What Fresh Hell Is This?

December 22, 2016

December 22 - A Very Interesting Birthday!

Edgard Varèse was born today in 1883.

Most of you probably won't know the name - or any of the music he composed.  But he comes highly recommended:
Throughout his career, Charlie Parker publicly acknowledged his admiration for Varese, who was his Greenwich Village neighbor. “I had the pleasure of meeting Edgar Varese,” he once said on Boston radio, “The French composer. He was very nice to me. He’s willing to teach me. He wants to compose something for me.” Of these encounters, Varese remarked, “He stopped by my place a number of times. He was like a child, with the shrewdness of a child. He possessed a tremendous enthusiasm. He’d come in and exclaim, ‘take me in as you would a baby and teach me music. I only write one voice. I want to have structure. I want to write orchestral scores.’ I promised myself I would try to find some time to show him some of the things he wanted to know.” Unfortunately, while the two musicians met informally several times, Varese left for Paris to compose Deserts shortly after they met, and when he returned in the Spring of 1955, Parker was two months dead from lobar pneumonia and a bleeding ulcer.
Here's some Varèse:


It's been reported that at the pieces premier in 1923, the audience laughed throughout the performance and hissed during whatever applause that followed.

But 1923 also saw the Beer Hall Putsch - the failed coup in Munich by some early Nazis - so perhaps, PERHAPS, we've evolved past such vulgar reactions to civilization.

Anyway, enjoy the Varèse.