Edgard Varèse

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Varèse, Edgard


Born Dec. 22, 1885, in Paris; died Nov. 7, 1965, in New York. American composer, conductor, and public figure in music. French by nationality.

Varèse studied composition under A. Roussel, V. d’Indy, and C. Widor in Paris. In 1908 he appeared in Berlin with the Symphonic Chorus, which had been organized by him. Beginning in 1915, Várese lived in the USA, where he founded a number of musical groups and organizations; he also took part in creating the Pan-American Association of Composers (1926). Várese was a representative of modern musical avantgardism. He experimented with the renovation of timbre in the musical idiom with the aid of modern technology and industrial noises; he utilized electronic music (Electronic Poem; Ionization, written for 41 percussion instruments and two sirens); and he tried to extend the acoustical potentials of musical instruments. Although public performances of Varèse’s works in Europe and the USA evoked protests from the audiences, he influenced modern avant-gardists.


Wilkinson, M. “Edgar Varèese—Pioneer and Prophet.” Melos, 1961, no. 3.
Ouellette, F. Edgard Varèese. Paris, 1966. (Contains bibliography.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Though such language is in common use among analysts and theorists, I was struck by the unusual prominence it had in Bernard's metatheory, particularly in framing the argument for pitch pritnacy (I strongly recommend reading this argument in The Music of Edgard Varese, 128-33; see also "Varese Bound," 248-50).
MRI, set to music of Edgard Varese, is performed on high bars and cargo nets suspended eight feet above the stage.
Selznick, motion picture producer, June 22, at 63; and Edgard Varese, the French-born composer regarded as the father of electronic music, Nov.
The Music of Edgard Varese, properly speaking, has not yet been written.
The correspondence includes letters to and from Edgard Varese, Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, Pierre Boulez, and many other well-known musical figures.
Here puppets portray Huyghe and the architect Le Corbusier, among others, in a real-life drama with background music by Edgard Varese and Iannis Xenakis.
But the question remains whether a book entitled The Music of Edgard Varese should treat the composer as an icon of late twentieth-century music or as a composer in his own time (not "ahead of his time," a designation he always rejected).
But when he discovered an Edgard Varese recording, that set him off on a lifelong course of experimental composition.
The moving-image element, clocking in at exactly sixty seconds, consists of brilliant post card views of a rocky, tundra-coated Norwegian hillside and is set to music by French composer Edgard Varese that feels like a sci-fi movie score (in the movie's final frames, stems and flowers push their way through the ground at time-lapse speed).
Indeed, the only unifying element in this disparate collection--which includes musique concrete by Pierre Schaeffer, Nam June Paik, and John Cage; electronic music by Henri Pousseur, Edgard Varese, lannis Xenakis, and Pauline Oliveros; and experiments by rock bands like Einsturzende Neubauten--may be the alteration of sounds after their initial generation.
The following chapter, "The Community of the Ultramoderns," returns to the mavericks, profiling Edgard Varese, Carl Ruggles, Charles Seeger, and Henry Cowell briefly, but its real focus is on the development of self-organizing societies of musicians.
There is also a long tradition of Western art music composed for (or inspired by) particular buildings and spaces, from Guillaume Dufay's 1436 motet, Nuper rosarum flores, written to mirror the proportions of a Brunelleschi dome, to Edgard Varese's Poeme electronique for Le Corbusier's 1958 World's Fair pavilion, and Morton Feldman's Rothko Chapel of 1971.