GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Brewski on January 17, 2008, 10:54:31 AM

Title: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on January 17, 2008, 10:54:31 AM
Apparently no Boulez thread!  :o  Just to get the ball rolling, tonight I'm seeing this concert at Zankel Hall.  I haven't heard Le Marteau live, although I have the recording below, also with Hilary Summers as the soloist.  And I haven't yet heard the Lucerne Ensemble, so looking forward to that, too.

Lucerne Festival Academy Ensemble
Pierre Boulez, Artistic Director and Conductor
Hilary Summers, Contralto

Boulez: Le Marteau sans maître 
Boulez: sur Incises 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: springrite on January 17, 2008, 11:04:07 AM
Oh, boy! If there is one work by Boulez I'd love to hear LIVE it would be Le Marteau! Actually I only acquired it late last year, belatedly (since I know many people who consider it to be his best work), on my trip to Canada. It is indeed magnificent!

This work now is heading to or near the top of my list of favorite Boulez work, the others include Pli selon Pli, Repons and Explosant ...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 17, 2008, 11:23:00 AM
Having heard oncle Pierre conduct both works in Zankel before, I'll skip tonight. But it's a marvelous experience - especially as musicians are so much more secure in performing these works than they were even ten years ago.

The Boulez that I most want to hear live is Pli selon Pli. There was a performance of three sections in Buffalo, NY, some months ago (omitting the complex outer movements Don and Tombeau - without which PsP is much diminished), but I couldn't justify the long trip from NYC if the whole work was not to be performed. Other than that, I don't think it's been done in the US for decades, if at all.

Still, on recordings, I favor Boulez's earlier performances of PsP and LMsM. The Sony PsP, for example, is sharper and more dynamic than the more serenely coloristic sounds Boulez draws from musicians today on DGG. As he's become a grand old man, some of the fire has gone out of his belly . . . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on January 17, 2008, 11:40:32 AM
It hardly needs saying that music conceived in a purely abstract way will be arid & mostly meaningless.

I would substitute "can be" for "will be," since abstract methods don't necessarily always yield meaningless results, IMHO.

It's hard to say, of course, whether his music will withstand the test of time, although I suspect a few works--Le Marteau and the piano sonatas--will probably be performed now and then.  I agree with all the comments on the stature of Répons--it's a fave--but it bothers me that its technical hurdles may prevent it from being performed very often.  If people can't hear it (and for this purpose I mean live), that somehow seems not ideal.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: toledobass on January 17, 2008, 11:42:27 AM
Sweet Jeezus Bruce.  Although I don't listen to it regularly,  I love that album.  Please give us a blow by blow review.  Wish I could be there.


Allan
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on January 17, 2008, 11:47:39 AM
Sure thing, Allan!  I may even do a "full" article for MusicWeb

Also forgot to mention that I heard Hilary Summers live last year in George Benjamin's eerie Into the Little Hill, a reworking of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.  She was marvelous.

Edit: here's a photo from that.  Summers is on the left in red, with Anu Komsi and the Ensemble Modern. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: paulb on January 17, 2008, 11:49:06 AM
Apparently no Boulez thread!  :o  Just to get the ball rolling, tonight I'm seeing this concert at Zankel Hall.  I haven't heard Le Marteau live, although I have the recording below, also with Hilary Summers as the soloist.  And I haven't yet heard the Lucerne Ensemble, so looking forward to that, too.

Lucerne Festival Academy Ensemble
Pierre Boulez, Artistic Director and Conductor
Hilary Summers, Contralto

Boulez: Le Marteau sans maître 
Boulez: sur Incises 

--Bruce

Since hearing 3 Youtube clips last week, I placed the 4 cd set on  wish list, will be moved to order list next week, cash crunch is easing.

Here's one of the 3 I watched.
Though strong influences of Schonberg's Moses and Aron, still Boulez manages to bring forth a  distinct creative voice. This is part of a  larger work, I believe Pli selon Pli.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhcZM7cFy_c

and Boulez's sonata 1 with Aimard, also made a   powerful impression. Though I'm sure others may feel differently.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBhXrFp0AXE&feature=related


I was less impressed with this sur incises. Not enough interconnectivity/relationship  between the various percussions..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tQe59D5Pzs&feature=related

Though when the 4 cd set arrives, my opinion perhaps may alter once i hear the entire work.

