Author Topic: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)  (Read 141821 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline ritter

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4747
  • La création du monde (Fernand Léger)
  • Location: "La Villa y Corte"
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1300 on: June 26, 2017, 09:02:41 AM »
Mark Berry on Répons in Vienna last week: http://boulezian.blogspot.com.es/2017/06/klangforum-wienbronnimann-boulez-19.html.



I would agree with Mr. Berry  that any concert of this work is an "occasion", and would add that its greatness can only be fully appreciated in live performance.



« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 12:47:11 PM by ritter »
Ritter
-------------------------------------------------------------
”Sólo lo difícil es estimulante; sólo la resistencia que nos reta, es capaz de enarcar, suscitar y mantener nuestra potencia de conocimiento”.

ComposerOfAvantGarde

  • Guest
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1301 on: June 26, 2017, 12:32:21 PM »
Oh man I wish I had the opportunity to see it live. :(

Why mus it never be performed where I can see it!

Offline ritter

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4747
  • La création du monde (Fernand Léger)
  • Location: "La Villa y Corte"
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1302 on: September 06, 2017, 04:06:50 AM »
The following CD release is announced for next week:


Pascal Gallois had already recorded Le Marteau... and Éclat (on a CD that also includes Dialogue de l'ombre double).

What's new on this release it that it includes Boulez specialist Dimitri Vassilakis playing a short piano piece (from 1987) with the (quite revealing) title Fragment d'une ébauche, which was first played in public in 2013 in the composer's presence. I can't imagine these 30" of music being all that special, but well... ;)

Other works ion the disc are Dérive 1, the Third Piano Sonata, plus Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 05:07:19 AM by ritter »
Ritter
-------------------------------------------------------------
”Sólo lo difícil es estimulante; sólo la resistencia que nos reta, es capaz de enarcar, suscitar y mantener nuestra potencia de conocimiento”.

Offline CRCulver

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 470
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1303 on: September 07, 2017, 02:40:17 PM »

Other works on the disc are ... the Third Piano Sonata

Weird. Vassilakis already recorded the Third Piano Sonata and the other sonatas on the "Pierre Boulez und das Klavier" release on Cybele Records. That release was on a SACD with surround sound, so there's really no point of doing this again in Stradivarius’s usually unspectacular sound.

Offline ritter

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4747
  • La création du monde (Fernand Léger)
  • Location: "La Villa y Corte"
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1304 on: September 07, 2017, 10:10:49 PM »
Weird. Vassilakis already recorded the Third Piano Sonata and the other sonatas on the "Pierre Boulez und das Klavier" release on Cybele Records. That release was on a SACD with surround sound, so there's really no point of doing this again in Stradivarius’s usually unspectacular sound.


Indeed... perhaps Vassilakis makes other interpretative choices this time around, given the aleatoric elements of the Third Piano Sonata. But still, curious that he commits the work to disc twice in such relatively quick succession, even more so since his Cybele disc already included the (unpublished?) "formant" Sigle.
Ritter
-------------------------------------------------------------
”Sólo lo difícil es estimulante; sólo la resistencia que nos reta, es capaz de enarcar, suscitar y mantener nuestra potencia de conocimiento”.

Offline snyprrr

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 11061
  • SQs, PQs, PQTs, PTs, VSs, Berlioz-Xenakis/Aperghis
  • Currently Listening to:
    Things that are crisp and spritely vs. things that are thick and creamy
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1305 on: September 10, 2017, 05:12:05 PM »
Stradivarius’s usually unspectacular sound.

 ;) :laugh:
Rat Poison is 99% Good Food, so Follow the Money

Haydn-Sikh

Offline Brewski

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 11806
  • "Man With No Shadow" by Makoto Tojiki (2009)
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1306 on: September 30, 2017, 03:09:53 AM »
This week, hearing Répons, with Matthias Pintscher and Ensemble intercontemporain, staged at the enormous Park Avenue Armory here -- the size of an airplane hangar. (You can hear the piece with Pintscher and the group on YouTube, in very good audio/video.)

The interesting part: They're doing it twice each night, and the audience will change seats for the second performance, for a "new sonic perspective." I have high expectations.

http://armoryonpark.org/programs_events/detail/repons

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9449
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1307 on: September 30, 2017, 03:15:25 AM »
This week, hearing Répons, with Matthias Pintscher and Ensemble intercontemporain, staged at the enormous Park Avenue Armory here -- the size of an airplane hangar. (You can hear the piece with Pintscher and the group on YouTube, in very good audio/video.)

