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Work: Amériques

Fact file
ComposerVarèse, Edgard (1883-1965)
Period20th century
Work typeOrchestral
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LondonProm 44: Belshazzar’s Feast

Koechlin, Varèse, Walton
London Symphony Orchestra; Sir Simon Rattle; Gerald Finley; Orféo Català; Cor infantil de l'Orfeó Català; London Symphony Chorus

BerlinBerliner Philharmoniker, Isabelle Faust & Peter EötvösGerman première

Eötvös, Xenakis, Varèse
Berliner Philharmoniker; Peter Eötvös; Isabelle Faust

LondonVarèse: Dreamscapes

© Frans Jensen
Varèse
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla
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Oramo brings Varèse alive and kicking

Sakari Oramo conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Arcana © BBC | Mark Allan
A Total Immersion day exploring the works of Edgar Varèse at the Barbican. 
*****
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Edinburgh International Festival: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra perform 20th-century classics

If a single word can express disappointment without surprise, it would capture my feeling upon surveying the seats before this concert of 20th-century music at the Usher Hall. My heart went out to the musicians. However, upon seeing Ilan Volkov’s happy and positive demeanour and hearing the first notes, all such negativity dissolved, never to return.
****1
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Animalistic Stravinsky and Varèse by the Philharmonia

The centenary of the première of The Rite of Spring – now that is something to celebrate. The Philharmonia, led by chief conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, did it in style, with Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune by Claude Debussy (who of course famously performed the Rite with Stravinsky on the piano), Amériques by Edgard Varèse (who was present at the première, and very much influenced by
****1
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The Rest is Noise: America – but not as we know it

When we think of America, Dvořák and Milhaud are not among the first set of composers to come to mind, but it turns out they deserve to be among the second.
****1
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San Francisco Symphony: American Mavericks at Carnegie Hall

Bravo to Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony for blowing the dust off of some of the boldest innovators America has produced. As part of a mini-festival at Carnegie Hall of 20th- and 21st-century composers who stretched musical and formal boundaries (to put it mildly), the program on Tuesday night was packed with rarely-played wonders.
****1
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