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Intégrales

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Edgard Varèse

Edgard Varèse


General Info

Year: 1925
Duration: c. 11:30
Difficulty: VII (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Colfranc Music Pub.
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


Instrumentation

Full Score
Piccolo I-II
Oboe
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet
Trumpet (in D - High)
Trumpet (in C)
Trombone
Bass Trombone
Contrabass Trombone
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Castanets
  • Chains
  • Chinese Blocks (or Wood Blocks)
  • Gong
  • Lion's Roar (or String Drum)
  • Slap Stick
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tenor Drum
  • Twigs
  • Triangle
  • Wire Brush


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

Intégrales was composed during a fruitful period that also produced two of Varèse’s most well-known works for chamber winds, Hyperprism and Octandre. Scored for eleven wind players and an array of percussion instruments, Intégrales employs the idea of “sound-masses” or “sound-clouds,” where instruments are grouped together to obtain a specific timbre. In lectures at the University of New Mexico and Princeton University, Varèse likened the acoustic imagery of his work to a moving geometric figure being projected across a moving surface: “Intégrales was conceived for a spatial projection … consider the changing projection of a geometrical figure onto a plane surface, with both geometrical figure and plane surface moving in space, but each at its own changing and varying speeds of lateral movement and rotation. The form of the projection at any given instant is determined by the relative orientation of the figure and the surface at that instant…” His goal was to create an acoustic representation of mathematical transformations similar to those found in this visual metaphor. Varèse would coin the term “spatial music” in relation to this work specifically, to describe the shifts of his “sound-masses” across space and time.

Intégrales premiered in 1925 under Leopold Stokowski at Aeolian Hall to a surprisingly enthusiastic audience, given their primary exposure to more traditional and less avant-garde works. Though most critics offered negative reviews, the work was performed a second time on the evening of the premiere due to the positive response from audience-goers.

- Program Note from Eastman Wind Ensemble concert program, 9 October 2020


In the original 1925 program for Intégrales, Varèse offered the following remarks, perhaps in response to constant questions about the meaning of his music:

The music is not a story, is not a picture, is not psychological nor a philosophical abstraction. It is quite simply my music. It has definite form, which may be apprehended more justly by listening than by rationalizing about it. I repeat what I have written before: analysis is sterile. To explain by means of it is to decompose, to mutilate the spirit of the work.

Intégrales is divided into six distinct sections. The first features short melodic fanfares by the E-flat clarinet, oboe, and piccolo trumpet, accompanied by interruptions in the percussion and chords in the wind section. The second section is a call and response between the horn and tenor trombone with hocketed chord structures in the upper woodwinds. The third section is a short transition with fanfare figures in the trumpets, and the fourth uses a dance-like theme before dissolving into tutti rhythmic outbursts. The fifth section is lyrical and features several extended oboe solos, while the sixth and final segment of the piece recalls material from the preceding section.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Varèse’s music is that his innovations have stood the test of time -- his music still sounds like “new music.” This enduring sense of originality is almost certainly what draws listeners toward his music, and past its harsh dissonances and somewhat austere nature.

- Program Note by Jonathan Caldwell


Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Symphony Band (Michael Haithcock, conductor) - 12 March 2021
  • University of Arizona (Tucson) Wind Ensemble (Chad R. Nicholson, conductor) – 16 October 2019
  • Dallas (Tx.) Winds (Jerry Junkin, conductor) – 22 January 2019
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Symphony Band Chamber Winds (Michael Haithcock, conductor) – 27 January 2017


Works for Winds by This Composer


Resources

None discovered thus far.