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Varèse: Dreamscapes

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Southbank Centre: Royal Festival HallBelvedere Road, London, Greater London, SE1 8XX, United Kingdom
On Saturday 9 May 2020 at 19:30

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.’


Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla, ‘the unstoppable and mesmerising music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’ (The Guardian leads the orchestra in this extraordinary piece alongside a thorough overview of Varèse’s genius, from 1918 to 1961.

Ticket prices: £45 £35 £25 £15

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