Close Up

14 February 2019: The Great Rehearsals: Hommage to Edgard Varèse


The Great Rehearsals: Hommage to Edgard Varèse
Gérard Patris & Luc Ferrari, 1965-1966, 66 min
French with English subtitles
Introduced by Thurston Moore

Between 1965-1968 Luc Ferrari with his best friend Gérard Patris made a five-part series of documentaries for French television based on the concept of discussing the work of and/or working with composers he admired (including Olivier Messiaen, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Edgard Varèse, Hermann Scherchen and Cecil Taylor) whilst in rehearsals. Hommage a Edgard Varèse became a tribute following his untimely death, with Marcel Duchamp, Iannis Xenakis, Olivier Messiaen, Hermann Scherchen, Andre Joviet, Pierre Schaeffer, Pierre Boulez, Konstantin Simonovic, Bruno Maderna, Ferdnand Ouellette, and the voice of Varèse

As a young man Luc Ferrari boarded a cargo ship to the USA with one aim: to meet Edgar Varèse. Ferrari arrived in Florida and wrote letters to the composer, working odd jobs until saving enough money to take a train to New York City to meet the composer. In 1965 Edgar Varèse would agree to have his rehearsals filmed for this documentary, but sadly passed away just days before the scheduled shoot. The film becomes an homage with several composers and artists in the first half of the film and in the second half, a rehearsal of Varèse’s greatest work Deserts directed by Bruno Maderna.

Thurston Moore is a musician – Founding member of Sonic Youth and recording collaborator with composers Takehisa Kosugi, Yoko Ono, Glenn Branca, Irmin Schmidt and many others. He is co-publisher of Luc Ferrari: Complete Works (Ecstatic Peace Library/Omnibus, 2019).

Part of Stereo Spasms Festival, curated by Ecstatic Peace Library