With Varèse at the Equator


A short article on Ecuatorial and its connections to Varèse’s modernism. The text set by Varèse is based on the Popul Vuh, and has a long and unusual history. I trace this history in some detail, in order to show the multiple levels of mediation between the text’s “origin” and its reception by Varèse. I argue that many of Varèse’s own modernist concerns are articulated in the text. The article also contains a musical analysis, and an interpretation of Ecuatorial’s bizarre coda, in the light of Henry Miller’s essay on Varèse from The Air-Conditioned Nightmare.

Link to article

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