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Playlist of Edgard Varese [1883

  • Edgard Varèse - Octandre


    Edgard Varèse (1883 - 1965) - Octandre (1923)

    I. Assez lent [0:00]
    II. Très vif et nerveux [2:35]
    III. Grave-Animé et jubilatoire [4:20]

    ASKO Ensemble, Riccardo Chailly (1997)

    Varèse's Octandre is a chamber work scored for 7 woodwinds and double bass and is in three movements, with performances typically lasting around 7 minutes.

    Varèse often insisted that music is both a science and an art. With his ingeniously inventive orchestration in mind, through which he put many sounds into the world that had never existed before, perhaps he should have summed it up as ‘alchemy’; he certainly did love the symbolism of arcane religions. Octandre is a brilliant, purely technical study of the inexplicable abracadabra of sound that Carlos Chávez rightly called gold. With this accomplishment, Varèse moved significantly closer to his ideal of a purely material music of ‘spatial projection.’ But although Octandre could be by no other composer, it is unlike Varèse's other works in a couple of significant ways. The piece is in three movements, labeled according to tempo -- Assez lent, Très vif et nerveux, Grave-Animé et jubilatoire. Each opens with a different instrument to announce its particular character -- oboe, piccolo, and bassoon -- and is essentially a revisitation of the same structural concepts from a unique angle. More significant, however, is the absence of percussion, which usually forms the very core of his sound. Anyone familiar with his other pieces so feels the absence that their ears prick up every couple of beats expecting percussion noise, as if the violent drums are only waiting in ambush. By the time of Octandre, 1923, he'd already composed several pieces -- Amériques, Offrandes, Hyperprism -- that extensively used percussion. Sonic researcher that he was, he perhaps wanted to test his ability to work without his favorite tools and so, deliberately limited himself. He knew such an exercise could only increase his knowledge and bring him that much closer to realizing the mysterious, unheard-of music of his waking visions. And so it did. Varèse did not, however, abandon his usual aesthetic in Octandre: the winds, brass, and double bass are conspicuously made to fill in, against their instrumental natures, for the absent percussion. They're often used only to articulate nervous rhythmic motifs that unexpectedly accumulate from solo passages into massive, weapon-like pounding in shattering, prismatic colors. Wherever somewhat extraneous melodic lines surface, usually in lonely solo passages, they get pureed before long in the blades of emphatic rhythm, especially in the clamor of the shimmering brass that comes in like the attacking sword of an imaginary sun god.

    (source: AllMusic)

    Original audio:

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  • Edgard Varèse - Ionisation


    Edgard Varèse (1883 - 1965) - Ionisation (1929 - 1931)

    The New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Pierre Boulez (1977)

    Ionisation is a work for 13 percussionists playing almost 40 percussion instruments. A typical performance lasts around 6 minutes.

    In 1917, Varèse boldly announced that he longed 'for instruments which are obedient to my thought and whim, with their contribution of a whole new world of unsuspected sounds, which will lend themselves to the exigencies of my inner rhythm.' From 1918 to 1936, Varèse abandoned tradition almost completely. Hyperprism of 1923, for example, provoked a riot at its premiere. During his quest for new sonorities and effects, which climaxed in Ionisation, Varèse incorporated new musical instruments wherever possible. Ionisation, composed between 1929 and 1931, attracted the greatest interest and divergent critical opinions of all his works. The score introduced the electrical siren as a musical instrument for the very first time, and denoted the start of Varèse' increasing interest in electronic music. Nicolas Slonimsky conducted it at Carnegie Hall, on March 6, 1933, and the composer later dedicated the work to him. Carlos Salzedo, Henry Cowell, Paul Creston, and William Schuman performed as some of the 13 instrumentalists required. Its effect was likened by a critic at the time to receiving 'a sock in the jaw.' Varèse argued in his defence that 'in music we composers are forced to use instruments that have not changed for two centuries....Composers like anyone else today are delighted to use the many gadgets continually put on the market for our daily comfort. But when they hear sounds that no violins, wind instruments, or percussion of the orchestra can produce, it does not occur to them to demand those sounds for science. Yet science is even now equipped to give them everything they may require.'

    The title is derived from the ionization of molecules, as electrons are dispersed through the process of atomic change. In Ionisation, rhythmic cells are expanded, varied, and contrasted against one another. Their timbre keeps them identifiable as each cell becomes more involved and larger, and these cells grow in such a way that renders them independent of one another. The dramatic contour is in the degrees to which these rhythmic cells, which evolve into recognizable blocks of sound, seem to not be working together, continually growing and expanding the soundscape with the friction of their coexistence. Occasional relief is found in rhythmic unisons, that bind the separate blocks of sound into a single, propulsive rush, but there are not many. Varèse loved the unmanageable aspects of nature, the things that humans have no control over, and reveled in the way that, from our perspective, nature does not run smoothly.

    (source: AllMusic)

    Original audio:

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  • Edgard Varèse - Ecuatorial


    Edgard Varèse (1883 - 1965) - Ecuatorial (1932 - 1934)

    Kevin Deas, bass
    ASKO Ensemble, Riccardo Chailly (1997)

    Ecuatorial is a work for bass, brass, percussion, piano, organ, and ondes Martenot. It sets a text from the Popol-Vuh, translated to Spanish by Father Jimines.

    Edgard Varèse completed Ecuatorial in 1934, a work for orchestra, bass singer, electronic instruments, and an augmented percussion section. This is one of the few works by Varèse that was inspired by something extra-musical. For the most part, his titles came to him only after he was well into the writing of a composition. In this case, a book by the composer's friend got him interested in capturing some of the atmospheres within the text. The book, Legends of Guatemala, is by Guatemalan author Miguel Angel Asturias, who had also written an admiring article about the composer. When the French translation of the book appeared in 1932, Asturias sent Varèse a copy, who was struck by the inclusion of Mayan holy texts, taken from the Popol-Vuh, which inspired the composer. It was a specific supplication prayer from these excerpts that he decided to set to music, but, because his own command of Spanish was strong, he chose to work with that language rather than the French translation.

