Varèse: Poême électronique 1958

First presented at the 1958 Brussels Worlds Fair with 425 speakers placed throughout the famous Philips pavilion, the placement of the speakers and design of the building gave the spectators a feeling of being housed within a concrete, silver seashell. A giant model of the atom hung from the ceiling and the sound & imagery premiered to standing room only crowds and I can only imagine was a complete mind-blower to all who witnessed the spectacle. Varese is considered to be the “father of electronic music”, Henry Miller described him as the “stratospheric colossus of sound.” When Philips (Philips electronic company) approached Le Corbusier to design a building for the fair, Le Corbusier said, “I will not make a pavilion for you (Philips) but an Electronic Poem and a vessel containing the poem; light, color, image, rhythm and sound joined together in an organic synthesis.”

The Philips Pavilion was designed by Le Corbusier and  (the architect – later composer) Iannis Xenakis. Modernizm!

Varèse At The Southbank

Our pal MagicFingers writes:

Any of you KUR afficionados who happen to be in the London area over the weekend of April 16-18 might be in for a bit of a treat. There’s something rather special happening down at the Southbank.

He continues:

The awful irony being that it also happens to be Mrs MF’s birthday that weekend, so on the Friday night, rather than Deserts for wind, piano, percussion and tape, I am destined for an evening of Priscilla Queen of the bloody Desert. Life’s an ironic bitch. Still, I shall be there on the Sunday, so mustn’t grumble…


Varèse & The Jazzmen

Most peculiar: a tape recording of composer Edgar Varèse conducting a workshop of Jazz musicians in the year 1957.

It might be the first free jazz recording (totally unissued) of History of Music. Varèse might have influenced jazzmen or was he only aware of what was happening on the jazz scene? No matter of the answer, it’s a bomb, as this music is 3 years earlier than Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman!

Hat tip: Chris Atwood.

Update: if the link above gives you trouble, try this one and scroll down to the bottom for the Varèse entry.