Varèse: Orchestral works

Author: 
Arnold Whittall

Varèse: Orchestral works

  • Arcana
  • Intégrales
  • Ionisation
  • Arcana
  • Intégrales
  • Ionisation

Boulez's full-price account of Arcana on CBS (76520, 6/78) has the edge on Mehta in its couplings: apart from Ionisation this is the only available recording of Varese's earlier work for full orchestra, Ameriques. But at medium-price Mehta's performances are well worth investigating. Arcana benefits from the bold, slightly artificial sound quality, the music's rather crude juxta-positions and constant climaxes played for all they're worth. In Integrales, Mehta's emphasis on the heartless mechanisms of its early stages makes the eventual entry of the lyrical oboe melody more than usually welcome, and more than usually ambiguous; while the all-percussion Ionisation has a comparable blend of excitement and anxiety, which the entry of pitched instruments towards the end neither resolves nor intensifies. A thought-provoking reissue.'

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