Categories: Strumentale
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Published on: 14 October 2007

Nocturnal è uno degli ultimi brani di Edgar Varèse (1883-1965), lasciato incompiuto e terminato dal suo allievo e assistente Chou Wen-chung nel 1968 facendo, a mio avviso, un ottimo lavoro (non si avverte la mano di qualcun altro).
Ecco un estratto delle note di programma. Trovate altro materiale in Art of the States

Nocturnal is a world of sounds remembered and imagined, conjuring up sights and moods now personal, now Dantesque, now enigmatic. Perhaps one should not read too much into a composer’s choice of words, but how, knowing Varèse’s unique career, could one resist wondering about the line, ‘I rise, I always rise after crucifixion’? What about the mocking, threatening, babbling emanations from the chorus, often directed to sound ‘as if from underground’ and ‘harsh’? Then there are the sounds remembered — the liquid beat on the wood block, the shrill whistling of the winds, the tenacious shimmering of the strings — the insistent sound of a mass of shuffling feet, the flourishes of drum beats, the sudden crashing outbursts. A phantasmagorical world? Yes, but as real as Varèse’s own life.

In completing the score … two principles were followed: (1) continuation of some of Varèse’s principal material of the original portion, following suggestions in his cryptic notes; (2) addition of new material from the few more elaborate sketches found, so as to illustrate more fully his ideas for this work and his concepts in the use of vocal sounds. All the details, whenever not specified in the sketches, are worked out according to the original portion or other sketches in which similar situations are found. The original portion ends with the words, ‘dark, dark, dark, asleep, asleep,’ sung by the soprano. This is clearly indicated in the published score. The added portion is purposely kept to the minimum length possible, just enough to include all suitable additional material and to provide structural coherence.

[Chou Wen-chung ]

Edgar Varèse – Nocturnal (1961/1968) – per voce e orchestra (RealAudio)
Ariel Bybee, mezzo-soprano
Bass Ensemble of the University-Civic Chorale
Utah Symphony
Maurice Abravanel, conductor

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