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Varèse: The Complete Works

4.3 out of 5 stars 29 ratings

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Audio CD, Import, September 15, 1998
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For a composer who is (now) recognizably part of the 20th-century classical canon, the French émigré Edgard Varèse's output was astoundingly meager. Just 15 compositions from his entire life (he destroyed the compositions from his early years, and was a merciless editor of his own material in general) made it out to the listening world. Varèse was caught in the chasm between the music of yesterday and the music of tomorrow: scoring music for modified theremin, steamboat whistles, or air sirens, all balanced with the force of a large orchestra; writing pieces based on the flows of water and wind because that's what shapes the earth; using the concepts of chemical reactions and specific gravity as a basis for his music. Using extremes of contrast, dissonance, and variety in sound, Varèse's pieces had power in the way he attacked and shaped the sound he imagined. From Ionisation (1929), scored almost entirely for unpitched percussion, to the electronic-only, three-dimensionally produced Poeme Electronique (1958), he's provided a foundation that many genres, musicians, and composers were to build from not only for the next 40 years, but inevitably beyond. --Robin Edgerton


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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
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Reviewed in the United States on August 30, 2017
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Top international reviews

Richard R. DiPuma
5.0 out of 5 stars Basic listening for 21century music and beyond
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 5, 2013
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Colonel Mustard
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Varèse Edition!
Reviewed in Canada on April 18, 2013
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Robert Meldrum
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 22, 2017
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