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Varèse: Offrandes, Intégrales, Octandre / Weisberg


Release Date: 05/07/1992 
Label:  Nonesuch   Catalog #: 71269   Spars Code: AAD 
Composer:  Edgard Varèse
Performer:  Jan DeGaetaniThomas Paul
Conductor:  Arthur Weisberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contemporary Chamber Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 37 Mins. 

Special Order: This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 business days.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Varèse's requirement that a performance of Equatorial should be dramatic, "guided by the imploring fervor of the text", is pretty well met by Thomas Paul and Arthur Weisberg's excellent group.

There are already two good Varese records in the catalogue and I think the value of this one may lie above all in bringing us an acceptable version of Ecuatorial. Composed in 1934, this is a setting of a Spanish translation of a prayer from the sacred book of the Maya Quiche, the Popul Vuh: the text is part of the invocation of the tribe lost in the mountains, having left the "City of Abundance". Varese said that his title "is merely suggestive of the regions where pre-Colombian art
Read more flourished", and that he conceived the music as having "something of the same elemental rude intensity of those strange, primitive works". His requirement that a performance should be dramatic and incantatory, "guided by the imploring fervour of the text", is pretty well met by Thomas Paul and Arthur Weisberg's excellent American group; although I don't think balance problems have been completely solved. The instrumental scoring is for trumpets, trombones, piano, organ, ondes martenot and percussion. The organ seems to me occasionally weak in relation to the other keyboard instruments, but a very clear and immediate quality of recorded sound—perhaps a little too clear ?—certainly does allow one to hear all the detail and to savour to the full the way the music is elaborated, as a sort of polyphony of timbres. No, my chief reservation concerns the weight of the vocal line in relation to this polyphony. Here it doesn't seem quite weighty enough. I notice from the score that Varese had basses, rather than a solo voice, in mind a tall order, given the nature and the range of the vocal line; but I wish it had been attempted, even though the use of a solo voice, faute de mieux , may at one time have had the composer's approval.

The best performance on the new Nonesuch seems to me that of Integrates. The others are highly creditable: in need only of a little more intensity (for my taste), which could have come from a more sharply defined rhythmic character; of some improvement here and there in Jan DeGaetani's French; and of the addition of a few more basses in Ecuatorial, as I've said, of the calibre of Thomas Paul. Good notes and documentation, with texts and translations included. The date of Varese's birth is correctly given: 1883, not 1885 as so many books still have it.

-- Gramophone [9/1973]
reviewing the original LP release of this album
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Works on This Recording

1. Offrandes by Edgard Varèse
Performer:  Jan DeGaetani (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Arthur Weisberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contemporary Chamber Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921; New York, USA 
Length: 7 Minutes 41 Secs. 
2. Intégrales by Edgard Varèse
Conductor:  Arthur Weisberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contemporary Chamber Ensemble
Written: 1924-5 
Length: 10 Minutes 25 Secs. 
3. Octandre by Edgard Varèse
Conductor:  Arthur Weisberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contemporary Chamber Ensemble
Written: 1923 
Length: 6 Minutes 48 Secs. 
4. Ecuatorial by Edgard Varèse
Performer:  Thomas Paul (Bass)
Conductor:  Arthur Weisberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contemporary Chamber Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933-1934; USA 
Length: 11 Minutes 45 Secs. 

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