Boulez Conducts Varèse (FLAC)
Boulez Conducts Varèse (FLAC)

Orchestra: Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Pierre Boulez
Composer: Edgard Varèse
Audio CD
SPARS Code: DDD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Size: 304 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. Amériques
02. Arcana
03. Déserts
04. Ionisation

# Amériques, for orchestra
Composed by Edgard Varese
Performed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Pierre Boulez

# Arcana, for orchestra
Composed by Edgard Varese
Performed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Pierre Boulez

# Déserts for brass, percussion, piano & tape
Composed by Edgard Varese
Performed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Pierre Boulez

# Ionisation, for 13 percussion instruments
Composed by Edgard Varese
Performed by Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Pierre Boulez

Do NOT miss this !

I’ve really enjoyed (and still do) the “complete Works” double disc set by Chailly/RCO/ASKO and have listened to it over and over to the point where I’ve even been able to sing along to Ionisation and Poèmé Électronique, but having listened to the “complete Webern” boxed set by Boulez/BPhH/BBC Singers (et al.), I was turned on by the idea of Boulez conducting works by Varése, and with the help of my good friend Google I found this disc, ordered it immediately and was blown away beyond my expectations.

In comparison to Chailly’s readings, Boulez’s lead appears more controlled and more secure, but not only in terms of musical comprehension and efforts thereof – the sound is clearer and brings out parts that sometimes go unheard (or unnoticed) on the Chailly recordings, on which there is too much depth at times. Yes, depth can go too far and turn into an undistinguishable mess. Fortunately it doesn’t turn that ugly on the Chailly discs, but the clearness of the overall sound here speaks to you in a more natural manner – you don’t have to concentrate to “get the picture” – on the contrary; the mix of these 1995-96 recordings invites you–with more space, wider stereo picture, and somewhat more controlled dynamics (but by no means with a lack of depth)–to enjoy the music without your having to make an effort.

The tempos are just right, and even though I first reacted to the intro of Arcana being played too Andante, I learned that I could appreciate the big picture better here than on the Chailly’s reading, and only the second time of listening to Boulez’s reading of the piece, I did NOT think it should have been played faster – it makes perfect sense this way. I think this is as coherent and powerful a reading of orchestral music this dissonant you will find.

Buy it for Amériques. Buy it for Arcana. Buy it for Ionisation (a wonderfully captured essence of classical percussion). Buy it for Déserts, but a warning to those of you who might be buying this disc only for the sake of getting a complete version of Déserts; the three pre-recorded interpolations included on the Chailly recording are not included. The 4 main episodes–making the piece 17 minutes long–are included though, and are performed flawlessly. Enjoy!

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