Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Edgard Varèse and the Visual Avant-Garde: A Comparative Study of Intégrales and Works of Art by Marcel Duchamp
by Richardson, Colleen, D.M.A., University of Cincinnati, 2005, 128; 10857194
Abstract (Summary)

Edgard Varèse (1883-1965) had closer affiliations throughout his life with painters and poets than with composers, and his explanations or descriptions of his music resembled those of visual artists describing their own work. Avant-garde visual artists of this period were testing the dimensional limits of their arts by experimenting with perspective and concepts of space and time. In accordance with these artists, Varèse tested the dimensional limits of his music through experimentation with the concept of musical space and the projection of sounds into such space. Varèse composed Intégrales (1925) with these goals in mind after extended contact with artists from the Arensberg circle.

Although more scholars are looking into Varèse’s artistic affiliations for insight into his compositional approach, to date my research has uncovered no detailed comparisons between specific visual works of art and the composer’s Intégrales. This document juxtaposes works of art by Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), the most influential artist in the Arensberg circle, with Varèse’s Intégrales to see how aesthetic parallels exist in different mediums. Duchamp’s works: Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, oil on canvas, 1912; Tu m,’ oil and pencil on canvas, with bottle brush, three safety pins, and a bolt, 1918; and his Rotary Glass Plates (Precision Optics), five painted glass plates, wood and metal braces, turning on a metal axis, electrically operated, 1920, provide primary models for comparative study. Personal and philosophical connections between these two contemporaries are outlined, and their works are examined for conceptual and technical characteristics of style. Comparisons are made between the aesthetic approach of Intégrales and the visual works studied. This investigation focuses on concepts and strategies that are relevant within both genres, and outlines the most significant philosophical, technical, and conceptual correlations found between Duchamp’s representative works of art and Varèse’s Intégrales.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Winther, Rodney
School: University of Cincinnati
Department: Music : Conducting, Wind Emphasis
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 79/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music
Keywords: Cubism, Dada, Fourth dimension, Futurism, Non-euclidean geometry
Publication Number: 10857194
ISBN: 978-0-438-02299-7
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