Thursday, March 14, 2013

Edgard Varèse

Edgard Varèse
11" x 8.5", 2013,
watercolor on paper
This past year was for me the 30th anniversary of the Top 100. For the occasion I compiled a list of the 100 most important recordings throughout those thirty years of record keeping. I made watercolors to illustrate this list of 100, and I also played the whole list. I had expected a larger percentage of recordings from that list to be included in the Top 100 2012 but only few made it in. One of these is the work Ionisation by the French composer Edgard Varèse, which came in at #6 in my very first top 100 of 1983. I hadn't listened to the composition for over 25 years but it jumped out at me when I played it again. The following link is to the list of the 100 greatest recordings over the 30 years, and this is the entry about Varese. I made the 100 watercolors between May and September of 2012, and there is a post for each of them in ascending order in those months.

Ionisation is a piece for 13 percussionists written by Varèse between 1929 and 1932. It was first performed in France in 1933. The version I have was recorded in 1960 by the Columbia Symphony Orchestra directed by Robert Craft. Edgard Varèse was born in Paris in 1883 and died in New York in 1965.

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