The interesting part: They're doing it twice each night, and the audience will change seats for the second performance, for a "new sonic perspective." I have high expectations.

http://armoryonpark.org/programs_events/detail/repons

--Bruce

Boulez used to get the audience to change places half way through, he did that in the 1982 London prom performance.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8040
  • An American Hero!
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1308 on: September 30, 2017, 04:10:46 AM »
This week, hearing Répons, with Matthias Pintscher and Ensemble intercontemporain, staged at the enormous Park Avenue Armory here -- the size of an airplane hangar. (You can hear the piece with Pintscher and the group on YouTube, in very good audio/video.)

The interesting part: They're doing it twice each night, and the audience will change seats for the second performance, for a "new sonic perspective." I have high expectations.

http://armoryonpark.org/programs_events/detail/repons

--Bruce

In conjunction with that performance, the Wall Street Journal published an article under their Masterpiece section:

Quote
In the early ’90s, ... Pierre Boulez...was giving a Carnegie Hall workshop for young conductors. At one point an apprehensive participant was leading the orchestra through the beginning of a contemporary piece—the kind of rhythmically complex, texturally intricate music that was Mr. Boulez’s stock in trade—and though the student was giving it his all, it just wasn’t working.

The young man’s hands, arms and shoulders meticulously delineated the work’s every musical detail, offering the players a perfect roadmap to follow, yet the sound of the orchestra was stiff and aimless. “You can’t do that to the musicians,” admonished Mr. Boulez, before explaining that by subdividing every difficult rhythm and micromanaging each element in the score, he had succeeded only in creating excessive tension in the performers. Then Mr. Boulez raised his own arm in a single sweeping gesture and the ensemble suddenly came to life, the music opening up like a blossoming flower.

Despite his reputation for mathematical precision and formal rigor, the French master was avowing the primacy of sonic beauty. It shouldn’t have been a great surprise: Much of his original music traffics in such contrasts, reconciling the twin poles of strict organization and spontaneous play, or the impulse to spin logical structures with the visceral pleasure of basking in instrumental color.

No Boulez work demonstrates this philosophical friction more than “Répons” (“Response”), a 1981 composition (later revised) for six pitched-percussion soloists, an ensemble of strings and winds, and live electronics, lasting 45 minutes.

See:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/composing-organized-delirium-1506715586
COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline ritter

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4747
  • La création du monde (Fernand Léger)
  • Location: "La Villa y Corte"
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1309 on: September 30, 2017, 05:05:09 AM »
This week, hearing Répons, with Matthias Pintscher and Ensemble intercontemporain, staged at the enormous Park Avenue Armory here -- the size of an airplane hangar. (You can hear the piece with Pintscher and the group on YouTube, in very good audio/video.)

The interesting part: They're doing it twice each night, and the audience will change seats for the second performance, for a "new sonic perspective." I have high expectations.

http://armoryonpark.org/programs_events/detail/repons

--Bruce
Splendid! I envy you, and hope your high expectations are surpassed. I've said this before: I saw the piece conducted by the composer here in Madrid (in a sports arena) in 1992, and it was one of the highlights of my concert-going life. We only got to hear it once (it was preceded by Dialogue de l'ombre double played by Alain Damiens), but we did get Boulez conducting Le Marteau sans maître on the following evening in the National Auditorium.  :)

Do report, Bruce, if you feel like it. I'd love to know your impressions.  8)

Quote from: The WSJ
Despite his reputation for mathematical precision and formal rigor, the French master was avowing the primacy of sonic beauty. It shouldn’t have been a great surprise: Much of his original music traffics in such contrasts, reconciling the twin poles of strict organization and spontaneous play, or the impulse to spin logical structures with the visceral pleasure of basking in instrumental color.

No Boulez work demonstrates this philosophical friction more than “Répons” (“Response”), a 1981 composition (later revised) for six pitched-percussion soloists, an ensemble of strings and winds, and live electronics, lasting 45 minutes.
I think these two paragraphs very aptly summarize one of the reasons why many of us (or at least, I  ;)) find PB's music so infintely appealing. When I used the word "sensuous" in a recent discussion in the WAYLTN thread, I meant exactly this.

Cheers,
Ritter
-------------------------------------------------------------
”Sólo lo difícil es estimulante; sólo la resistencia que nos reta, es capaz de enarcar, suscitar y mantener nuestra potencia de conocimiento”.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 48583
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1310 on: September 30, 2017, 05:10:30 AM »
In conjunction with that performance, the Wall Street Journal published an article under their Masterpiece section:

See:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/composing-organized-delirium-1506715586

Very nice!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
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 k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 48583
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1311 on: September 30, 2017, 05:12:38 AM »
I think these two paragraphs very aptly summarize one of the reasons why many of us (or at least, I  ;) ) find PB's music so infinitely appealing. When I used the word "sensuous" in a recent discussion in the WAYLTN thread, I meant exactly this.