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on January 17, 2008, 11:57:57 AM
Thanks for posting that video.  It's actually Le soleil des eaux, which I haven't heard, so that's helpful.  And just saw the clip with Aimard, who at this point can probably play just about anything.  0:)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on January 17, 2008, 12:11:48 PM
er Bruce, i did say "mostly meaningless"...not always...as I went on further to explain. The huge bulk of so-called modern music is so overstretched & neurotic in moving "forward", and which yields a tiny (but amazing) quotient of quality 'new' music. Remember the malaise of musical alienation that Western art music has been going through ... it yields maybe an iota of consolidation/ 'development' ... and a ton of rootless hypothetical drivel. Trying to reinvent the wheel all the time (neurotic western art) doesn't necessarily mean the wheel has been reinvented. And what now masquerades as change is mostly contrived, intellectual conceptions of form (non-organic) and fatuous 'logic' orientated intellectual validations to accompany them. Most of this music is conceived exactly the wrong way round - from outside in. It is poor art. Even invalid art. Yep it's that word again: invalid. There's real change ... which might be less dramatic outwardly ... and there's fake change, which is just failure. People who are catalysts to change aren't always as musically successful as we are led to think. Schoenberg is a good example. Boulez considered him a failure, though a heroic one. I think that is an accurate summary. If, say 20 years on, interesting is all that I can say about most modern music, then it is not going to be enough to be great to me. This is why I don't think hardly any of it has "legs".

At this point (just very briefly, since unfortunately I don't have time at the moment to discuss at length), all I can say is that my experience with most modern music has been very different, although I respect your viewpoint and certainly agree that there is poor art running around.  (A concert a few years ago comes to mind, by a group known for its improvisation, and for the final piece they donned white masks.  :-X  I was wincing.)  But all I can say is that my experience with many different living composers has been overwhelmingly positive.

I don't expect most people to like Boulez, and he doesn't seem to represent the field, as such.  Boulez may have (rightly or wrongly) ended up as the poster boy for modernism, but at this point there are far too many composers working, in too many different styles, to give Boulez the "leader" spot.  I doubt he thinks much of Andriessen, for example, whom I think is also one of the century's most influential composers, but is completely different.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: paulb on January 17, 2008, 12:36:41 PM
er Bruce, i did say "mostly meaningless"...not always...as I went on further to explain. The huge bulk of so-called modern music is so overstretched & neurotic in moving "forward", and which yields a tiny (but amazing) quotient of quality 'new' music. Remember the malaise of musical alienation that Western art music has been going through ... it yields maybe an iota of consolidation/ 'development' ... and a ton of rootless hypothetical drivel. Trying to reinvent the wheel all the time (neurotic western art) doesn't necessarily mean the wheel has been reinvented. And what now masquerades as change is mostly contrived, intellectual conceptions of form (non-organic) and fatuous 'logic' orientated intellectual validations to accompany them. Most of this music is conceived exactly the wrong way round - from outside in. It is poor art. Even invalid art. Yep it's that word again: invalid. There's real change ... which might be less dramatic outwardly ... and there's fake change, which is just failure. People who are catalysts to change aren't always as musically successful as we are led to think. Schoenberg is a good example. Boulez considered him a failure, though a heroic one. I think that is an accurate summary. If, say 20 years on, interesting is all that I can say about most modern music, then it is not going to be enough to be great to me. This is why I don't think hardly any of it has "legs".
This is a  good post.
And i assume you have other posts which tend in this direction, with the belief that much late modern 20th C music is questioanble as to its content being truly High art. Only the passage of time will have to test the works, like the kiln fire of pottery.
I'm in sympathy with you on this issue. I draw extremely strick lines as to what makes my list as  embracing that tradition known as CM, otherwise known as High Art.
As i say, i can't make a  solid opinion on Boulez until I get the 4  cd set. My hunch is that some of his works have this creative essense that can be considered High Art, while others may not offer this essence i'm after.

But i agree most late 20th C music is a  sub category of the traditional genre known as CM. No  thats not accurate.
i have to feel that Elliot Carter had clearly understood what minimalism and other avant garde music really is in essence, when he stated some yrs ago, that these modern peculiarly odd idosyncratic  expressions  are "the death of music'. I realize this is not the topic for bringing up Carter's controversial comment, but couldn't resist.

yeah i realize that the old school is still harping this same line about Schonberg as "the devil himself', so said the amazon reviewer of what his piano teacher said to him about Schonberg.
The guy found out, after actually listening to Schonberg  yrs later that his teacher was mistaken, and was making a  projection out of ignorance and prejudice.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: paulb on January 17, 2008, 01:18:42 PM
I put the bulk of Elliott Carter's music in the same category as Boulez.

Well considering Boulez is the most important conductor in the 20th C,  your comment says alot.
I was hesitant to explore Boulez, due to the fact it was difficult to believe a  great conductor at the same time had the creative energy to bring forth worthwhile compositions. The Youtube offerings took me by surprise as to what Boulez has to offer.
how much of an influence was Varese, Carter and Stravinsky upon Boulez? 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 18, 2008, 06:25:01 AM
I put the bulk of Elliott Carter's music in the same category as Boulez.

Nothing like painting with a broad brush. Carter's style and aesthetics are quite different from Boulez's.

And yet despite the tirades above - "neurotic," "invalid," "abstract," what have you - you admit that:

Quote
"I even like some of it, and admire him.... I think he (and other big modern music names of the 2nd half of the 20th who fall into this category) still did manage to produce at least a few powerful & meaningful nuggets that best describes the modern zeitgeist, and that should be assimulated with the canon of great works...
For Boulez earlier things like the Piano Sonatas & Le Marteau sans Maitre...great. And he's churned out some remarkable pieces in his late-years, in particular Repons & Sur Incises. Love those."