    In Ecuatorial, the composer was after the elemental spiritual health of the text's message and the sense of tragedy at its intended audience's downfall as a civilization. It is a prayer requesting peace, a good harvest, and children. A direct, ancient feel was also part of what he wanted to capture in the manner of a dramatic incantation. During its composition, Varèse relocated to the United States, after a few years moved again to Paris. The orchestration of Ecuatorial was frequently revamped. At first, the voice was scored for a chorus of bass voices, or a solo bass voice performed through a megaphone. Both approaches were considered before the non-amplified solo voice was settled on. Just as crucial to the voices was the scoring for electronic instruments. This also went through different versions, as the composer waffled between the use of the Ondes Martenot and the theremin. The problem was in finding an instrument that would work properly, which was difficult in the 1930s because the instruments were still in their infancy. In an important edit by the composer's long-time friend and associate Chou Wen-Chung, one Ondes Martenot and one theremin were decided as the ideal combination, taking into consideration the peculiarities of the work's orchestration and the improvements of both instruments since the death of Varèse in 1965. The most immediate benefit of these electronic instruments is that they can produce higher notes than even the piccolo. Another is the connotation of the purity of electronic sound, which amplifies the primitive, rough-hewn quality of the vocal line. The overall impression depicts a pre-Columbian sculpture, majestic and mysterious, and with a fecund spirituality.

    The first performance of Ecuatorial took place on April 15, 1934, in New York. Town Hall was the venue, Slonimsky conducted, and the soloist was Chase Baromeo. Generally, the audience and critics were baffled, and there was no subsequent performance for the next twenty-five years. It is not a frequently performed work, but it successfully captures the complex quality of ancient, exotic prayer that the composer was after, to a sublime extent. Many listeners feel that Ecuatorial does credit to both twentieth-century music and the text, and this successful juxtaposition of an ancient holy text and electronic sound renders the music timeless and eternal. This work was dedicated the composer's wife, Louise.

    Invocation of the Popol-Vuh, in English:
    O Builders, O Moulders! You see. You hear. De not abandon us, Spirit of the Sky, Spirit of the Earth. Give us our descendants, our posterity as long as there are days, as long as there are dawns. May green roads be many, the green paths you give us. Peaceful, very peaceful may the tribes be. Perfect, very perfect may life be, the existence you give us. O Master Giant, Path of the Lightning, Falcon! Master-magi, Powers of the sky, Procreators, Begetters! Ancient Mystery, Ancient Sorceress, Ancestress of the Day, Ancestress of the Dawn! Let there be germination, let there be Dawn.

    Hail Beauties of the Day, Givers of Yellow, of Green! Givers of Daughters, of Sons! Give life, existence to my children, to my descendants. Let not your power, let not your sorcery be their evil and their misfortune. May it be happy, the life of your upholders, your providers before your mouths, before your faces, Spirit of the Sky, Spirit of the Earth, Give Life, Give Life! Give life, O All-Enveloping Force in the Sky, on the earth, at the four corners, at the four extremities, as long as dawn exists, as long as the tribe exists.

    The Spanish text:

    (source: AllMusic)

    Original audio:

  • Varèse: Arcana


    Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group

    Varèse: Arcana · Chicago Symphony Orchestra · Pierre Boulez

    Varése: Amériques; Arcana; Déserts; Ionisation

    ℗ 2001 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

    Released on: 2001-01-01

    Producer: Roger Wright
    Producer, Recording Producer: Helmut Burk
    Producer, Recording Producer: Karl-August Naegler
    Studio Personnel, Balance Engineer: Ulrich Vette
    Studio Personnel, Recording Engineer: Jobst Eberhardt
    Studio Personnel, Recording Engineer: Stephan Flock
    Editor: Oliver Curdt
    Composer: Edgar Varèse

    Auto-generated by YouTube.

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  • Edgard Varèse - Intégrales


    Edgard Varèse (1883 - 1965) - Intégrales (1923 - 1925)

    Ensemble InterContemporain, Pierre Boulez (1984)

    Edgard Varèse's Intégrales is a work for a small ensemble of 11 winds and 4 percussionists. A typical performance lasts around 10 - 11 minutes.

    Edgard Varèse completed Intégrales in 1925. It is scored for woodwinds, brass, and 17 different percussion instruments played by four percussionists. Varèse's term ‘spatial music’ was first applied to this work, which broadly denotes a concept that pertains to all of his surviving output. It was his way of depicting music as a collection of coexisting sound properties (melody, harmony, rhythm, etc.). Instruments are chosen for the specific aspect of music they do best (the composer preferred winds and percussion) and they appear in sonic groupings that occur in different temporal durations from one another. This was dubbed ‘spatial’ music because it is easier to describe it in terms of physical and temporal space; the durations among the different blocks of sound drift closer and further apart while appearing and reappearing in variations of themselves. Tensions vary in accordance the proximity of the sound blocks.

    Intégrales is dedicated to Juliana Force, and its title is not meant to denote an association with anything extra-musical. One of Varèse's former students pointed out that this work was written in spite of the limitations of conventional instruments and notation, that the world of sound contained in this piece is not about the instruments, but the distinction of the timbres between them. Instruments are intended to either blend or contrast with other instruments depending on whether or not they are in the same sound ‘block.’ Many listeners feel that this ambivalence to instruments made Varèse better suited to music that excludes them, such as tape music, which he eventually turned to. He said that the future of sounds required composers and electrical engineers to find the solution to the outdated means of generating notes. This geometric and abstract approach to music came to him while listening to the scherzo of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, which inspired in him a sense of, in his own works, ‘projection in space.’ Intégrales lends itself to visual impressions of celestial bodies in motion. The composer said that mathematics and astronomy inspired him; the motion of planets revolving around a star is comparable to the blocks of sound heard in this piece.

    The premiere of Intégrales was peculiar because it was so well received by the general public. At the Aeolian Hall in New York, Leopold Stokowski conducted it on March 1, 1925 to an enthusiastic crowd. This was not a group of avant-garde enthusiasts, but a more or less traditional audience who enjoyed the work so much that Stokowski was obliged to perform it again that evening. However, other than a few admiring writers, the critics hated Intégrales and mocked the piece at length. It is possible that this work offended the sensibilities of a writing community that had spent years building a meaningful way of talking about new music. Varèse's output still eludes easy description and the vast majority of musical terms and ideas available to listeners and writers do not pertain to his style. His own descriptions of his works are often opaque. Listeners without an extended musical vocabulary have the advantage of not instinctually attempting to turn the experience of Intégrales into words.

