mirga conducts mahlers first.

Programme

  • Varèse Arcana
  • Varèse Nocturnal for soprano, male chorus & chamber orchestra
  • Varèse Offrandes for soprano & chamber orchestra
  • Varèse Dance for Burgess for chamber orchestra (compl. Chou Wen-chung)
  • Varèse Tuning Up (sketch, completed by Chou Wen-chung)
  • Varèse Amériques

Is Edgard Varèse’s Amériques the most exciting musical achievement of the 20th century?

Born in 1883, the French composer created strange, timeless work that achieves a compelling balance between dissonance and melody, and continues to shape composers’ imaginations today. He also conceived of electronic music 50 years before it arrived.
Considered a visionary musical legend in his lifetime, Varèse was sought out by the avant-garde rocker Frank Zappa as a teenage fan, while jazz legend Charlie Parker asked him for lessons.

Southbank Centre’s Director of Music, Gillian Moore, considers his 1921 symphony Amériques the most significant piece of music of the last century, heralding a new age of machines.

‘...the clanking of overhead railways, the hooting of foghorns on the Hudson river, the wail of police sirens all find their way into this huge urban symphony. But, even with its super-size line-up (130 orchestral musicians), it's not all sound and fury: there are sinuous melodies, seductive jazz-tinged dances and a nod or two to Debussy and Stravinsky.’