Varèse: Astronomer in Sound

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Kahn & Averill, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 423 pages
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"The works of Edgard VarFse (18831965) represent the most radical expression of 20th-century modernism in music. A friend of Debussy, Strauss, and Busoni, he lived to become the conscience of modern American music and a colleague of Cage, Boulez, and Xenakis. This intensive study of VarFse's music comprises a series of descriptive analyses of all VarFse's available works, addressing the ideas, both aesthetic and scientific, which underlie the composer's boldly original view of sound and musical structure. Also discussed is VarFse's conception of music as influenced by both 20th-century humanities' expanding consciousness of its place in the universe and the esoteric philosophies of late 19th-century Paris. As much of VarFse's oeuvre has been tragically destroyed, MacDonald demonstrates the possibility of inferring much of his lost early works, such as the unachieved choral symphony Espace, designed to be performed simultaneously in various capitals around the world, enlarging listeners' appreciation of his works that survive. Also explored for the first time in print are the previously unpublished scores Tuning Up and Dance for Burgess and the reinstated original version of AmTriques, released for performance in 1998 by VarFse's executor Chou Wen Chung."

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Contents

the enigma of the early music
3
aspects of Vareses developing aesthetic
32
Wronski to Busoni
50
From the Seine to Brooklyn Bridge
81
Flowering crystals
134
A new star and a new heaven
185
Nova and Ion
213
Path of the lightning
263
Lost in space
287
Deserts of the mind
329
Inquisition
366
Beyond the night
381
Index
415
Copyright

About the author (2003)

Malcolm MacDonald is the editor of Tempo, a quarterly review of modern music, and the author of Master Musicians: Brahms and Master Musicians: Schoenberg.

Bibliographic information