I could endorse that entirely, with the personal alteration of removal of the adverb infinitely (which is not at all to say that your own finding should be at all otherwise than infinite)  8)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
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 k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 48583
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1312 on: September 30, 2017, 05:14:11 AM »
This week, hearing Répons, with Matthias Pintscher and Ensemble intercontemporain, staged at the enormous Park Avenue Armory here -- the size of an airplane hangar. (You can hear the piece with Pintscher and the group on YouTube, in very good audio/video.)

The interesting part: They're doing it twice each night, and the audience will change seats for the second performance, for a "new sonic perspective." I have high expectations.

http://armoryonpark.org/programs_events/detail/repons

--Bruce

Très cool, indeed.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
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 ritter

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4747
  • La création du monde (Fernand Léger)
  • Location: "La Villa y Corte"
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1313 on: September 30, 2017, 05:28:33 AM »
I could endorse that entirely, with the personal alteration of removal of the adverb infinitely (which is not at all to say that your own finding should be at all otherwise than infinite)  8)
Good day, Karl!

Yep, with Boulez to infinity and beyond!  ;D You see, I was first exposed to his music in 1975 (excerpts of Le Marteau... on, of all places, the inflight entertainment system of an Air France flight from Paris to Caracas) and was blown away...my admiration has not stopped to grow since then. So yes, so far its allure is "infinite" to me.  ;)

Re Répons (which I am listening to as I write): the entrance of the soloists (boosted by the electronics) after the introduction is simply mesmerzeing (these "arpeggiated arpeggios"). And in section 6, the busy filigress of the ensemble and soloists (with such a shimmering sound) are unexpectedly underpinned by isolated, few and far between, notes of the tuba. The effect is nothing short of miraculous IMHO.  :)
Ritter
-------------------------------------------------------------
”Sólo lo difícil es estimulante; sólo la resistencia que nos reta, es capaz de enarcar, suscitar y mantener nuestra potencia de conocimiento”.

Offline ritter

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4747
  • La création du monde (Fernand Léger)
  • Location: "La Villa y Corte"
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1314 on: October 09, 2017, 07:18:01 AM »
Cross-posted from the WAYLTN thread:

Listened to the world première recording of Pierre Boulez's Fragment d'une ébauche for piano, from this CD that landed today:



It turns out this 30" miniature was a present by Boulez to a colleague at the Collège de France, the chemist Jean-Marie Lehn, on the occasion of his being awarded the Nobel Prize in 1987 [Lehn, not Boulez  ;)]. It was first performed in public in 2013, with the composer and the dedicatee in attendance, but Boulez decided not to include it in his "official" catalogue of works. His heirs have permitted its posthumous release on CD. It's supposed to be sketch for a work for piano and ensemble that never materialized  :(.

Not life-changing, but this very busy piece is interesting and enjoyable, with the persistent (and unusual) use of syncopated rhythms being its most salient feature. Of course, it's all over in a sigh. Dimitri Vassilakis is an expert on Boulez, and his performance seems to be what the piece needs (there's nothing to compare it to, of course).

Proceeded then to listen to Dérive 1 which opens the CD, and found Pascal Gallois's performance--leading the hitherto unknown to me Prague Modern ensemble--very convincing, as it appears to me like a suaver approach to this short work (which I must confess was never among my favourites by its composer).
« Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 10:40:58 AM by ritter »
Ritter
-------------------------------------------------------------
”Sólo lo difícil es estimulante; sólo la resistencia que nos reta, es capaz de enarcar, suscitar y mantener nuestra potencia de conocimiento”.

millionrainbows

  • Guest
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1315 on: October 09, 2017, 09:33:59 AM »
Re; the Schoenberg/Boulez CD: From the samples, it is a sparklingly clear recording. I must get this.

Offline ritter

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4747
  • La création du monde (Fernand Léger)
  • Location: "La Villa y Corte"
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1316 on: October 09, 2017, 12:08:28 PM »
Re; the Schoenberg/Boulez CD: From the samples, it is a sparklingly clear recording. I must get this.
Oh yes. Contrary to what we were led to expect, the sound is very good, pemitting an unusual level of detail in Dérive 1 (and that's perhaps what made me like the piece better ths time around). Still have to listen to Verklärte Nacht and the PB Trosième sonate, though.
Ritter
-------------------------------------------------------------
”Sólo lo difícil es estimulante; sólo la resistencia que nos reta, es capaz de enarcar, suscitar y mantener nuestra potencia de conocimiento”.