In all honesty I don't understand your position. Part of it sounds like knee-jerk rejection of modernism. But then you have some positive things to say about Boulez's music that are not what I'd expect from the orthodox anti-modernist stance. If you like and love some of Boulez's music, why undercut your apparent admiration with all this theoretical baggage?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 18, 2008, 06:35:23 AM
Well considering Boulez is the most important conductor in the 20th C,  your comment says alot.

Certainly not a point that can be asserted quite so dogmatically. There are any number of other 20th c. conductors at least as important as Boulez, in terms of their influence on shaping performance style.


I was hesitant to explore Boulez, due to the fact it was difficult to believe a  great conductor at the same time had the creative energy to bring forth worthwhile compositions.

Boulez was a composer first, and came to devote himself to conducting only in the 1960s after he had written many of his most important works. The bulk of his recent activities have been in conducting, and much as he may say that he wants to devote himself more to composition, he no longer appears to have the drive and concentration needed to be primarily a composer. (Bernstein, despite his very different personality and aesthetic, found himself in much the same position.) I especially admire Boulez's early works, and find some of the later ones (Derive II, Messagexquisse, etc.) less imaginative and spontaneous than the best of his early pieces. My feeling is that Boulez's primary attention to conducting in the past three decades is at once a reaction to the drying up of his creative energies, as well as a way of avoiding the concentration needed to truly compose. A career in both performance and composition poses a difficult problem in balance for the modern musician - a balance that was perhaps best achieved by Gustav Mahler.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on January 18, 2008, 02:36:00 PM
Last night's concert was really enjoyable, with Boulez offering comments just before each half.  Most interestingly, he mentioned the world premiere of Le Marteau in Baden-Baden, which he said required 50 hours of rehearsal, and the United States premiere in Los Angeles, which required sixty.  These musicians from the Lucerne Festival Academy did it in "eight or ten."  I do think that musicians today are much more comfortable with scores like these.  He was also asked about his tendency to expand his smaller works into larger ones, which Boulez traced directly back to the years when he began conducting Wagner, and his development of motifs over long spans of time. 

If Le Marteau continues to be fascinating, but a little impenetrable, sur Incises might be more immediately enjoyable (at least to me).  It seems more related to the glittering textures of Répons, albeit with no electronics.  The unusual scoring is for three pianos, three harps and three percussionists.  (Boulez has programmed this piece with Bartók's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion and Stravinsky's Les Noces with four pianos.)  It's about 40 minutes long, with the three trios of instruments echoing each other or as Boulez said, "playing ping pong," sometimes in huge waves of sound.  Much of the time I could only smile and shake my head, watching these young musicians playing, often bobbing their heads, clearly grooving on it.

For such a formidable musician, Boulez is really quite funny and charming.  Since he's "only" 82, I hope we have more appearances by him in store. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joe Barron on January 18, 2008, 03:22:45 PM
What,no clever, alliterative title for this thread? No "Boulez Bash" or "Pierre Pit"?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: paulb on January 18, 2008, 04:15:20 PM
Not painting with a broad brush, both Boulez & Carter fit under the umbrella of 2nd-half 20th modern classical music. I'm not an "anti-modernist". I have a large collection of contemporary music....I just don't think the bulk of modern music has much "legs" for many of the reasons i've mentioned...despite that, yes, many of the big names of the 2nd half of the 20th century (incl. Boulez & Carter) still did manage to produce at least a few good nuggets, and it's enough for a small modern canon to be carved out, that can be assimulated with the best of the 1st half of the 20th, and altogether to be assimulated with the best of the previous centuries...and orchestra directors & conductors better start picking out, programming, exposing & unlocking the wonders & mysteries of 20th/21st century classical music to audiences more often, more than a mere premiere performance, not enough of them are doing this...It should be the primary mission of every music director and soloist today. Familiarity is the key to unlocking much of the mystery of quality modern classical music! Because if you look at the reality of the situation, an entire century’s worth is grossly underrepresented in the concert hall, for the most part it's been left by the wayside...while the warhorses from the prior 125 years are being performed to the point that most concert-goers no longer even hear them...

James you raise some valid points.
Does and can late 20th C composers offer something of value in comparison with early 20th C composers?
Lets not bring in pre Debussy composers, thats  another epoch all together.
I have almost everything Carter scored and have found all to be high art. i'm not interested in gathering all the most popular composers music on my shelf. Only that which strikes me as offering something as unique as the did the major composers in the 19th C.
I've never quite understood the concept of seeing how much music can be crammed in between ones ears before death.  Whats the point of having a  hundred favorite composers?
I'm gald you point out that we have yet a  ways to go with bringing major late 20th C composers to the forefront in the concert halls. Refer to Joe baron's excellent comments on his recent experience of the all Carter piano recital with Oppens and carter present/NYC.
And Bruce's attendance of the Boulez program. Here we see some stirrings going on, but much more needs to happen.
Its doubtful the german audiences even know much about Hartmann. he passed away some 60 yrs now.
We have to wait for new young conductors to come along who wield a  iron baton and will only have the late 20th C as their special interest. This may take some yrs, as we have to wait til the antiquated conductors  move on to the "elysian fields".
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 18, 2008, 04:33:23 PM
What,no clever, alliterative title for this thread? No "Boulez Bash" or "Pierre Pit"?

