Varèse, Edgard [Edgar] (Victor Achille Charles)
- Paul Griffiths
(b Paris, 22 Dec 1883; d New York, 6 Nov 1965). American composer of French birth. He produced in the 1920s a series of compositions which were innovative and influential in their rhythmic complexity, use of percussion, free atonality and forms not principally dependent on harmonic progression or thematic working. Even before World War I he saw the necessity of new means to realize his conceptions of ‘organized sound’ (the term he preferred to ‘music’), and, seizing on the electronic developments after World War II, he composed two of the first major works with sounds on tape....