Arcana (for large orchestra) – Edgar Varèse

 

Edgard Victor Achille Charles Varèse also spelled Edgar Varèse; December 22, 1883 – November 6, 1965) was an innovative French-born composer who spent the greater part of his career in the United States.

Varèse’s music emphasizes timbre and rhythm. He was the inventor of the term “organized sound”, a phrase meaning that certain timbres and rhythms can be grouped together, sublimating into a whole new definition of music. Although his complete surviving works only last about three hours, he has been recognised as an influence by several major composers of the late 20th century. His use of new instruments and electronic resources led to his being known as the “Father of Electronic Music” while Henry Miller described him as “The stratospheric Colossus of Sound”.

Works

  • Un grand sommeil noir, song to a text by Paul Verlaine for voice and piano (1906)
  • Amériques for large orchestra (1918–1921; revised 1927)
  • Offrandes for soprano and chamber orchestra (poems by Vicente Huidobro and José Juan Tablada)(1921)
  • Hyperprism for wind and percussion(1922–1923)
  • Octandre for seven wind instruments and double bass (1923)
  • Intégrales for wind and percussion (1924–1925)
  • Arcana for large orchestra (1925–1927)
  • Ionisation for 13 percussion players (1929–1931)
  • Ecuatorial for bass voice (or unison male chorus), brass, organ, percussion and theremins (revised for ondes-martenots in 1961) (text by Francisco Ximénez) (1932–1934)
  • Density 21.5 for solo flute (1936)
  • Tuning Up for orchestra (sketched 1946; completed by Chou Wen-Chung, 1998)
  • Étude pour espace for soprano solo, chorus, 2 pianos and percussion (1947; orchestrated and arranged by Chou Wen-chung for wind instruments and percussion for spatialized live performance, 2009) (texts by Kenneth Patchen, José Juan Tablada and St. John of the Cross)
  • Dance for Burgess for chamber ensemble (1949)
  • Déserts for wind, percussion and electronic tape (1950–1954)
  • La procession de verges for electronic tape (soundtrack for Around and About Joan Mirò, directed by Thomas Bouchard) (1955)
  • Poème électronique for electronic tape (1957–1958)
  • Nocturnal for soprano, male chorus and orchestra, text adapted from The House of Incest by Anaïs Nin (1961), revised and completed posthumously by Chou Wen-Chung (1968)
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