    (source: AllMusic)

    Original audio:

  • Great Composers: Edgard Varèse


    A look at the stratospheric colossus of sound.

    This was a request from Tyson Davis. See all current requests at


    Classical Nerd is a weekly video series covering music history, theoretical concepts, and techniques, hosted by composer, pianist, and music history aficionado Thomas Little.



    - Edgard Varèse: Amériques, performed by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Chailly [original upload: 8zXaEwWFbnA]
    - Thomas Little: Dance! #2 in E minor, Op. 1 No. 2, performed by Rachel Fellows, Michael King, and Bruce Tippette


    Contact Information:

    Questions and comments can be directed to:
    nerdofclassical [at]



    All images and audio in this video are for educational purposes only and are not intended as copyright infringement. If you have a copyright concern, please contact me using the above information.

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  • Ionisation


    Ionisation · Pierre Boulez · Edgar Varèse · New York Philharmonic Orchestra

    Varèse: Arcana, Amériques, Ionization, Offrandes, Density 21.5, Octandre & Intégrales

    ℗ 1977 Sony Music Entertainment

    Released on: 1990-04-17

    Producer: Andrew Kazdin
    Engineer: Bud Graham
    Engineer: Arthur Kendy
    Engineer: Ray Moore

    Auto-generated by YouTube.

  • Edgard Varese: Ionisation


    Edgard Victor Achille Charles Varèse (December 22th 1883 – November 6th 1965) He was a French-born composer who spent the greater part of his career in the United States.

    Varèse's music emphasizes timbre and rhythm and he coined the term organized sound in reference to his own musical aesthetic. Varèse's conception of music reflected his vision of sound as living matter and of musical space as open rather than bounded. He conceived the elements of his music in terms of sound-masses, likening their organization to the natural phenomenon of crystalization. Varèse thought that to stubbornly conditioned ears, anything new in music has always been called noise, and he posed the question, what is music but organized noises?

    Although his complete surviving works only last about three hours, he has been recognised as an influence by several major composers of the late 20th century. Varèse saw potential in using electronic mediums for sound production, and his use of new instruments and electronic resources led to his being known as the Father of Electronic Music while Henry Miller described him as The stratospheric Colossus of Sound.

  • Edgard Varèse - Offrandes


    Edgard Varèse (1883 - 1965) - Offrandes (1921)

    I. Chanson de là-haut [0:00]
    II. La croix du sud [3:11]

    Sarah Leonard, soprano
    ASKO Ensemble, Riccardo Chailly (1996)

    Edgard Varèse's Offrandes, or Offerings, is a setting of two poems by Vincente Huidobro and José Juan Tablada. The work is scored for soprano and chamber orchestra, and typically lasts around 7 minutes.

    The mesmerizing two-part Offrandes is possibly the most direct statement of his tormented inner world Edgard Varèse ever made. It's that tremor of personal pain pulsating through all the vividly colored din that Stravinsky was reacting to when he said that the first harp attack in part two nearly gives him a heart attack. He called it 'the most extraordinary noise in all of Varèse.' Offrandes is for soprano and a representative chamber orchestra, with harp and eight percussion instruments. These are used in ever-changing combinations (emphasizing percussion, winds, and brass) and with a constantly varied dynamic. Except for the vocal part, there's no melody as such. The accompaniment is all built on flinty little rhythmic gestures that sometimes mutate into a fragment of a tune. The stormy instrumental parts could almost make up a Varèse piece by themselves. They often go into a howl or die down to nervous mutterings of percussion -- ominous rattles of snare drum, woodblocks, castanets -- under the heavily chromatic vocal line. In part one, 'Chanson de là-haut' (The Song From Above), it seems as if he is suppressing a wish that the voice was a more flexible instrument, reaching so high he strains her range. In part two, 'La croix du sud' (The Southern Cross), however, on a dreamlike, apocalyptic poem by José Tablada, he's in complete control and makes the precariousness of her top notes into a potent source of dramatic tension. The point, as in all of Varèse's mature music, is color, intensity, and instrumental attack, which here evoke a vivid, haunted internal world. As Tablada says in his Apocalyptic text: '...the murdered women are awakening.' Although listeners always feel that Varèse's music is poetically composed from his subjective center, his instrumental aesthetic is more mechanical (or machine-like) than organic. The lyricism that the soprano brings to Offrandes illuminates the organic/mechanic dialectic of struggle that powers Varèse's music: the diminishing scale of the human individual in relation to humanity's rigid bureaucracies and its machines. Varèse certainly looked forward to the future, especially the musical freedoms it would bring, but the tragic sense of humanity in retreat before the brutal steamroller of conformity was a source of great spiritual suffering to him, which he movingly expressed in Offrandes.

    Full text of the poems, in French and English:

    Chanson de là-haut

    La Seine dort sous l'ombre de ses ponts.
    Je vois tourner la terre
    Et je sonne mon clairon
    Vers toutes les mers.

    Sur le chemin de ton parfum
    Toutes les abeilles et les paroles s'en vnt.
    Reine de l'Aube des Pôles,
    Rose des Vents que fane l'Automne!

    Dans ma tête un oiseau chante toute l'année.

    - Vincent Huidobro

    Song from Above

    The Seine is asleep in the shadow of its bridges.
    I watch Earth spinning,
    And I sound my trumpet
    Toward all the seas.

    On the pathway of her perfume
    All the bees and all the words depart,
    Queen of the Polar Dawns,
    Rose of the Winds that Autumn withers!

    In my head a bird sings all year long.

    - Vincent Huidobro

    La croix du sud

    Les femmes aux gestes de madrépore
    Ont des poils et des lèvres rouges d'orchidée.
    Les singes du Pôle sont albinos,
    Ambre et neige et sautent
    Vêtus d'aurore boréale.
    Dans le ciel il y a une affiche
    D'Oléo margarine.
    Voici l'arbre de la quinine
    Et la Vierge des douleurs.
    Le Zodiaque tourne dans la nuit de fièvre jaune.
    La pluie enferme tout le Tropique dans une cage de cristal.
    C'est l'heure d'enjamber le crépuscule
    Comme un zèbre vers l'Île de jadis
    Où se réveillent les femmes assassinées.

