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Edgard Varèse: Composer, Sound Sculptor, Visionary [Hardcover]

Felix Meyer , Heidy Zimmermann

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Book Description

April 20 2006 Paul Sacher Foundation
Edgard Varèse, the pioneering composer of electronic music, formed the subject of a major exhibition in Basel in 2006; it displayed many previously unknown documents from the composer's estate, including manuscripts, letters, and other material. This volume contains detailed commentaries on all the items on display, as well as thirty-two essays by leading authors from Europe and America. Varèse's life and music are discussed under the following headings: Influences - Points of Orientation; Conductor and Initiator in New York; Probing Uncharted Territory; Impact and Reception. Many previously unknown documents from the composer's estate, recently acquired by the Paul Sacher Foundation, form the basis of a nuanced picture of Varèse's life, musical thought, and compositional output. BR> The book is lavishly illustrated with facsimiles of manuscripts, letters, and other documents from the composer's collection, as well as reproductions of paintings, drawings and sculpture documenting Varèse's close ties to the visual arts. Contributors: JONATHAN W. BERNARD, GIANMARIO BORIO, DIANE BOUCHARD, AUSTIN CLARKSON, HERMANN DANUSER, MICHEL DUCHESNEAU, SABINE FEISST, KYLE GANN, FRITZ GERBER, THEO HIRSBRUNNER, ANNE JOSTKLEIGREWE, MATTHIAS KASSEL, SYLVIA KAHAN, KLAUS KROPFINGER, ERNST LICHTENHAHN, MALCOLM MACDONALD, GUIDO MAGNAGUAGNO, OLIVIA MATTIS, ULRICH MOSCH, HELGA DE LA MOTTE-HABER, FELIX MEYER, DIETER NANZ, ROBERT PIENCIKOWSKI, WOLFGANG RATHERT, DAVID SCHIFF, ANNE C. SHREFFLER, HEINZ STAHLHUT, JÜRG STENZL, DENISE VON GLAHN, CHOU WEN-CHUNG, HEIDY ZIMMERMANN. Published in cooperation with the Paul Sacher Foundation.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 500 pages
  • Publisher: Boydell Press (April 20 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843832119
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843832119
  • Product Dimensions: 28.5 x 24.5 x 4.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 Kg
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,034,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Should go a long way to restoring the status of this composer who is, frankly, as often misunderstood as he is nevertheless alluded to. (...) What's remarkable about the book is that specialists and experts are likely to find much material of interest to them as are newcomers genuinely curious to understand why such an apparently "retiring" figure as Varèse is considered so important. Indeed, the editors, Felix Meyer and Heidy Zimmermann, have done a remarkable job in contextualizing and weighing then setting into relief the contexts and proportional importances of the aspects and phases on Varèse's work and life. (...) All in all, Edgard Varèse: Composer, Sound Sculptor, VisionaryI\> is now theB\> source for all matters concerning this... highly influential composer, sculptor of sound and - obviously - visionary. CLASSICAL.NET What... should be emphasized is the enormous contribution this volume makes to our understanding of a composer increasingly recognized as central to the timbral, technological, and aesthetic developments of twentieth-century music. MUSIC & LETTERSThis book will likely impel readers to immerse themselves in the forceful, pioneering music of Varese. Recommended. CHOICEThis large and handsomely-designed volume...encapsulates a mass of fresh information, letters and tributes from Varese associates all the way from Debussy...to Boulez and Frank Zappa. No-one interested in this composer, or indeed the 20th century modernist adventure as a whole, should be without it. BBC MUSIC (Bayan Northcott)Lavishly illustrated...this publication becomes, at once, the first port of call for information about the composer and his music. There are discoveries everywhere. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT (Paul Griffiths)The volume includes analyses of many of his important works...supported by beautifully reproduced examples from scores and sketches...Boydell has raised the standard for completeness, annotation, and presentation in retrospective volumes on contemporary composers. SIGNAL TO NOISE

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pinnicle book of Varese July 19 2008
By scarecrow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Varese always had an overflow state, he had more conceptual frames,more ideas on timbre, sound, its form and structure,projection, tension in linear arrays/lines than he knew what to do with, he fairly much pioneered, ushered in the utilization of electronic sound in music,he had the courage to introduce all this at times when pratically no one was really interested in musical academia, it was more corporate science entities who supported his ideas as the Phillips Pavilion in Brussles World's Fair circa 1958, for his "Poeme Electronique", the first musique concrete piece that had any influence and later Bell Labs and electronic music producers gave bucks in support; Varese's life implied one of questions, although he was a really down-to-earth guy, early acting as Rodin's assistant, meeting Debussy and Stravinsky,much of the music from the earliest of times is now lost.He also crossed paths with Duchamp,Breton,Rivera,and Trotsky I believe,also begging nagging questions on what is music?,(there was a time when this was a hot topic) what is noise?, what is form? what is aesthetics?, how does the industrialized city impact on how one writes music, Varese also had incredible influence on many composers,Cage,Harrison,Zappa, Boulez, Stockhausen Shapey, Xenakis, not to mention the hundreds of electronic and percussion composers,also rockers; you never hear about and never will within the neo-liberal order.

We are indeed fortunate that The Sacher Foundation provided the funds to produce this glossy, tomb of a book,discounting the price, to make it within reach of poor stuggling composers and musicians;all with wonderful essay contributions(some quite glib) from hard-core academia,Schreffler,Wen Chung; Schiff, Bernard,to maverick journalists,Gann, to unmentionable writers to tried, true and tested ones as well. There is also wonderful graphic,pieces never completed, sketches, work drafts, tables, combines,shibboleths,notes,scribblings,restaurant writings;all items from the Archive reproduced herein,((although the paper is turning(has already) turned brown on some)) you will never see anywheres else, and you learn of his interesting commonplace way of working, editing by simply taping things together with black encumbered electrical tape, or utilizing lumbered eroding pieces of corroding cardboard, and cabbage-condition accounting paper, whatever was at hand. Who knows how Varese supported himself, he was able to hear all his works during his lifetime thanks to conductors as Ralph Shapey when they both lived in New York City, later Boulez educated the great unwashed on the mysteries in his music, music like the imploding tension of a suspension bridge. Great Read. . .
5.0 out of 5 stars Every major composer deserves a biographical work like this June 14 2014
By Frank Rebro - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
You cannot find a more beautiful and all-encompassing book on Edgard Varese than this one. One doesn't exist! Bursting with detailed essays, anecdotes, pictures, scores, interviews, and etc. It's a show-stopper of a tome, a coffeetable piece worthy of a museum exhibit. I only know of one other book that's like this one: "Vertical Thoughts", covering Morton Feldman. It's another magnificent giant picture-&-essay book that encapsulates one of the 20th century's greatest avant-garde composers. If only Stravinsky, Ligeti, Takemitsu, Reich, and many more deserving composers could get this kind of treatment!

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