This welcome and affordable box set compiles historic early recordings of works by one of the 20th century’s most influential avant garde composers.
It begins with Nicolas Slonimsky’s 1933 recording of his groundbreaking percussion work Ionisation. Also included are the 1950 Frederic Waldman renditions that would freak out a young Frank Zappa, making him Varesé’s best-known disciple. The 1954 world premiere of orchestral / electronic suite Déserts captures the extremes of the mixed reaction it received. 1958’s tape piece Poème Électronique paved the way for a whole world of musique concrète.
Varesé’s dissonant, brass- and percussion-heavy pieces and pioneering electronic explorations still have the power to raise eyebrows today, and it’s great to have these particular recordings handily compiled.
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- The Complete Works Of Edgard Varèse, Volume 1 by Edgard Varese
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