Author Topic: Like Boulez?  (Read 7781 times)

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Offline Niko240

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Like Boulez?
« on: June 29, 2015, 08:39:13 AM »
Hello GMG, I have been reading extensively from this forum and learning a lot.  I'm familiar with some of the work of the great composers before the modern era, but looking for some specific recommendations on contemporary composers.  Pierre Boulez has been my favorite composer the last couple years.  Although his music is often complex, dissonant, and atonal, I hear plenty of beauty in it as well (not that complexity, dissonance and atonality preclude beauty, but it seems as though composers from previous eras designed their music more often with beauty of sound in mind, even when expressing drama or melancholy).  I hope that I can get some recommendations on contemporary composers who make pretty sounds sometimes like Boulez (I'm glad there is a section for beginners here lol).  I hear power and richness in other contemporary composers like Stockhausen, Varese, Berio, and some others, but it seems to me that they lack the ravishing, glistening sounds of Boulez. 

Offline jochanaan

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Re: Like Boulez?
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2015, 09:21:41 AM »
Milton Babbitt, Luigi Nono, and Elliott Carter come to mind.  Carter is one of the more fascinating figures in music; he passed away in 2012 at the age of 103 and at the time of his death was still composing cutting-edge music! ;D

I've also heard good things about the music of Brian Ferneyhough, although I've not yet had the chance to listen to any of it myself.
Imagination + discipline = creativity

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Re: Like Boulez?
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2015, 09:23:12 AM »
Like Boulez?

Well, yes, I rather do.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Like Boulez?
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2015, 09:31:19 AM »
Can't say I'm a fan of Boulez's music (his conducting, however, is quite impressive to me ) as I prefer Dutilleux. Check out some Dutilleux whenever you get the chance. Plenty of music on YouTube to sample.
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Offline EigenUser

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Re: Like Boulez?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2015, 11:55:23 AM »
Hello GMG, I have been reading extensively from this forum and learning a lot.  I'm familiar with some of the work of the great composers before the modern era, but looking for some specific recommendations on contemporary composers.  Pierre Boulez has been my favorite composer the last couple years.  Although his music is often complex, dissonant, and atonal, I hear plenty of beauty in it as well (not that complexity, dissonance and atonality preclude beauty, but it seems as though composers from previous eras designed their music more often with beauty of sound in mind, even when expressing drama or melancholy).  I hope that I can get some recommendations on contemporary composers who make pretty sounds sometimes like Boulez (I'm glad there is a section for beginners here lol).  I hear power and richness in other contemporary composers like Stockhausen, Varese, Berio, and some others, but it seems to me that they lack the ravishing, glistening sounds of Boulez.
I really enjoyed reading this (mostly because I 100% agree with you :D).

When I joined this forum a over a year ago I hated Boulez. Now he is really a favorite of mine. There is definitely a beauty in his music not often found with those associated with him (and funny you should mention Berio -- I was just listening to his really cool Sinfonia an hour ago). I often hear an "atonal Ravel", if that makes any sense whatsoever.

Have you heard any Ligeti? He, too, has a very delicate side in works like Lontano, Atmospheres, Melodien, and Clocks and Clouds. Coming from Boulez, I'd particularly recommend Melodien (parts of it remind me of Derive I or Repons) if you haven't already heard it.

Dutilleux is a good suggestion, too, as Mirror Image stated. Not the same as Boulez, but it is perhaps something you would enjoy. Maybe Timbres, Espaces, Mouvements would be a good start?
Beethoven's Op. 133 -- A fugue so bad that even Beethoven himself called it "Grosse".

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Re: Like Boulez?
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2015, 12:50:19 PM »
I don't much like Boulez. However if that's your bent try Pousseur.

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Like Boulez?
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2015, 03:40:41 PM »
Many of the names being given here are composers I too greatly admire. But the sonorous qualities the poster is looking for seem to me very different from the styles of (say) Carter, Ligeti, or even Berio. You might find closer examples in Boulez-inspired disciples like George Benjamin, Marc Dalbavie, and Gilbert Amy. I would also look at Boulez's near-contemporary jean Barraqué, whose beautiful Séquence has some of the same stylistic qualities. Or some of the early Stockhausen, like his Refrain for Three Players.

Don't forget, though, that the emphasis on iridescent beauty so typical of Boulez has its immediate roots in Debussy. And there is also a strong influence from Indonesian gamelan music.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline Niko240

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Re: Like Boulez?
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2015, 06:26:56 PM »
Dutilleux's music does seem to have plenty of beauty in it, I will certainly listen to more, hints of the dazzling sounds of Debussy, Ravel, Messiaen, who all influenced Boulez.  I will also check out Pousseur.  Thanks (poco) Sforzando, you articulated precisely what I was asking and gave the exact kind of suggestions I was looking for, I have a lot to listen to. Thanks everyone for your responses, I appreciate the suggestions. 