    - José Juan Tablada

    The Southern Cross

    Women with gestures of madrepores
    Have lips and hair as red as orchids.
    The monkeys at the pole are albinos,
    Amber and snow, and frisk
    Dressed in the aurora borealis.
    In the sky there is a sign,
    Here is the quinine tree
    And the Virgin of the Sorrows.
    The Zodiac revolves in the night of yellow fever.
    The rain olds the tropics in a crystal cage.
    It is the hour to stride over the dusk
    Like a Zebra toward the Island of Yesterday
    Where the murdered women wake.

    - José Juan Tablada

    (sources: AllMusic,

    Original audio:

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  • Edgard Varese - Complete Works of Edgard Varese, Volume 1 FULL ALBUM


    More from Edgard Varese:
    apple music:

    Artist: Edgard Varèse
    Album: Complete Works of Edgard Varèse, Volume 1
    Label: EMS Recordings
    Year: 1951


    0:00 Intégrales
    10:25 Density 21.5
    14:38 Ionisation
    20:29 Octandre - I - Assez Lent
    23:04 Octandre - II - Tres vif et nerveux
    24:49 Octandre - III - Grave - Anime et jubilatoire


    Intégrales performed by Juilliard Percussion Orchestra and New York Wind Ensemble
    Density 21.5 performed by Rene Le Roy
    Ionisation performed by Juilliard Percussion Orchestra
    Octandre performed by New York Wind Ensemble

    Composed by Edgard Varèse
    Conducted by Frederic Waldman

    Support the artist if you like the music.
    I do not own any of the songs.

  • Edgard Varèse : Arcana


    Pascal Rophé dirige l'Orchestre national de France dans Arcana, pièce pour orchestre composée par Edgard Varèse en 1925-1927. Extrait du concert enregistré en direct de l'Auditorium de la Maison de la Radio jeudi 24 mais 2018.

    En 1925, Edgard Varèse, désormais installé outre-Atlantique, séjourne à Paris sur l’Île Saint-Louis. Le 9 octobre, il écrit à sa femme : « J’ai rêvé de deux Fanfares. J’étais sur un bateau qui tournoyait en plein océan vertigineusement en grands cercles. Au loin, on voyait un phare très haut – et tout en haut, un ange – et c’était toi une trompette dans chaque main. Alternativement : projections de toutes couleurs rouge – verte – jaune – bleue et tu jouais la Fanfare n°1 trompette main droite. Puis brusquement le ciel devenait incandescent, aveuglant, tu portais ta main gauche à ta bouche, et la Fanfare n°2 éclatait. Et le bateau tournait et filait et les alternances de projections et d’incandescence devenaient plus fréquentes – intensifiées – et les Fanfares plus impatientes... et puis merde, je me suis réveillé mais ce sera quand même dans Arcanes. »

    Ces deux fanfares, Varèse les a composées, les a adressées à leur seule et onirique interprète, puis presque aussitôt les a détruites. Mais comment ne pas en deviner la présence dans les explosions introductives d’Arcana ? Le titre fait références aux mystères de l’alchimie. En épigraphe de la partition, un extrait de l’Astronomie hermétique de Paracelse : « Il y a six étoiles établies. Outre celles-ci il y a encore une autre étoile, l’imagination, qui donne naissance à une nouvelle étoile et à un nouveau ciel. » Avec Arcana, Varèse explore toujours plus le domaine irrationnel des songes, convaincu que la naissance de l’art ne se fait pas tant dans la raison que dans l’inconscient, si cher à une époque férue de psychanalyse et emportée par la fantaisie surréaliste. Florent Schmitt ne s’y trompera pas, qui qualifiera Arcana, à la suite de sa création, de « cauchemar magnifiquement stylisé, cauchemar de géants ».

    Installé en Amérique dès 1915, après avoir suivi des études d’ingénieur électroacousticien, Varèse s’est intéressé au son lui-même, voulant travailler non plus avec des notes à hauteur fixe mais avec des fréquences, des timbres, des durées et des densités, introduisant de nouveaux instruments dans l’orchestre, le tambour à corde dans Intégrales ou les sirènes dans Ionisation. À propos d’Arcana, le programme de la création explique que l’œuvre peut être « considérée comme une immense et libre interprétation de la forme passacaille : le développement d’une idée de base à travers une transmutation mélodique, rythmique et instrumentale ». Dans le fourmillement des motifs demeurerait alors une idée essentielle à l’origine de l’unité générale. Mais c’est plutôt à un puissant et irrésistible élan que s’accrochent les figures, mélodiques, rythmiques ou harmoniques, jusqu’à ces saisissants accords qui se construisent par ajouts progressifs de notes, nommés « Gratte-ciel » par Arthur Hoéré du fait de leur capacité à embrasser la totalité de l’espace sonore, du plus grave au plus aigu. L’élan est parfois brisé, interrompu ou seulement freiné par de longs silences, mais chaque élément semble projeté dans une même direction, comme soumis à une logique vectorielle qui dicterait aux objets, malgré des différences de temporalité ou de registre, la direction à suivre. Il en naît une musique irrésistible jusqu’à sa conclusion, figée dans les extrêmes aigus, sur un énigmatique tapis de percussions. Presque un souvenir de la partition d’Amériques, créée en 1926 à Philadelphie. Et l’auditeur de se souvenir que Varèse fut sans doute le plus alchimiste des musiciens, dans sa façon de métamorphoser le son instrumental et l’orchestre.

    Musiciens alchimistes

    Plus que les relectures faustiennes, c’est L’Apprenti-sorcier de Dukas qui vient à l’esprit du mélomane quand on l’interroge sur l’alchimie. Mais nombre de compositeurs sont partis à la recherche de la pierre philosophale ou se sont plongés dans les plus mystérieux grimoires : Jean de Garlande au Moyen Âge, ou le Versaillais Pascal Colasse. À Mantoue, Monteverdi lui-même s’éprend de la dangereuse discipline alors qu’il est au service des Gonzague. Et le musicien d’expliquer : « Je m’attends à obtenir un je-ne-sais-quoi, pour en faire ensuite un je-ne-sais-quoi, pour ensuite, s’il plaît à Dieu, pouvoir expliquer un je-ne-sais-quoi. » Au moins ne sera-t-il pas inquiété pour cette quête improbable, contrairement à son fils qu’il lui faudra faire sortir des geôles de l’Inquisition suite à son emprisonnement pour détention de livres censurés.