How 'bout "The Boulez Bowl"?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: paulb on January 18, 2008, 05:01:52 PM
How 'bout "The Boulez Bowl"?

as soon as i get the 4 cd set in, I may see if this would be appropriate
The Boulez's Banquet.
so far based on 2 of the 3 Youtube clips, all the ingredients seem to be there.
btw i was a  New Orleans chef in my younger days, I know food ;D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on January 18, 2008, 09:23:32 PM
Hah!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: duncan on January 24, 2008, 02:08:14 PM
What,no clever, alliterative title for this thread? No "Boulez Bash" or "Pierre Pit"?

Boulez Boulevard perhaps, although Laboratoire Boulez might be more appropriate.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on January 24, 2008, 02:16:34 PM
Boulez Boulevard perhaps, although Laboratoire Boulez might be more appropriate.

I like "Laboratoire Boulez."  Sounds like a slightly upscale restaurant.  ;D

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on March 26, 2008, 10:19:12 AM
Happy Birthday, Pierre!  Later today I'll put on the headphones and listen to what is perhaps my favorite Boulez recording, Répons.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: gomro on March 26, 2008, 04:28:16 PM
Happy Birthday, Pierre!  Later today I'll put on the headphones and listen to what is perhaps my favorite Boulez recording, Répons.

--Bruce

Much of Boulez strikes me as a French pastry... mmm mmm good, but leaving no lasting impression after the fact. A sort of atonal new age music.  Repons is not like that at all; it definitely sticks with one, and I might go so far as to say that if Boulez has composed a masterpiece, Repons is it.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: toledobass on March 26, 2008, 06:57:05 PM
I've just picked up the Jumpannen Piano Sonatas disk and have been spinning the first quite a bit.  While I still don't quite have an understanding of his language, I find I enjoy it and find it interesting and a little more within grasp upon each listening.  The few seconds of the second sounds like a tougher nut though.  Also been listning to Livre Pour Cordes quite a bit.   

Happy birthday dude.


Allan
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: uffeviking on April 24, 2008, 03:14:15 PM
From the Juxtapositions Docu series...

(http://www.naxos.com/SharedFiles/Images/cds/DVD9DS15.gif)
 

That's the DVD I watched for the past two afternoons and am fascinated by it. I am great fan of Pierre, though I don't understand a note he is saying. His music is challenging me to understand his language, not just love the sound of it. The video of Sur incises shows a skilled camera team!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on December 13, 2008, 04:13:45 PM
Patrick reflects on Boulez (http://wagnerite.blogspot.com/2008/12/my-music-is-also-seductive-even.html)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Kullervo on December 13, 2008, 05:27:03 PM
Patrick reflects on Boulez (http://wagnerite.blogspot.com/2008/12/my-music-is-also-seductive-even.html)

How can music be "attractive but dangerous"?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on December 13, 2008, 07:32:46 PM
How can music be "attractive but dangerous"?

A curious thought . . . what would make music "dangerous"?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: greg on December 13, 2008, 08:21:02 PM
Is there any way to meet Boulez in person? I want his autograph........
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Kullervo on December 13, 2008, 08:27:30 PM
A curious thought . . . what would make music "dangerous"?

Well I guess the feeling engendered within me by hearing Nickleback would be dangerous for the members of Nickleback.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: greg on December 13, 2008, 08:45:21 PM
Well I guess the feeling engendered within me by hearing Nickleback would be dangerous for the members of Nickleback.
Is there any way for me to meet members of rock bands or pop singers or country singers or rap stars? I want......
uh......
never mind.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on December 13, 2008, 08:46:12 PM
It's possible that what the mailman brought me today is of interest here:

A medici arts issue: Juxtapositions, five DVD of 5 Films on the Greatest 20th Century Composers.

Boulez - Carter - Glass - Messiaen - Pärt.

I have not had time watching it yet.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Symphonien on December 14, 2008, 04:34:53 AM
Just came across this hilarious clip:

 "Badass Boulez" (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=y17-pJZ9nEg) 8)

(At about 45 seconds in you'll see why.)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on December 14, 2008, 06:49:39 AM
Here us the complete information on the Juxtapositions edition:

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//3078398.htm
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: greg on December 14, 2008, 06:58:26 AM
Just came across this hilarious clip:

 "Badass Boulez" (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=y17-pJZ9nEg) 8)

(At about 45 seconds in you'll see why.)
I saw that before. Dude has style.  8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: greg on December 21, 2008, 07:41:21 PM
Boulez rehearsing an orchestra playing his Notations:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgKpoHFhP1M&feature=channel_page
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on March 26, 2009, 07:53:11 AM
Happy Birthday, Pierre Boulez!  He's 84 today.  About two weeks ago I saw him with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and he looked more like 64--amazing.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Charles on March 26, 2009, 08:27:47 AM
Si'!

