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Edgard Varèse (1883-1965)



Edgard Varèse Conducts a Jazz Workshop (1957)
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From WFMU's Beware of the Blog

Edgard Varèse conducts a workshop with jazzmen Art Farmer (trumpet), Hal McKusik (clarinet, alto sax), Teo Macero (tenor sax), Eddie Bert (trombone), Frank Rehak (trombone), Don Butterfield (tuba), Hall Overton (piano), Charlie Mingus (bass), Ed Shaughnessy (drums), probably John La Porta (alto sax)... We don't know who is on vibes...

It might be the first free jazz recording (totally unissued) of History of Music. Varèse might have influenced jazzmen or was he only aware of what was happening on the jazz scene? No matter of the answer, it's a bomb, as this music is 3 years earlier than Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman! We also know Charlie Parker wanted to study with Varèse in autumn 1954 but the composer flew to Europe to conduct Déserts. When he came back to New York in May 1955, Parker had already died. We also know that Varèse used to listen to John Coltrane at the Village.

Between March and August 1957, these Sunday jam-sessions were followed by arranger George Handy, journalist Robert Reisner, composers James Tenney, Earle Brown and John Cage, choreographer Merce Cunningham. The organizers were Earle Brown and Teo Macero who will become Miles Davis' producer among others. Varèse used certain extracts of the workshop for his Poème électronique.

The original of this tape is at Fondation Paul Sacher.



Various Tracks


1. Edgard Varèse - Ionisation

from History Making Performances Conducted by Nicolas Slonimksy



From History of Electronic / Electroacoustic Music (1937-2001):

  1. Varèse, Edgard - Déserts - Présentation pour la première modiale

  2. Varèse, Edgard - Déserts - 1950-54 - for orchestra and tape - World première with Hermann Scherchen

    The first performance of the combined orchestral and tape sound composition was given at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris on December 2, 1954, with Hermann Scherchen conducting and Pierre Henry in charge of the tape part. This performance was part of an ORTF broadcast concert, in front of a totally unprepared and mainly conservative audience, with Déserts wedged between pieces by Mozart and Tchaikovsky. It received a vitriolic reaction from both the audience and the press.

  3. Varèse, Edgard - Déserts - 1950-54 - for orchestra and tape - With Ricardo Chailly

  4. Varèse, Edgard - Poème Electronique – 1958



Les Mémorables d'Edgard Varèse (French radio broadcasts)
  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2
  3. Part 3
  4. Part 4
  5. Part 5

Semaine du 24 Janvier 2005

Edgar Varèse, né à Paris en 1883 et élevé en France et en Italie, arrête rapidement ses études d'ingénieur pour consacrer sa vie à la musique. Connu aujourd'hui comme l'un des pionniers de la musique électro-acoustique, il est aussi célébré que détesté à chacune de ses créations.

Edgar Varèse ne cessera tout au long de sa carrière de rechercher la façon la plus juste de peindre, à travers son oeuvre, l'âme humaine. Naturalisé américain en 1926, il décède à New-York, en novembre 1965.

Arnaud Laporte vous propose, pendant toute une semaine, de retrouver la voix du compositeur Edgar Varèse au micro de Georges Charbonnier, une série d'entretiens enregistrés et diffusés, pour la première fois, il y a tout juste 50 ans, en 1955.



RELATED RESOURCES:

History Making Performances, Conducted by Nicolas Slonimksy
Edgar Varèse in UbuWeb Film




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