    Texte de François-Gildas Tual

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  • Edgard Varèse - Amériques 2019


    Prom 44
    20.08.2019, 7.30pm, Royal Albert Hall

    Edgard Varèse - Amériques original version 1921 (25 mins)

    London Symphony Orchestra
    Sir Simon Rattle conductor

  • Edgard Varèse, Ionisation - Ensemble intercontemporain


    Edgard Varèse
    Ionisation (1931), pour 13 percussions dont 1 piano
    Editions Ricordi

    Solistes de l'Ensemble intercontemporain
    Elèves du Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris
    Susanna Mälkki, direction

    Percussions : Gilles DUROT, Samuel FAVRE, Victor HANNA (Ensemble intercontemporain) / Matthieu DRAUX, Adelaide FERRIERE, Jean-Baptiste BONNARD, Noam BIERSTONE, Christophe DRELICH, Julien LACROUZADE, Thibault LEPRI, Sylvain BORREDON, Othman LOUATI
    Piano : Sébastien VICHARD

    Enregistré à la Cité de la musique le 20 novembre 2012, dans le cadre du Festival d'Automne à Paris

    Réalisation et montage : Jérémie Schellaert

    Enregistrement sonore : Radio France

    Production exécutive Ensemble intercontemporain

    Remerciements à Laurent Bayle, Directeur général de la Cité de la musique et à ses équipes, à Christian de Portzamparc

  • Edgard Varese, Arcana


    Orchestre Philharmonique de L'O.R.T.F. directed by Marius Constant. Above the first page of the score stands a quotation from the 16th Century scientist, humanist, and alchemist Paracelsus: A star exists higher than all the rest. It is the star of the Apocalypse. The second is the star of the Ascendant, the third the star of the Elements, of which there are four. But there is yet another star, Imagination, which gives birth to a new star and a new heaven. Varese said, this phrase is a dedication to Paracelsus, not a homage to him. At the same time, he wrote, Imagination gives its form to dreams, and said his true thought was found in this work, and it should be considered as absolute music, not program music.

    Varese was born in 1883 and began composing in 1903, and quickly began to break away from traditional norms. Unfortunately his earliest works have never been preserved. He died in 1965.

    This performance and recording, from 1973, is a particularly good one, because it captures the very harsh and austere drama of the piece. It is regarded as Varese's magnum opus, comparable with his Ameriques, which together comprise the only two works where Varese calls for huge orchestral forces. The wind section is greatly expanded, and 12 percussionists must handle 35 instruments. I have acquired several CDs of other recordings, which are better quality, but the sheer power of the music seemed somehow to be lost. This is what inspired me to upload this performance here, which regrettably suffers a little of the inevitable vinyl disc surface noise in the quietest moments. Good headphones or powerful hi fi speakers are essential.

    After the first performance under Leopold Stokowski in 1927, the public reception was thoroughly averse. There was public outrage.The following day, one newspaper critic titled his article, Desecration of the Sacred Hall!

    I have attempted to embellish this recording with suitable images. I have allowed my imagination fair reign, considering that this is the highest star of all! The austere character of the work seemed to call for apocalyptic and galactic subjects. There is a painting of the dedicatee Paracelsus at 5 minutes from the start.

    At the newly constructed end, revised in 1960, it is as if the philosophical stone has at last fulfilled its mission. But the gold shines only a moment in the crucible: the music is inflated into a convulsive shout, then silence again. The six closing bars bring the great Secret back into the infinite of galaxies, into the very heart of matter.

    From 1935, Varese went through an acute personal and artistic crisis: the electro-acoustic means which he needed in order to realize his tonal imaginings were not then available. He had to wait until the nineteen fifties. At the time he wrote, Sometimes one sees so far into the future that the means of expression refuse to follow, as though they were scared. So it was in 1952 that he became very active again, producing his Deserts, Poeme Electronique, Nocturnal, and others.

  • Edgard Varèse, Intégrales - Ensemble intercontemporain - Tito Ceccherini


    Edgard Varèse
    pour onze instruments à vents et percussion

    Enregistré en direct le 16 janvier 2015 à : La Philharmonie de Paris / Salle des concerts, Cité de la musique - Philharmonie 2

    Coproduction CLC Productions / ARTE France

  • Edgard Varèse, Amériques - Ensemble intercontemporain - Matthias Pintscher


    Edgard Varèse
    pour orchestre
    Orchestre du Conservatoire de Paris
    Ensemble intercontemporain
    Matthias Pintscher, direction

    Enregistré en direct le 3 février 2015 à la Philharmonie de Paris, Grande Salle - Philharmonie 1

  • Varèse: Arcana


    Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group

    Varèse: Arcana · Los Angeles Philharmonic · Zubin Mehta

    Varèse: Arcana; Integrales; Ionisation

    ℗ 1972 Decca Music Group Limited

    Released on: 2011-01-01

    Producer: John Mordler
    Studio Personnel, Balance Engineer: James Lock
    Composer: Edgar Varèse

    Auto-generated by YouTube.

  • Edgard Varèse – Poème électronique


    Video created with Sonic Visualizer, OpenShot and vokoscreen on an openSUSE 13.2 Linux System.

    Poème électronique (English Translation: Electronic Poem) is an 8-minute piece of electronic music by composer Edgard Varèse, written for the Philips Pavilion at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. The Philips corporation commissioned Le Corbusier to design the pavilion, which was intended as a showcase of their engineering progress. Le Corbusier came up with the title Poème électronique, saying he wanted to create a poem in a bottle. Varèse composed the piece with the intention of creating a liberation between sounds and as a result uses noises not usually considered musical throughout the piece.

