Octandre by Egard Varesé - Wednesday's Free Ensemble Monterey Download

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Dear Ensemble Monterey Friends - Today's free download is Octandre by Edgard Varesé. If you are trying desperately to make it over hump day this will certainly wake you up. Edgard Varesé (1883-1965) was a musical revolutionary who basically "invented" electronic music. Kicked out of the Paris Conservatory for reasons which will become obvious, he knocked on the door of the leading revolutionary of the time, Claude Debussy. Debussy agreed to teach him, and a small band of like-minded musical subversives, that they each had to completely rethink the fundamentals of music and invent a musical language all their own. Thus 20th Century music was born.

The reasoning behind Varesé' music seemed elusive and his many lectures and pronouncements didn't help. He talked about "sound Masses collisions and explosions." Indeed, his music was called "... a catastrophe in a boiler factory." (Olin Downs. New York Times, 14 April 1926). My Favorite quote from Varese is : Music is never ahead of its time, the audience is behind theirs.

I became fascinated with his music at a young age and was able to show that he was literally and imaginatively imitating the movements and interactions of fissionable materials in his music, ie. radioactive atoms bouncing around, colliding with each other, "exploding" and carrying on the chain reaction. This took 134 pages. For music theory nerds like me, you can read the "readers' digest" version here: https://academic.oup.com/mq/ar... .

Octandre is written for 8 instruments and is in 3 short movements. In 1923 Varese didn't have electronic instruments, but he was trying to make acoustic instruments behave as if they were electronically inspired. Prepare to have your ears opened!

Please don't forget to join us via the web as we steam our first concert of the season,"Concert in the Vineyard," on October 25 at 3 PM. It's free to everyone and information about how to tune in will appear here, on our web site at ensemblemonterey.org, and everywhere else we can think of.O

Until Friday -

Yours in Music - John Anderson