Abstract

Edgard Varèse was one of the singular musical innovators of the 20th century. Central to his thinking was an informed yet uniquely imaginative position regarding metaphoric “space.” Through contacts with science, he developed an idiosyncratic vocabulary involving “rotating planes,” “beams,” “projection” and “penetration.”Intégrales) manifested. The first part of a two-part article, “The Last Word Is: Imagination, Part I: The Visual Evidence” (published in Perspectives of New Music), references Varèse’s writings and lectures. The second part, published here, is concerned with the visual evidence, a context within which his spatial ideas could be directly manifested without the distortions of electroacoustic sound projection or vagaries of instrumental and vocal performance. In original artworks, marginalia, doodles and an array of spiral diagrams, Varèse directly portrayed his concepts with remarkable lucidity.

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