    Original performance
    The pavilion was shaped like a stomach, with a narrow entrance and exit on either side of a large central space. As the audience entered and exited the pavilion, the electronic composition Concret PH by Iannis Xenakis (who also acted as Le Corbusier's architectural assistant for the pavilion's design) was heard. Poème électronique was synchronized to a film of black and white photographs selected by Le Corbusier which touched on vague themes of human existence. Le Corbusier's original concept called for a pause in the film while his voice was heard, speaking directly to the audience. However, Varèse objected to the idea that Le Corbusier's voice would be played over his composition, and the idea was abandoned.

    The interior of the pavilion was also lit by a constantly changing pattern of colored lights, and in addition to the film, three separate projectors showed additional still photos on the walls.

    Varèse designed a very complex spatialization scheme which was synchronized to the film. Prefiguring the acousmonium style of sound projection, hundreds of speakers were controlled by sound projectionists with a series of rotary telephone dials. Each dial could turn on five speakers at a time out of a bank of 12. Many estimates of the pavilion's sound system go as high as 450 speakers, but based on the limitations of the switching system and the number of projectionists used, an estimate of 350 seems more reasonable.

    The speakers were fixed to the interior walls of the pavilion, which were then coated in asbestos. The resulting appearance was of a series of bumps. The asbestos hardened the walls, creating a cavernous acoustic space.

    The spatialization scheme exploited the unique physical layout of the pavilion. The speakers stretched up to the apex of Le Corbusier's points, and Varèse made great use of the possibilities, sending the sound up and down the walls

    Sequence of events
    The images in Le Corbusier's film are all black and white still photographs and willfully abstract. The first image is a bull's head in a spotlight. The final image is a woman holding an infant. Le Corbusier assigned thematic sections to the film:

    0 – 60 Genesis
    61 – 120 Spirit and Matter
    121 – 204 From Darkness to Dawn
    205 – 240 Man-Made Gods
    241 – 300 How Time Moulds Civilization
    301 – 360 Harmony
    361 – 480 To All Mankind
    The sequence of sounds in Varèse's composition:

    0 1. a. Low bell tolls. Wood blocks. Sirens. Fast taps lead to high, piercing sounds. 2-second pause.

    43 b. Bongo tones and higher grating noises. Sirens. Short squawks. Three-tone group stated three times.

    1'11 c. Low sustained tones with grating noises. Sirens. Short squawks. Three-tone group. 2-second pause.

    1'40 d. Short squawks. High chirps. Variety of shots, honks, machine noises. Sirens. Taps lead to

    2'36 2. a. Low bell tolls. Sustained electronic tones. Repeated bongo tones. High and sustained electronic tones. Low tone, crescendo. Rhythmic noises lead to

    3'41 b. Voice, Oh-gah. 4-second pause. Voice continues softly.

    4'17 c. Suddenly loud. Rhythmic percussive sounds joined by voice. Low animal noises, scraping, shuffling, hollow vocal sounds. Decrescendo into 7-second pause.

    5'47 d. Sustained electronic tones, crescendo and decrecendo. Rhythmic percussive sounds. Higher sustained electronic tones, crescendo. Airplane rumble, chimes, jangling.

    6'47 e. Female voice. Male chorus. Electronic noises, organ. High taps. Swooping organ sound. Three-note group stated twice. Rumble, sirens, crescendo (8 minutes and 5 seconds).

  • Varèse : Ionisation


    Provided to YouTube by Warner Classics International

    Varèse : Ionisation · Kent Nagano

    Varèse : Orchestral Works

    ℗ 1996 Erato Disques S.A.

    Conductor: Kent Nagano
    Percussion: Orchestra National de Radio France
    Composer: Edgar Varèse (1883-1965)
    Composer: VARESE

    Auto-generated by YouTube.

  • Frank Zappa conducts Edgar Varèse - Ionisation


    The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, CA, February 9, 1983
    Benefit concert for the Varèse-Webern dual centennial celebration, with Grace Slick as mistress of ceremonies, mounted by Jean-Louis LeRoux (Players' principal conductor and music director 1975-1988)

    Ionisation (1929–1931) is written for thirteen percussionists and thirty seven instruments:
    3 bass drums (medium, large, very large), 2 tenor drums, 2 snare drums, tarole (a kind of piccolo snare drum), 2 bongos, tambourine, field drum, crash cymbal, suspended cymbals, 3 tam-tams, gong, 2 anvils, 2 triangles, sleigh bells, cowbell, chimes, glockenspiel, piano, 3 temple blocks, claves, maracas, castanets, whip, güiro, high and low sirens, lion's roar.

    FZ opened the concert by conducting Ionisation and concluded it with Intégrales.
    Listen to the last one here:

    Jean-Louis LeRoux: I had heard that Zappa had conducted some pieces in New York. He had a tremendous admiration for Varèse, so I think I called him on the phone and said, I would like to organize a concert. That would be the 100th anniversary of Varèse and Webern, and how about sharing the conducting – you conduct the Varèse pieces and I take care of Webern? He said yes almost immediately. And he said, My only problem is that I need a little bit of instruction, how to conduct, to handle these pieces. I said fine.
    So I went to Los Angeles. I spent an entire day with him in his house, talking about music, and we talked about what to do and what to watch out for, and I told him it would be so well received and the Players would be so happy to see him and to be working with him, and he would not have any problems.
    And he came with only one request, to be in a hotel where they have twenty-four-hour service, so he could eat anything at any time.

    The Black Page - The Zappa Page

  • x
  • Varèse - Arcana


    Edgar Varèse (1883-1965)
    Arcana (1926-1927)
    New York Philharmonic
    Pierre Boulez

  • Edgard Varèse - Tuning Up


    Edgard Varèse (1883-1965) - Tuning Up

  • Hyperprism


    Provided to YouTube by NAXOS of America

    Hyperprism · Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Varese: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Ameriques / Equatorial / Nocturnal / Ionisation

    ℗ 2008 Naxos

    Released on: 2008-05-27

    Conductor: Christopher Lyndon-Gee
    Composer: Edgard Varese
    Orchestra: Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Producer: Beata Jankowska-Burzynska
    Engineer: Wojciech Marzec

    Auto-generated by YouTube.

  • Varèse: Poème Electronique


    Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group

    Varèse: Poème Electronique · Edgard Varèse

    Varèse: The Complete Works

    ℗ 1998 Decca Music Group Limited

    Released on: 1998-01-01

    Producer: Andrew Cornall
    Composer: Edgar Varèse

    Auto-generated by YouTube.