Buon Compleanno senor Boulez!

Tanti Auguri!

 ;D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on March 26, 2009, 08:45:40 AM
Charles!  Long time (make that "long, long time") no see!  Welcome back...

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Charles on March 26, 2009, 09:03:28 AM
Charles!  Long time (make that "long, long time") no see!  Welcome back...

--Bruce

Many thanks Bruce!

Good to be back! ...



Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on March 26, 2009, 01:07:21 PM
Ciao, Carlo!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on March 26, 2009, 02:41:22 PM
If someone commissioned our man Pete to compose a symphony...

Would he accept it?  If not, why not.

Anybody want to theorize what it would sound like?  What size orchestra?

Would he surprise everybody and do something NEO-ROMANTIC???!!!   :o
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: greg on March 26, 2009, 03:17:39 PM

Would he surprise everybody and do something NEO-ROMANTIC???!!!   :o
I would love to hear that, given the music he is so familiar with. I like his music, but a neo-Romantic style would be a nice, fresh listen. I doubt he'd ever do that, though.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on July 10, 2009, 05:21:49 PM
Sur Incises vs. Repons
Who wins?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidW on July 10, 2009, 06:01:47 PM
Just came across this hilarious clip:

 "Badass Boulez" (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=y17-pJZ9nEg) 8)

(At about 45 seconds in you'll see why.)

That was baddass!  And a great performance too. 8) 8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on January 20, 2010, 07:42:22 PM
The library had the new DG Le Mateau, with Hilary Summers singing, and Derive 1 and Derive 2.



I haven't heard this piece since the beginning (when I probably hated Modern Music), and when I put it on now, after so much water, it sounded like home. I mean really,... the flute, guitar, and xylo percussion, diamond bright edge glittering garden of delights, I mean, whew! take about the stereotype of the stereotype, this stuff is the protean... anyway, yea, it's very comforting. I do think I would probably enjoy the rougher earlier version better though. This recording is so perfect, and I feel like I want a little bit o' uuhh in thar.

The first Derive piece is the short piece we've heard before, but the second is a 20min piece for 11 players. This is quite a refined form of all his latest pieces, all glittering diamond bright shapes as usual, but, hey, like Stravinsky said, I like it!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on January 21, 2010, 09:26:00 AM
Just a little factoid for you, that particular piece has been expanded and completed recently ... it plays close to 50 minutes now.

The first thing that pops in is Rihm's J&F/DG... hmmm,...the "50min piece", hey, it's the new thing, haha!

As I was listening to it I noticed how similar, on some level, late Xenakis began sounding like this, though, not really, but as was listening to Derive 2 I just got a "feeling" about what the last 20 years in music have been about,... I mean, even though there are no electronics, it seems to me that Boulez has been around the "it" of it all for so long now, that compositional technique per se has received something from the computer itself. Does that make sense (I'm reading it over and wondering, haha)?

Boulez seems to me so ubiquitous as to be practically invisible in my thinking about Modern Music. I totally take him, and his sound (especially the up-to-date Dervive 2 sound), for granted. For me, the same goes for Berio. I think, to Modern Music fans, Boulez and Berio are like the equivalent of Papa Haydn or something, no? Am I sentimental? ::)

I've been really itching to get Sur Incises for some time now, having had Repons since it came out. One could go totally broke just collecting Boulez, haha! I remember thinking back in the day, that, if DG came out with a Modern Music album, I HAD to get it, because DG could do no wrong. Whew, now we're playing catch up, haha. ...explosant, fixe... also, of course,has been on the radar.

Is Boulez our R. Strauss?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on January 21, 2010, 10:30:37 AM
I've been really itching to get Sur Incises for some time now . . .

I know the feeling! Or, rather, knew.  Just 90 minutes ago I fetched a copy for $8.99.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Franco on January 21, 2010, 11:13:05 AM
Just received (which I cannot wait to hear): 

Rituel in memoriam Maderna
Notations I, VII, IV, III, II (orchestrated 1980 & 1998)
Figure-Dobles-Prismes


Orchestre National de Lyon
David Robertson
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on January 21, 2010, 11:23:37 AM
Just received (which I cannot wait to hear): 

Rituel in memoriam Maderna
Notations I, VII, IV, III, II (orchestrated 1980 & 1998)
Figure-Dobles-Prismes


Orchestre National de Lyon
David Robertson

That does look very tasty.  I like Robertson a lot; some of my favorite concerts of the last few years have been with him at the helm.  And the Lyon orchestra may be a little underrated.  I have some friends (she's a pianist, her husband is a musicologist) who are talking about making a trip to Lyon just to hear the ensemble in person.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on March 07, 2010, 12:53:47 AM
Just recently got Sur Incises and ...explosante-fixe..., and the Boulezathon is on. Along with Repons, which I've had for (wow!) 12 years, I finally get to fill out the picture a bit. After this, I'm thinking Derive 2 might be too much of a good thing (or, just enough!).