ComposerOfAvantGarde

  • Guest
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1317 on: October 09, 2017, 02:58:03 PM »
Cross-posted from the WAYLTN thread:
Very interesting! Probably worth a listen.....I do like these little musical gifts that Boulez wrote (Solti's 80th birthday fanfare being another one I think is lovely to listen to)

Offline (poco) Sforzando

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 5550
  • Location: Long Island, NY
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1318 on: October 09, 2017, 07:11:23 PM »
Boulez: Répons, Park Avenue Armory, NY, Oct. 7, 2017

The improbably situated Armory on Park Avenue at 66th Street in NY with its immense Drill Hall has of late been the home for cultural events that sound exceptional in the planning but have often fallen short in the execution.

To take a few examples: a performance of Bernd Alois Zimmermann's opera “Die Soldaten” in 2008, where audience members were seated right and left of the stage on risers that moved forward and back during the performance, was marred by impossible sight lines unless one’s seat was close to the stage. I myself couldn’t see a thing. The Royal Shakespeare Company, visiting for five often disappointingly directed performances in summer 2011, constructed a special stage of its own within the Armory but both elevators and air conditioning malfunctioned often, and acoustics from the upper rows made it nearly impossible to hear the actors.

In 2014 Kenneth Branagh brought an expensive Macbeth to the stage; audience members were separated into “clans” and were made to do “clan shouts” before being escorted to high benches without backs for two intermissionless hours for those not willing for fork over $200 for the best seats. And then in 2012 came the NY premiere of Stockhausen’s Gruppen performed by the NY Philharmonic, coupled with Boulez’s Rituel, Ives’s Unanswered Question, and (improbably) the Act One Finale of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, which was a cacophony of ragged ensemble with oddly costumed individuals roaming the vast Drill Hall and trying unsuccessfully to find a downbeat. Louis Andriessen’s “De Materie” last year was more successfully staged, but the main interest was in watching the herd of 100 live sheep rather than anything musical.

And so it was with some apprehension that I entered the Hall for last weekend’s performance of Boulez’s Répons. Actually two performances back to back, for conductor Matthias Pintscher’s inspired conceit was to play the 45-minute piece twice and reseat the audience after intermission. And this makes sense when you realize that Répons is conceived spatially: in this iteration, a large chamber orchestra, here the Ensemble InterContemporain, is surrounded on all four sides by the audience. Then six soloists playing pitched percussion (2 pianos, harp, cimbalon, etc.) are situated behind the audience and spaced around the perimeter of the hall. There’s also a synthesizer that manipulates the soloists’ sounds and sends them back into the hall via about a dozen loudspeakers situated above the performers and audience.

With this arrangement, for once the nonsensically huge and reverberant Drill Hall made perfect auditory and visual sense. I was seated behind the conductor for performance 1, and reseated behind the brass for performance 2. This meant I was also closer to different soloists for each performance, and so the music sounded both the same and different. (For example, in the central section the loud tuba pedal notes, barely audible in performance 1, predominated in performance 2.) Those seated at the sides of the orchestral ensemble probably had a different auditory experience still.

Not only under Pintscher’s direction was the performance fluid and (as my friend Pradyut Shah put it) more romantic than under Boulez himself in his recording, but the lighting plot was similarly inspired. As one enters the hall the whole area is shrouded in fog; then when the chamber orchestra starts, a couple of dozen spotlights stream vertically from the ceiling with the soloists in darkness. About 5-6 minutes in, perhaps the most celebrated moment in the piece occurs when the six soloists enter, and here the lighting plot expanded to multiple diagonals to illuminate these performers. Stunning, and you could see audience members smiling in delight. Last, when the orchestra falls silent at the coda and only the soloists play, all overhead lights fade to dark with only enough illumination for the soloists to read, and the dozen loudspeakers suspended from the ceiling are now outlined.

A totally successful experience, in other words, with comfortable chairs and since everyone was seated at orchestra level, no need to climb the many steep stairs to the Drill Hall’s upper balcony. Pintscher made a more compelling case for the work than even Boulez did when I heard him conduct it in Carnegie Hall in 2003. Even the program booklet at the Armory, 16" high by 11" across and printed white on black, showed unusual care in graphic design. A similar performance arrangement could be tried profitably with Stockhausen’s Gruppen, or with the one major work by Boulez that hasn’t been performed in NY for decades, the wonderful Pli selon Pli.

Another review, showing a bit of the lighting plot:
http://www.vulture.com/2017/10/music-review-a-double-dose-of-pierre-boulezs-rpons.html
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 44239
  • Rued Langgaard (1893 - 1952)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    Musik fra den himmelske by
Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
« Reply #1319 on: October 09, 2017, 09:04:35 PM »
Awesome, Sforzando! I would very much have loved to have seen that concert. I wonder if something by Henry Brant might work well there, too? He was, as you probably already know, quite interested in spatial music.
“I really would like to go to Marmorkirken. It was there that I heard music for the first time, and that experience is like a heavenly vision for me.” - Rued Langgaard