Thursday, 15 April 2010

Edgard Varèse meets Jekyll and Hyde

Edgard Varèse 360 weekend coming up at the South Bank in London. This is a major retrospective, first experienced last year at the Holland Festival. Everything about Varèse will be included - nearly all his known works (his output wasn't huge), plus films, workshops etc. Included is the famous film Poème électronique, made with Le Corbusier and Xenakis for the Philips Pavilion at the 1958 Expo in Brussels. (You can see it free in advance here on this site) But what's less well known is how Varèse was interested in the movies. Film was avant garde in 1920. No way was someone like him going to miss out on something that was both new art and new technology.

Varèse apparently appears in Adolf Zukor's 1920 silent movie Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I'm not sure which part he plays, since there are several actors who look garishly gaunt and haunted in this movie. Since it's a silent film you can switch off the sound and listen to Varèse's own Nocturnal, which fits the movie perfectly..In fact it's so in tune with the film, it's scary. (mute sound on film, view full screen, repeat the sound from the audio clip above) Try it,

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