Sur Incises is one of those pieces I've built up in my mind to be one thing, and,... hold it,...this piece, right at the end, begins to sound like I envisioned,... the Living Escalator. After a couple of goes I'm hooked to this Avant Sale at Macy's, all hectic Modern Life, yet very serene. My only complaint is that I'm either not hearing the three harps all that well (I do hear the extremely high plucks, and some low), or Boulez's harp writing is extrememly strategic. Someone please help.

Messagesquisse has never been a piece I could pay attention to, but, all of a sudden I'm listening to this great reading, with beautiful solo cello. Of course, now I see why all the cellos. Just like there is multiplicity in all these pieces.

The piece I really couldn't wait to hear was Anthemes 2. I'd heard some citicisms, but I have no complaints. I like the "presentation" of the piece, and I wonder how much engineer Andrew Gerzso credit shares, in general (much like Andre Richard?). The electronic manipulations emphasize a lot of fun, such as the groovey pizz that keep perculating, and the real violin that keeps flitting about. I haven't yet been able to "see" the interactions between "performers", but there does seem to be a yeoman's job by Gerzso at the controls. I guess Boulez is no Stockhausen (please, I'm not even going there ::)). I know this piece probably isn't the last word in electronic violin (anyone?), but I enjoy it as entertainment. How to aurally compare to Nono??hmmm...



Moving right along. ...explosant-fixe... is the piece everyone seems to be pointing to, along with the other two big pieces, as his Magnum Opus. I find all three pieces complement each other. The flute concerto for excitement, Repons as the Boulez "symphony", and Sur Incises as the blonde with all the curves!

The other finds for me were the Notations and Structures. The former, Boulez's "Op.1", made me smile with an "I coulda done that" that could have only come from living through so much unconscious Boulez influence in my general Modern Life. I can't tell you what a revelation this was, much more than hearing the Klavierstucke of KS. And then, the Structures seem to take a quantum leap in complexity. Add to these pieces the Sonatine for fl/pn, and the Sonata No.1 for piano, and you're literally bathing in diamond like, crystalline textures. The early stuff I can follow, and then it starts getting interesting.

I also have the Erato (Apex) disc of chamber music, the Livre pour Quatuor, and the Sony Rituel, along with the odd DG piece. I used to have IdilB in the Piano Sonatas, but...

My question [/b] concerns Piano Sonatas 2-3. I'm thinking Pollini for No.2, just because of the program, but I don't know if there's an extra special 3, or not. Any recommends on these two?



PS- I'm actually thinking about getting all Boulez, Martre and Pli being next. I may favor the early records.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on March 07, 2010, 06:42:12 AM
I can tell you that Pli was the ear-opener for me, even more so than Marteau. For some early pieces, there is a 4-CD set on Erato that is very good. Éclat is a jewel (on Sony, can be found very cheap). And there's also Polyphonie X, which is definitely worth a try (on Col Legno).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Franco on March 07, 2010, 09:47:56 AM
It's a good recording to get if you're a newbie to Boulez's soundworld.
And yea ... from what I've seen of Robertson, he seems like one of the 'good guys'.

It is simply a very good recording, for anyone: (to use your phrase) a "newbie to Boulez's soundworld", or for someone like me who has been listening and appreciating Boulez for decades.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on March 07, 2010, 11:32:42 AM
My question [/b] concerns Piano Sonatas 2-3. I'm thinking Pollini for No.2, just because of the program, but I don't know if there's an extra special 3, or not. Any recommends on these two?

I've only heard Pollini and Paavali Jumppanen (below), and the latter is terrific.  His CD of the three piano sonatas was one of the best recordings of 2005.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on March 07, 2010, 01:24:31 PM
Cool little video supplement on Boulez/Stockhausen  ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/vBKdXTFMwEk

cont'd ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/9I7OWcCXyXQ

Those are taken from Simon Rattle's Leaving Home, a 7-part documentary on the music of the 20th century, which is quite interesting. I saw it on TV when it was broadcast originally and got the DVD box a few years ago; it is quite worth it. The only better thing would be Boulez's own La Musique du XXe siècle, but sadly that was never released on DVD.

Another one a propos is the Juxtapositions DVD on Boulez; there's a thorough analysis of Sur Incises by the maître himself with musicians from the EIC, aside from the bits about Éclat.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on March 16, 2010, 08:19:08 PM
I just got the Pollini and Jumppannen discs.

The Pollini,... WOW!! Leonine!