  • Edgard Varèse - Hyperprism


    Edgard Varèse - Hyperprism
    Score included as a bonus!

  • Edgard Varèse - Déserts


    Edgard Varèse (1883 - 1965) - Déserts (1950 - 1954)

    I. 1st episode [0:00]
    II. 1st interpolation of organised sound [3:13]
    III. 2nd episode [5:39]
    IV. 2nd interpolation of organised sound [13:13]
    V. 3rd episode [16:26]
    VI. 3rd interpolation of organised sound [18:03]
    VII. 4th episode [21:12]

    ASKO Ensemble, Riccardo Chailly (1997)

    Déserts is a piece by Edgard Varèse for 14 winds, 5 percussionists, and electronic tape. According to Varèse the title refers to, not only the physical deserts of sand, sea, mountains, and snow, outer space, deserted city streets ... but also those of the human spirit, of that distant inner space ... where man is alone in a world of mystery and essential solitude.

    This powerfully moving work, created between 1950 and 1954, was the first piece for magnetic tape -- two-tracks of 'organized sound' -- and orchestra. Possibly first conceived when Varèse lived in the deserts of New Mexico in the mid-1930s, it was imagined to be a score to which a film would have been subsequently made -- a film consisting of images of the deserts of Earth, of the sea (vast distances under the water), of outer space (galaxies, etc.), but above all, the deserts in the mind of humankind -- especially a memory of the terrors and agonies from the world wars of the first half of the twentieth century, including concentration camps, atomic warfare, and their continuing resonances. The taped music (originally planned for an unrealized work called 'Trinum') primarily presents those images in three interpolations that separate the music for the acoustic orchestra -- winds, brass, a resonant piano, and five groups of percussion. This orchestra part expresses the gradual advance of mankind toward spiritual sunlight. The orchestra music is built from intense aggregates of sound, rather than scales for melody, and rhythm is treated not as a continuous pulse, but as a support for the sound-form, rhythm as a vibration of intensity. Of course, this highly dramatic work, in touch with the deeper, repressed emotions of world society at the time it was created (and powerful still), caused protest and violent reactions in many concert halls. It is now recognized as an exceptional example of truly humanistic music.

    (sources: Wikipedia, AllMusic)

    Original audio:

    Detailed analysis of the piece by Samuel Andreyev:
    (Part 1)
    (Part 2)

  • Edgard Varèse-Hyperprism


  • Density 21.5 by Edgard Varèse


    Density 21.5 is a composition for solo flute written by Edgard Varèse in 1936 and revised in 1946.

    The piece was composed at the request of Georges Barrère for the premiere of his platinum flute, the density of platinum being close to 21.5 grams per cubic centimeter (Chou, 1994).

    Photo Credit:
    A beautiful image by: I'm not sure who the original author is.
    I got it from:
    It's of my highest hopes that it's not in any violation of copyrights, etc.
    If you disagree, kindly let me know in the comments or via pm, and I shall have it removed instantly.

    This video is not made or used for any commercial purposes.

    Thank you for watching.

  • Edgard Varese: Arcana - Bernstein - NYP


    L.Bernstein - New York Philharmonic Orchestra - (29.11.58)

  • Edgar Varèse - Déserts


    Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, 2 dicembre 1954. Dir. Hermann Scherchen.
    Operatore nastro magnetico, Pierre Henry

  • 8 entretiens avec Edgar Varèse par Georges Charbonnier: Opéra - Image - Musique


    Provided to YouTube by IIP-DDS

    8 entretiens avec Edgar Varèse par Georges Charbonnier: Opéra - Image - Musique · Edgar Varèse

    Création de Déserts - Entretiens avec Georges Charbonnier

    ℗ Ina Mémoire Vive

    Released on: 2007-09-13

    Artist: Edgar Varèse
    Composer: Edgar Varèse

    Auto-generated by YouTube.

  • Edgard Varèse, Octandre


    Edgard Varèse (1883-1965)
    I Assez lent
    II Très vif et nerveux
    III Grave - Animé ed jubilatoire

    Ensamble Intercontemporain
    Conductor: Pierre Boulez

  • Varèse : Amériques


    Provided to YouTube by Warner Classics International

    Varèse : Amériques · Kent Nagano

    Varèse : Orchestral Works

    ℗ 1993 Erato Disques S.A.

    Conductor: Kent Nagano
    Orchestra: Orchestra National de Radio France
    Composer: Edgar Varèse (1883-1965)

    Auto-generated by YouTube.

  • Complete Works Of Edgard Varèse EMS Recordings ‎– EMS401 Experemental Classical


    *DISCLAIMER* NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. I DO NOT OWN THE RIGHTS TO MUSIC IN THIS VIDEO. I DO NOT MONETIZE THIS VIDEO. If you own copyright to this music please contact me first I will take down immediately!

  • Edgard Varèse, Hyperprism


    The great Varèse, lionized by Frank Zappa among others. The complete works vol.2, conductor is Riccardo Chailly

  • Jerry Junkin discusses composer Edgard Varèse & Frank Zappa


    Tune in to WRR-FM 101.1 ( Monday July 27 8-10pm CDT for one of our most controversial & captivating concerts ever... Mozart's Gran Partita, juxtaposed with ground-breaking short works by Edgard Varèse! Don't miss this sonic tug-of-war between composers ahead of their time. Featuring cameo performances by Dallas Symphony Orchestra principal flute David L. Buck and the Dallas Winds percussion section.

    Program Notes:

    Mozart: Serenade No. 10 in Bb, K. 361 Gran Partita
    Varèse: Octandre
    Varèse: Hyperprism
    Varèse: Density 21.5
    Varèse: Integrales
    Varèse: Ionisation

  • Edgard Varèse, Ecuatorial


    Edgard Varèse (1883-1965)
    Choeurs de Radio France
    Ensemble Intercontemporain
    Conductor: Pierre Boulez

  • Varèse: Déserts


    Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group

    Varèse: Déserts · Chicago Symphony Orchestra · Pierre Boulez

    Varése: Amériques; Arcana; Déserts; Ionisation

    ℗ 2001 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

    Released on: 2001-01-01

    Producer: Roger Wright
    Producer, Recording Producer: Helmut Burk
    Producer, Recording Producer: Karl-August Naegler
    Studio Personnel, Balance Engineer: Ulrich Vette
    Studio Personnel, Recording Engineer: Jobst Eberhardt
    Studio Personnel, Recording Engineer: Stephan Flock
    Editor: Oliver Curdt
    Composer: Edgar Varèse

    Auto-generated by YouTube.

