, I think he's hardly a "mediocre" conductor if he has lead some of the finest orchestras of the world. I haven't heard his Messiaen, but have got his recording with baritone Jose Van Dam doing the "Jederman" song cycle of Frank Martin & I think that must be one of my favourite recordings of that type of repertoire. He brings out the latent romanticism and Bergian rumination in the music perfectly. The colours of the orchestra are pretty amazing (I think it was one of the French orchestras?)...

I didn't say he was a mediocre conductor, I said I didn't like his conducting. I called the overall performance from both Nagano and the orchestra mediocre. In other words, I have heard better recordings of this work.
 
Nagano is quite a knowledgeable musician, but I just haven't been moved by any of his performances yet. Do I need your permission to dislike something? Last time I checked, I was free to formulate my own opinions.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2010, 07:15:33 PM by Mirror Image »
“There will be sunshine again and the violins will sing of peace on earth.” - Closing line from Weinberg’s Symphony No. 6, Op. 79

snyprrr

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #75 on: October 25, 2010, 07:44:13 PM »

Boulez (both on Sony and DG) has turned in some amazing Varese performances. Chailly's set is also very good and contains the original score to Ameriques. I haven't heard Nagano's recording(s), but I suspect he doesn't reach the precision that Boulez and Chailly are able to muster from these highly inventive scores. I wouldn't want to be without Boulez or Chailly.

I would have assumed the same. It was the Amazon reviewer who converted me. He said he thought it was Nagano's greatest performance, and went on and on about Nagano vs Nagano vs Boulez,... so,...

The Decca may be "perfect" in the recording dept, and sure, in performance, but this recording has a,... I love to use the word 'feral',... I think there is a unique excitement going on here. The recorded image is more 'live', and less absolute perfection, but, like I said, when you turn up the volume,...ka-bamm!!

This is a Sleeper!

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #76 on: October 25, 2010, 08:23:20 PM »
I would have assumed the same. It was the Amazon reviewer who converted me. He said he thought it was Nagano's greatest performance, and went on and on about Nagano vs Nagano vs Boulez,... so,...

The Decca may be "perfect" in the recording dept, and sure, in performance, but this recording has a,... I love to use the word 'feral',... I think there is a unique excitement going on here. The recorded image is more 'live', and less absolute perfection, but, like I said, when you turn up the volume,...ka-bamm!!

This is a Sleeper!

Well then perhaps I shall acquire this recording at some point. Since it's on Apex/Warner Classics, it should be quite cheap.
“There will be sunshine again and the violins will sing of peace on earth.” - Closing line from Weinberg’s Symphony No. 6, Op. 79

Sid

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #77 on: October 26, 2010, 06:18:09 PM »
Yes, it's great that we have a variety of Varese recordings - and he's even being performed live a bit more often in the Northern hemisphere nowadays. Earlier this year, there was a series of concerts of his complete works in the Netherlands and London. Large halls (former factory buildings) were used, and I think that these kinds of spaces really suit the music - the audience being subjected to a maelstrom of sounds mirroring the post-industrial era in buildings that actually housed some of the old industries. The Naxos recordings were also done in Poland, during a Varese festival there. Unfortunately, I can't imagine his stuff done to this scale down here in Australia - too much wind players and percussionists needed - but this year Ionisation was performed in Perth, Western Australia (of all places!).

I think that deep down, Varese was a bit of a romantic at heart. He didn't compose according to a method - like serialism, however loosely it was used by Schoenberg and his acolytes. Varese's music has this impulsive aspect - he'd just do things in a certain way because he liked it. The high point of his music was Deserts, where he combined an orchestra with two-tracked tape. There was really a sense of breaking new ground with that work. I have been reading a book on C20th music by Arnold Whittall (some of his stuff is on Google Books for free) and he said that after Deserts and the Poeme Electronique, there was a sense of pessimism that crept in to Varese's music. His last work, Nocturnal (for soprano, male choir and ensemble) is really dark. There's not much light at the end of the tunnel, especially as it deals with Anais Nin's text which speaks of incest. It's a bit bizarre why Varese would choose this dark and inward world at the end of a career that seemed to produce works that at times reflect physical structures or epic (but scarred all the same?) landscapes. I love Nocturnal just like his other works, but one has to admit that it is pretty unusual for his output (a new direction?)...

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #78 on: October 27, 2010, 02:08:12 AM »
Yes, it's great that we have a variety of Varese recordings - and he's even being performed live a bit more often in the Northern hemisphere nowadays. Earlier this year, there was a series of concerts of his complete works in the Netherlands and London. Large halls (former factory buildings) were used, and I think that these kinds of spaces really suit the music - the audience being subjected to a maelstrom of sounds mirroring the post-industrial era in buildings that actually housed some of the old industries. The Naxos recordings were also done in Poland, during a Varese festival there. Unfortunately, I can't imagine his stuff done to this scale down here in Australia - too much wind players and percussionists needed - but this year Ionisation was performed in Perth, Western Australia (of all places!).

I think that deep down, Varese was a bit of a romantic at heart. He didn't compose according to a method - like serialism, however loosely it was used by Schoenberg and his acolytes. Varese's music has this impulsive aspect - he'd just do things in a certain way because he liked it. The high point of his music was Deserts, where he combined an orchestra with two-tracked tape. There was really a sense of breaking new ground with that work. I have been reading a book on C20th music by Arnold Whittall (some of his stuff is on Google Books for free) and he said that after Deserts and the Poeme Electronique, there was a sense of pessimism that crept in to Varese's music. His last work, Nocturnal (for soprano, male choir and ensemble) is really dark. There's not much light at the end of the tunnel, especially as it deals with Anais Nin's text which speaks of incest. It's a bit bizarre why Varese would choose this dark and inward world at the end of a career that seemed to produce works that at times reflect physical structures or epic (but scarred all the same?) landscapes. I love Nocturnal just like his other works, but one has to admit that it is pretty unusual for his output (a new direction?)...

I think Deserts isn't that great of a work. It doesn't have the forward momentum of say Arcana or Ameriques. There is just nothing propelling this work foward. It certainly isn't an exciting piece, which when I listen to his music I listen to it for its raw power, though I do love Tuning Up and that vocal work Un Grand Sommeil Noir. But this is merely my opinion.
“There will be sunshine again and the violins will sing of peace on earth.” - Closing line from Weinberg’s Symphony No. 6, Op. 79

snyprrr

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Re: Edgard Varese
« Reply #79 on: October 27, 2010, 07:08:58 AM »
Deserts makes me want to listen to Kraanerg.

I've been listening to this Nagano set for days now.

Has anyone noticed how Varese starts almost every piece with the same kind of 'signaling' figure in the woodwinds (as with Density 21,5)? I'm hearing a lot more of the snake charmer music in there too.

I hear a lot of pre-Xenakis in those signaling bits. I think also, this Nagano set has the Orchestre National de France,... isn't this the group that played most of the Xenakis on those old Erato LPs (or was that ROTF?)?

ahhh,...Varese is soooo refreshing, no?