Yea, PS 2 has a beautiful violence to it, exactly in that funny French existentialist way. Oh, the gnarled trees, haha!! I'm bashing my father's teeth in, and such. I definitely see it as a "Last Sonata" type thing. Jumpp really has a refinement in the first mvmt that is total, whilst Pollini is just,..SMACK in the face 'there', wow, thrilling. I thought Pollini held the finale with a touch more forwardness. It will be fun comparing further.

In PS 1, I have Aimaird/Erato and Jumppannen. At least with the earlier recording you can hear a little work being done, haha. That IS a compliment towards the Jumppster's toss it off virtuosity, but I do sometimes like to hear some work being done too.

But, it was PS 3 which I had waited for, and,... and,... and, after PS 2, it's almost a ghost. It feels almost like a "Late" piece, haha. But no, it does have a luxuriousness to it, a plushness, that I wasn't expecting. Almost like Boulez is a softy! It does 'sound' easier than PS 2, or, more understandable, especially the Constellation-Miroir. It shocks me to say that this is what I consider easy listening, haha (in the respect that, if any of my circle heard it, their noses would all scrunch in displeasure).

Jumppannen really brings out the stuttering/halting style beautifully in Boulez's writing, and makes it very beautiful to listen to,... perhaps one of the most 'artistic' avant piano records, no? I just think his endless refinement of playing deserves special mention (and, of course, the DG sound).

Boulez discs fast approaching 10! Who would have thought? Not me.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: kentel on March 20, 2010, 02:03:49 AM
Idil Biret (Naxos) is great with the 1st PS. .. it's a solid disc all-round.

“...the Second Sonata does have this explosive, disintegrating and dispersive character, and in spite of its own very restricting form the destruction of all these classical moulds was quite deliberate". -Pierre Boulez

About his very first works (the 2 first piano sonatas, Structures, Poésie pour pouvoir, Polyphonie X etc ), Boulez said in 2000 : I grew tired of counting to twelve. That's interesting :) 

My opinion is that the older he grows, the better he is : Anthème II is one of his most exciting works.

--Gilles



Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on March 20, 2010, 03:19:06 AM
Just "happened" on this, which some here might find interesting: http://www.andante.com/profiles/boulez/boulezintro.cfm
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on March 26, 2010, 06:01:51 AM
Let's all wish Pierre a happy 85th birthday!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on March 26, 2010, 06:06:56 AM
Huzzah!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on March 26, 2010, 06:53:00 AM
Let's all wish Pierre a happy 85th birthday!

Huzzah!

Yes indeed!   :D

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: greg on March 26, 2010, 04:19:57 PM
He says thanks.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on March 27, 2010, 05:15:39 AM
And he apologizes for having called Paul Simon Al.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on March 27, 2010, 05:30:26 AM
And he apologizes for having called Paul Simon Al.

Brought to mind the song Pierre Boulez by The Neem :D. I got it way way back from the old mp3.com site, would advise any serious Boulez fan to check it out.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Sylph on March 28, 2010, 04:47:39 AM
Quote
Reporting from New York - Pierre Boulez, everyone says, has mellowed. A half-century ago, he was famed as a maestro with a frighteningly formidable ear, a French composer of frightfully formidable music and a polarizing polemicist.

In the '50s, heaccused the old tonal composers of being irrelevant. In the '60s, he proposed blowing up old-fashioned German opera houses as an elegant solution to their hostility toward producing modern work.

But now Boulez is widely, warmly embraced. Having just turned 85 on Friday, he is no longer feared but feted as one of the great men of music, present and past, in a town that knows what that means. Boulez celebrated his birthday by conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in its ornate, historic home, the Austrian capital's Musikverein. Future musicologists will no doubt mark the splendid occasion.

I met with Boulez in his hotel room in New York on a bright but freezing Sunday morning in late January. He was gracious, agreeable, witty, smart, quick, charming, self-assured, without airs. He was in good spirits and opened the blinds to let the sunshine pour in. But that hardly means he has gone soft. He has not lost his sardonic laugh. His standards are as demanding as ever. His calls for change have not changed. Boulez the progressive is still at it.



The rest is here (http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-pierre-boulez28-2010mar28,0,3381591.story).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Coopmv on March 28, 2010, 05:43:58 AM


The rest is here (http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-pierre-boulez28-2010mar28,0,3381591.story).

Very interesting article.  My first recordings by Pierre Boulez were the Wagner Ring Cycle on Philips LP.  Hopefully, I will find time to spin the records once again after I bought the set some 25 years ago ...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Josquin des Prez on March 28, 2010, 07:52:48 AM
Irrelevant composer who's claim to fame resides entirely on his large mouth.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: knight66 on March 28, 2010, 09:03:56 AM
Even if you don't like his music, I don't see how you can deny his musicmaking.

Mike
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on March 28, 2010, 10:14:03 AM
Hopefully he'll also finish Eclat/Multiples...

