Varese: Astronomer in Sound
The works of Edgard Varese (1883-1965) represent the most radical expression of 20th-century modernism in music. A friend of Debussy, Strauss, and ... Show synopsis The works of Edgard Varese (1883-1965) 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 Varese's music comprises a series of descriptive analyses of all Varese'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 Varese'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 Varese'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 Also explored for the first time in print are the previously unpublished scores Tuning Up and Dance for Burgess and the reinstated original version of Ameriques, released for performance in 1998 by Varese's executor Chou Wen Chung.