Offline amw

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Re: Like Boulez?
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2015, 07:05:12 PM »
Of the Italian crowd, I think Berio and Nono are much less 'Boulezian' than, say, Maderna and Castiglioni. This kind of sound world also seems to lead in to the works of younger Italians like Luca Francesconi, Stefano Gervasoni and Bruno Mantovani. (And in a very obtuse way Sciarrino, but he gets more from Lachenmann than any of the mainstream Darmstadters. I find Sciarrino's music the most 'beautiful' of any contemporary composer's but I know this is a really idiosyncratic opinion!)

Also may be worth checking out some of the works of Heinz Holliger esp. the more recent ones.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Like Boulez?
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2015, 04:14:11 AM »
Hello GMG, I have been reading extensively from this forum and learning a lot.  I'm familiar with some of the work of the great composers before the modern era, but looking for some specific recommendations on contemporary composers.  Pierre Boulez has been my favorite composer the last couple years.  Although his music is often complex, dissonant, and atonal, I hear plenty of beauty in it as well (not that complexity, dissonance and atonality preclude beauty, but it seems as though composers from previous eras designed their music more often with beauty of sound in mind, even when expressing drama or melancholy).  I hope that I can get some recommendations on contemporary composers who make pretty sounds sometimes like Boulez (I'm glad there is a section for beginners here lol).  I hear power and richness in other contemporary composers like Stockhausen, Varese, Berio, and some others, but it seems to me that they lack the ravishing, glistening sounds of Boulez.

Pascal Dusapin, maybe. The question's hard. I think sfz's suggestion of Barraqué Sequences is one well worth exploring.

The problem is that all the music with glistening timbres I can think of lacks Boulez's hard modernism. And all the hard modernist music I can think of lacks his Frenchy timbres.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 04:54:00 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Like Boulez?
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2015, 04:53:36 AM »
Pascal Dusapin, maybe. The question's hard. I think sfz's suggestion of Barraqué Sequences is one well worth exploring.

Thank you, but let me emphasize that the piece in question is properly Sequence, not Sequences. It is a single work for soprano and small ensemble, not a series of works.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Like Boulez?
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2015, 04:55:13 AM »
Thank you, but let me emphasize that the piece in question is properly Sequence, not Sequences. It is a single work for soprano and small ensemble, not a series of works.

Yes, I saw that mistake.

I'm in the middle of my third attempt to read Mort de Virgil, really inspired by Barraqué's music. I'm getting further than ever before (I've read up to the end of Fire now) Reading it in French - I wonder how much is lost in translation.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 04:56:55 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Like Boulez?
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2015, 01:47:54 PM »
I listened to pages d'éphéméride and thought that anyone who likes it would like Snowdrifts (Finnissy)

But then I listened to the 1981 version of Repons and to Eclats/Multiples and drew a complete blank, the music is unique, nothing I can think of resembles it.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Like Boulez?
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2015, 02:00:29 AM »
Here's another.

If you like Explosante-Fixe then you'll like Pulse Shadows (Birtwistle), at least the instrumental parts.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen


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Re: Like Boulez?
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2015, 04:29:23 AM »
I think that the idea that Boulez composes "pretty sounds" would be taken as an insult by him.
As he says "All these years, I’ve been trying to convince people that music is not there to please them; it’s there to disturb them.’

How like him, this shallow b-&-w thinking  ;)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Niko240

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Re: Like Boulez?
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2015, 05:39:07 AM »
I think that the idea that Boulez composes "pretty sounds" would be taken as an insult by him.
As he says "All these years, I’ve been trying to convince people that music is not there to please them; it’s there to disturb them.’


You're right, "pretty sounds" is the wrong way to put it.  But Boulez would not have been insulted if his listeners took pleasure from his music and deemed parts beautiful.  I don't only listen to Boulez for the beauty, his music is richer than that.

Here he talks about conducting, but the same could apply to his music in general:

"The sensual pleasure afforded by the work?"

P.B. "An accurate performance of the work includes that.  It also involves translating it into sound, and when that's done properly, it satisfies you intellectually and physically. In the end, that's all that counts...

"And that's pleasure?"

P.B. "Oh, it's far more than pleasure.  If that's the vocabulary you want to use, it would be better to say 'joy' rather than 'pleasure'."

Conversations with Boulez: Thoughts on Conducting


I was being confusing and superficial with the concepts I was using.  Was just seeking recommendations on contemporary composers with the "sonorous qualities" that (poco) Sforzando articulated.  However, I do agree that might be completely idiosyncratic, like amw said.  Maybe people find the music of Xenakis, for example, just as beautiful as the music of Boulez.  Despite not being clear, I have received plenty of great recommendations here, thanks again.


Offline Niko240

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Re: Like Boulez?
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2015, 05:41:08 AM »
How like him, this shallow b-&-w thinking  ;)

lol, having read many of his interviews, this is very true.  I believe I have fallen victim to the same kind of thinking in here.

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Re: Like Boulez?
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2015, 08:28:56 AM »
How like him, this shallow b-&-w thinking  ;)

FTFY. 
It deserves to be more prominent ...

>:D

Offline escher

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Re: Like Boulez?
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2015, 12:55:40 PM »
Just to be clear, I completely disagree with him on that kind of mentality and I hope that some great chef just because eating is culture and culture has to disturb will serve him a big turd on a plate. If the culture has to disturb, bon appetit Pierre!

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