  • Varèse : Offrandes : II La Croix du Sud


    Provided to YouTube by Warner Classics International

    Varèse : Offrandes : II La Croix du Sud · Kent Nagano

    Varèse : Orchestral Works

    ℗ 1993 Erato Disques S.A.

    Conductor: Kent Nagano
    Orchestra: Orchestra National de Radio France
    Soprano Vocals: Phyllis Bryn-Julson
    Composer: Edgar Varèse (1883-1965)

    Auto-generated by YouTube.

  • Edgard Varese: Ecuatorial


    Provided to YouTube by Nonesuch

    Edgard Varese: Ecuatorial (1934) · The Contemporary Chamber Ensemble

    Edgard Varèse: Offrandes; Intégrales; Octandre; Ecuatorial

    ℗ 1972 Elektra/Asylum/Nonesuch Records for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

    Conductor: Arthur Weisberg
    Mezzo-soprano Vocals: Jan DeGaetani
    Orchestra: The Contemporary Chamber Ensemble
    Bass: Thomas Paul
    Composer: Edgard Varese

    Auto-generated by YouTube.

  • Poeme Electronique


    Provided to YouTube by The Orchard Enterprises

    Poeme Electronique · Edgard Varese

    Electro Acoustic Music: Classics

    ℗ 2014 Tresona Multimedia

    Released on: 2013-01-01


    Auto-generated by YouTube.

  • Hyperprism


    Hyperprism · Pierre Boulez · Ensemble Intercontemporain · Edgar Varèse

    Carter: Symphony of Three Orchestras - Varèse: Deserts, Equatorial & Hyperprism

    ℗ 1984 Sony Music Entertainment

    Released on: 1995-11-27

    Producer: George Kadar

    Auto-generated by YouTube.

  • Poème électronique


    Poème électronique · Edgard Varèse

    An anthology of noise and electronic music vol,1

    ℗ sub rosa

    Released on: 2006-12-11

    Composer: Edgard Varèse

    Auto-generated by YouTube.

  • Varèse: Nocturnal - original version


    Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group

    Varèse: Nocturnal - original version · Sarah Leonard · Men of the Prague Philharmonic Choir · Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra · Riccardo Chailly

    Varèse: The Complete Works

    ℗ 1998 Decca Music Group Limited

    Released on: 1998-01-01

    Producer: Andrew Cornall
    Composer: Edgar Varèse
    Author: Anais Nin

    Auto-generated by YouTube.

  • André Jolivet / Edgard Varèse ŒUVRES POUR PIANO




    André Jolivet
    Edgard Varèse
    Yusuke Ishii, piano

    ジョリヴェ/ヴァレーズ ピアノ作品集

    (P) & (C) 2012 ALM RECORDS / Kojima Recordings, Inc. Made in Japan

    Recording Location:Inagi City Public i-Plaza, 11-12 April 2012
    録音:稲城市立iプラザ 2012年4月11-12日

    André Jolivet (1905-74): Cosmogonie. Prélude pour piano (1938)
    André Jolivet: Trois Temps (1930)
    Edgard Varèse (1883-1965): Octandre (1924) transcription pour piano de José Manuel López López
    André Jolivet: Mana (1935)
    André Jolivet: Danses pour Zizou (1934)
    André Jolivet: Etude sur des Modes antiques (1944)
    André Jolivet: Première sonate pour piano (1945)

    A. ジョリヴェ (1905-74):コスモゴニー ピアノのための前奏曲 (1938)
    A. ジョリヴェ:3つの時 (1930)
    E. ヴァレーズ (1883-1965):オクタンドル (1924) (編曲:ホセ・マヌエル・ロペス・ロペス)
    A. ジョリヴェ:マナ (1935)
    A. ジョリヴェ:ジズーのための踊り (1934)
    A. ジョリヴェ:古代旋法による練習曲 (1944)
    A. ジョリヴェ:ピアノ・ソナタ (1945)

    total playing time: 67'11
    2012.11.7 on sale

    ALM RECORDS/コジマ録音:
    Buy from Amazon (JAPAN):
    Buy from HMV (JAPAN):

  • Varese: Density 21.5 for solo flute


    Edgard Varèse (1883-1965): Density 21.5.
    Piece for solo flute written in 1936 and revised in 1946. Composed for the premiere of Georges Barrère's platinum flute. The density of platinum being close to 21.5 grammes per cubic centimeter.

  • Edgard Varese - Tuning Up


    Edgard Varese (1883-1965) gran innovador de la música del siglo XX, con la introducción de elementos electrónicos, compuso la pieza Tuning Up en 1946, aunque quedó incompleta. El musicólogo Chou Wen Chung terminó finalmente esta partitura, en la que destacan una gran riqueza tímbrica y sonoras absolutamente originales. Edgard Varese tuvo una influencia decisiva en músicos de rock como Frank Zappa.

  • Edgard Varèse à lémission Aujourdhui


    Radio-Canada, émission Aujourd'hui du 31 janvier 1967: un portrait d'Edgard Varèse avec Fernand Ouellette

    Consultez notre site pour plus d'info :

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  • Poem Electronique


    Provided to YouTube by The Orchard Enterprises

    Poem Electronique · Edgar Varese

    Electronic Music Sources Vol.2 (1937-1959)

    ℗ 2012 Smith & Co

    Released on: 2012-07-16

    Music Publisher: copyright control

    Auto-generated by YouTube.

  • Hyperprism


    Provided to YouTube by Believe SAS

    Hyperprism · Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Robert Craft

    Œuvres, Edgard Varese (1883-1965)

    ℗ Isis

    Released on: 2018-01-01

    Composer: Edgar Varèse
    Author: R.R

    Auto-generated by YouTube.



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