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Edgard Varese Paperback – June, 1975

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd (June 1975)
  • ISBN-10: 071450209X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714502090
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By farington on June 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I originally read this book in the '70's, when I was just starting to listen to Varese. I found it to be an excellent guide to Varese's artistic philosophies and goals. It shows how his music evolved in the historic context of futurism, "art of noise" and musique concrete, while remaining quite a bit different than any of them. Varese's notions of music were pretty radical and it helps to know what he was trying to achieve in order to "get it" when listening. This book is a great help for this. Even with the book, it took me about a year of listening before I started to really hear what Varese was doing, but the effort was well worth it.

This book is in fact a biography, though for someone like Varese, whose life was his music, the discussion of his music is inseparable from a narrative of his life. His life was not filled with courtly intrigues, diabolical rivalries, wild love affairs, etc. etc., so maybe a story of his life will not seem as "interesting" as all those books about Classical and Romantic-era composers. So much the better. I'm generally much more interested in artists' art than in artists' lives.

I've read Amazon reviews of other Varese biographies (notably the one by Alan Clayson), and evidently these biographies are pretty awful. The start-off point always seems to be Frank Zappa and other late-60's pop musicians. That is not a problem with Oeullette's book because it was written in 1966, so there are no pop music references in it. (There is, however, an interesting mention that Charlie Parker had been interested in Varese's music and had planned on contacting Varese about private study, shortly before Parker's death.
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