One of the most influential, innovative and inspiring composers of the 20th Century, Edgard Varese responded to advances in modern science in a climate of global conflict to create music that broke down the fragile remnants of diatonic tonality and embraced 'noise'. His intellectual shift from the dominance of melodic progression to a more textural approach to composition would see him revered by such cultural figureheads as Igor Stravinsky, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Frank Zappa and others. His 'Poem Electronique' was one of the first examples of a purely artificial, studio-made composition, and would act as a blueprint for later Electroacoustic explorations. The work Ionisation for percussion ensemble included air-raid sirens and was described by the New York Times as a 'terrible and marvelous work'. The 1954 premier of Deserts caused an uproar comparable to the infamous response to The Rite Of Spring some fifty years earlier.
Edgard Varese analyses the life and work of this giant of the avant-garde, and delves deeply into his mysterious and eclectic world.