Varèse - Orchestral Works Volume 2

Naxos: 8557882

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Varèse - Orchestral Works Volume 2



Catalogue No:




Release date:

28th April 2008




66 minutes


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Varèse - Orchestral Works Volume 2



(original version 1921)


Thomas Bloch (ondes martenot)

Men’s Voices of Camerata Silesia

Dance for Burgess

Tuning up


Un grand sommeil noir

Christopher Lyndon-Gee (piano)

Density 21.5

Maria Grochowska (flute)



Elizabeth Watts (soprano)


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The works on this recording span Varèse’s entire career, containing his sole surviving early composition, Un Grand Sommeil Noir, and his last, unfinished work, Nocturnal, brilliantly and seamlessly completed by the composer’s disciple and assistant during the last seventeen years of his life, the composer Chou Wen-Chung. Chiefly, though, the recording features the world première recording of the original version of Amériques, for a massive orchestra of 155 players, recorded immediately following a rare public performance at the Warsaw Philharmonic (only its second since the 1920s) as part of the 2005 Warsaw Autumn Festival.

Edgard Varese: Ameriques (original version)


Edgard Varese: Ecuatorial


Edgard Varese: Nocturnal


Edgard Varese: Dance for Burgess (arr. Chou Wen-Chung)

Dance for Burgess

Edgard Varese: Tuning Up (completed by Chou Wen-chung)

Tuning Up (completed by Chou Wen-chung)

Edgard Varese: Hyperprism


Edgard Varese: Un grand sommeil noir

Un grand sommeil noir

Edgard Varese: Density 21. 5

Density 21.5

Edgard Varese: Ionisation


Gramophone Classical Music Guide


“With Varèse fans still revelling in Riccardo Chailly's groundbreaking 1998 Decca cycle, anybody else approaching this provocative and inflammable music better have something profound to say: Christopher Lyndon-Gee and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra don't let the side down. These Polish musicians are well used to the rough-and-tumble of performing the early textural works of Penderecki and Górecki and that visceral rawness, inherent in their own culture, transmutes powerfully to these seminal Varèse scores.
The standout performance for sure is the original 1921 version of Amériques, scored for an orchestra of over 150 musicians and an offstage 'banda'. Lyndon-Gee marshals his charges with a careful ear to balancing this monolithic ensemble: Varèse's emphatically reiterated rhythmic mantras are daintily articulated, but the musicians never sound browbeaten by his attention to detail. The elemental power of the closing moments is feral way beyond the call of duty.
Performances of the trail-blazing percussion ensemble work Ionisation, and other classics like Hyperprism, Densité 21.5 and Ecuatorial, are cut from the same devoted cloth. And the rest of the album is devoted to curios like Dance for Burgess and Tuning Up, reconstructed by Varèse's pupil Chou Wen-Chung and recorded for the first time by Chailly. Tuning Up was conceived for a 1947 film about Carnegie Hall and incorporates Iveslike illusions to Varèse's own and borrowed music, all ricocheting against repeated As. Inevitably he came to blows with the film-makers, but Lyndon- Gee makes one think the by-product of their collaboration might be a minor masterpiece.”

Gramophone Magazine

October 2008

“These Polish musicians are well used to be rough-and-tumble of performing the early textural works of Penderecki and Górecki and the visceral rawness, inherent in their own culture, transmutes powerfully to these seminal Varèse scores.”

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