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May 26, 2005


Richard Friedman

I find it interesting that except for Frank Zappa who was heavily influenced by his style, Varese did not spawn his own "school" of composition. However, many composers have stated their indebtedness to Varese, including Lutoslawski, even tho their music is far from Varese's.
But maybe it is because Varese stood at a particular moment that has passed and left little trace. The literary and visual surrealism that was Paris before WW I, to the Pan-Americanism of New York City before WW II. And maybe for that reason he is like a modernist postcard of a past era, that still can be refreshing, surprising, and even inspiring.
I had the great pleasure to meet Edgard Varese on two occasions on the streets of Greenwich Village in the mid 60's. Altho I only managed to say "Hello M. Varese" and get a jaunty nod in return, I have felt in that moment a connection with a vast world that has passed.

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