Composed in , Edgard Varèse’s Ionisation is the first piece of Western classical music to be scored for an ensemble comprised solely of. Compared to those monuments, the French-American composer Edgard Varèse’s “Ionisation” barely amounts to a flyspeck. The work’s Sheet Music – £ – Edgard Varèse – Ionisation (Percussion Ensemble).

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Inthe work became widely accessible through a successful 78 rpm issued by Columbia Records. It demonstrated how powerfully a genuine musical idea can be expressed in new sounds. To fully appreciate the importance of Ionization, we need to look briefly at the function of percussion instruments in the orchestra.

As the composer later described, “I was not influenced by composers as much as by natural objects and physical phenomena. This music is at once expansive and intimate, varesse and irresistibly beautiful: Retrieved from ” https: Ionisation combines the terrifying cacophony of the industrial world with a profound sensitivity, unlocking the sensuous, human potential of inhuman noise.

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Ionisation (Varèse, Edgard)

Journal of Music Theory. Ionisation features the expansion and variation of rhythmic cellsand the title refers to the ionization of molecules.

This site uses cookies. It was, incidentally, the first album purchased by Frank Zappa. A Sketch of the Man and His Music”.

Frank Zappa often claimed that Ionisation inspired him to pursue a career in music. The Gramophone Shop Encyclopedia.

Ionisation, Edgard Varèse | Articulate Silences

Nicolas Slonimsky conducting Ionisation in Havana. Pierre Grondines is a uonisation and choral conductor. Ionisation proceeds as a number of miniature sections, each with a different textural character. Ionization was a brilliant confirmation of percussion as an independent musical medium. All these great strides varsee, astonishing as they may have been, were just the beginning. His predilection for sounds outside the traditional scales was shared by electro-acoustic musicians, continually experimenting with new intervals.


Edgard Varèse – Ionisation (Percussion Ensemble)

Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here The next section begins at 2: The World’s Encyclopaedia of Recorded Music. Below is a recording of Ionisation followed by a brief listening guide.

He had settled in the United States in From cymbals to ioniation Ionization is composed for 13 musicians playing some 40 instruments. You are commenting using your WordPress.

Notify me of new comments via email. September 30, at 9: There are suggestions of the characteristic sounds of modern city life. In addition to drums, cymbals, gongs and tam-tams of vraese sizes, the work requires triangles, claves, Chinese blocks, a whip, miniature bells, and the famous “lion’s roar” drum.

It’s hard to tell whether a cymbal is striking an F or an E, or something in between. The Gramophone Shop, Inc. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Ionisaion. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use.

Having moved to America at the age of 32, the French-born composer was deeply affected by the aural experience of living in urban New York. Agitated figures in the drums punctuate the backdrop of bells and moaning sirens, increasing in resolve until 4: Sound-masses in collision For the first time in the history of western music, orchestral percussion instruments were liberated from their supportive role.


Yet what is striking about this piece of music is the degree of sensitivity with which the composer controls the instrumental timbres, achieving an understated grace and eloquence of expression which reaches far beyond more common functional uses of percussion. Reinforcement, evocation, and colour From Bach to Brahms, the job of ionisarion percussion section in the orchestra had basically been to reinforce the accents already present in the musical exchange among the other instruments.

The rhythms of Ionization refer to no folkloric or exotic source and are intended to be heard as defining trajectories, masses, and tone-clusters of various densities. September 30, at One critic described the performance as “a sock in the jaw. Alles rund um Kunst – Seite 5 says: Some dozen of his compositions are groundbreaking works, among them Ionizationthe first score in western music composed for percussion ensemble.

The highly refined, luxuriant music of composers such as Mahler, Strauss, Debussy, and Ravel was vareee by the use of celesta, glockenspiel, tam-tam, rattle, and xylophone.

Three other instruments appear only in the last bars of the work: