Cage and the Ultramodernists

Cage and the Ultramodernists DavID one of edgard varèse's favorite quotations was from an autobiographical novel by the fin-de-siècle French author Jules renard: "Tout le monde ne peut pas être orphelin": "not everyone is able to be an orphan." Given the combination of mishap and intention that led to the destruction of varèse's early works, it is difficult to listen to Amériques (?1918­21), Offrandes (1921), or Hyperprism (1922­3) without having to agree with the composer's even more direct assertion: "Moi, je suis l'ancêtre." However, as larry stempel made clear in the title and content of his 1974 Musical Quarterly article, "not even varèse can be an orphan": stempel's discovery of a 1906 song, supposedly lost, made clear the links between varèse and the French musical milieu in which he had matured.1 John Cage's enthusiasm for varèse's work was considerable: he praised it on many occasions, perhaps most generously in a short 1958 article, reproduced in Silence, which concludes as follows: "That he fathered forth noise--that is to say, into twentieth-century music--makes him more relevant to present musical necessity than even the viennese masters."2 Coming from a former pupil of arnold schoenberg, one of those selfsame viennese masters, this is strong praise indeed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Music University of Illinois Press

Cage and the Ultramodernists

American Music, Volume 28 (4) – Nov 24, 2010

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Illinois Press
ISSN
1945-2349
Publisher site
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Abstract

DavID one of edgard varèse's favorite quotations was from an autobiographical novel by the fin-de-siècle French author Jules renard: "Tout le monde ne peut pas être orphelin": "not everyone is able to be an orphan." Given the combination of mishap and intention that led to the destruction of varèse's early works, it is difficult to listen to Amériques (?1918­21), Offrandes (1921), or Hyperprism (1922­3) without having to agree with the composer's even more direct assertion: "Moi, je suis l'ancêtre." However, as larry stempel made clear in the title and content of his 1974 Musical Quarterly article, "not even varèse can be an orphan": stempel's discovery of a 1906 song, supposedly lost, made clear the links between varèse and the French musical milieu in which he had matured.1 John Cage's enthusiasm for varèse's work was considerable: he praised it on many occasions, perhaps most generously in a short 1958 article, reproduced in Silence, which concludes as follows: "That he fathered forth noise--that is to say, into twentieth-century music--makes him more relevant to present musical necessity than even the viennese masters."2 Coming from a former pupil of arnold schoenberg, one of those selfsame viennese masters, this is strong praise indeed.

Journal

American MusicUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Nov 24, 2010

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