I've heard from multiple Boulez scholars that  Eclat/Multiples will never be finished. If Boulez followed his original plans for the work, it would extend hours more. The incomplete manuscript at the Sacher Foundation would last about 50 minutes, and it's only two parts out of a foreseen five parts. Meanwhile, the piece has already gained a reputation for being expensive to put on.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on March 28, 2010, 10:33:46 AM
According to Boulez himself the original plan was to have a piece at about 40 minutes in length, currently the existing torso is a little over 25 minutes or so (that Sony recording)... so I was thinking he was a lot closer to finishing it. Perhaps he'll figure out something to do with the existing music there.

I refer you to this Usenet thread (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.music.classical.contemporary/browse_thread/thread/599c282c5329f8e/e168ffd2a7f76a87?lnk=gst&q=%2Bculver+%2Beclat#e168ffd2a7f76a87) where I first raised the question. Considering that the Notations are unfinished and the composer is still looking ahead to Anthemes 3, I wouldn't get my hopes up.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on March 28, 2010, 11:42:09 AM
Irrelevant composer who's claim to fame resides entirely on his large mouth.

Says an irrelevant non-composer whose claim to any attention resides entirely on his large mouth.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: jochanaan on March 28, 2010, 12:58:11 PM
Everyone is a work in progress.  And with major composers, the "progress" continues long after their deaths... :D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: knight66 on March 28, 2010, 02:30:41 PM
Don't you start on that Mozart stuff again!

Mike
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Josquin des Prez on March 28, 2010, 08:33:41 PM
Even if you don't like his music, I don't see how you can deny his musicmaking.

There is no musicmaking, there's only organization of sound. The distinction today appears to be no longer understood, and that is why you have people confusing genius:

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_aOhmEki8EPo/SPocDi-bp_I/AAAAAAAAc68/F-3vqs68yjg/The+prophet+Jeremiah+by+Michelangelo.jpg

with trash:

http://echostains.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/picasso-weeping-woman-1937.jpg

Dostoevsky tried to warn us about the dangers of revolutionary individuals and their eternal quest for "progress", which at the end of the day its just a way of substituting truth with desire. Alas, we have failed to heed his warning, and so here we are. 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: lisa needs braces on March 28, 2010, 09:02:50 PM
Irrelevant composer who's claim to fame resides entirely on his large mouth.

score.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: lisa needs braces on March 28, 2010, 09:08:06 PM
Note how his fame doesn't even rest with being appreciated by music fans. It's all about personality.

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: lisa needs braces on March 28, 2010, 10:43:30 PM
Oh yes there definitely is musicmaking, you just have a puny brain & no ears, and because of these obvious limitations don't get upset and talk shit about something you know absolutely nothing about.

It seems that a lot of people have puny brains and no ears, going by the fact that there isn't much of a demand in the classical music listening world (as judged by what orchestras and radio stations program) for the music of Boulez, and by when (if ever) orchestras do program him the audience has to be lured in with something else...

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: knight66 on March 29, 2010, 12:07:08 AM
There is no musicmaking, there's only organization of sound.

That is a singularly silly remark. Your prejudices make you deaf and your deafness is the context for your wrongheaded remarks. Had your deafness been clinical, that would be an excuse; but it is willful...so really, there is nothing to be done with you.

Clearly you enjoy marginalising yourself.

Mike

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on March 29, 2010, 12:12:17 AM
It seems that a lot of people have puny brains and no ears, going by the fact that there isn't much of a demand in the classical music listening world (as judged by what orchestras and radio stations program) for the music of Boulez, and by when (if ever) orchestras do program him the audience has to be lured in with something else...

That's a curious claim, as certain ensembles like the EIC do entire programs of Boulez and Boulez-inspired music and have no problem drawing an audience. Concerts of Boulez works in France regularly sell out.

Boulez's following may be small, but there's lots of niches in the classical music scene. As I pointed out the other day, it seems most people can't stand leider, and that's all part of the canon. But over the years I've been amazed at just how wide a following Boulez has among classical music filesharers. And in any event, he seems to evoke more devotion than figures like Danielpour who write what they think audiences want.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 29, 2010, 12:20:42 AM
Can't we all just get along!  :-*
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on March 29, 2010, 05:12:37 AM
I like the music, so today I'll listen to it some more.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Sylph on March 29, 2010, 05:14:08 AM
It seems that a lot of people have puny brains and no ears, going by the fact that there isn't much of a demand in the classical music listening world (as judged by what orchestras and radio stations program) for the music of Boulez, and by when (if ever) orchestras do program him the audience has to be lured in with something else...

Even if that were true, and it really isn't — going from there to proclaiming him as irrelevant, sound designer etc. is really one big, fat non sequitur.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on March 29, 2010, 10:10:44 AM


The rest is here (http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-pierre-boulez28-2010mar28,0,3381591.story).

Thanks for posting this link, which I hadn't seen.  I saw the two Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts which the article mentions, and they were two of the finest evenings of the entire season (and sold out, by the way).  Not sure why the chemistry is so strong, but there you go.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Chaszz on March 31, 2010, 07:49:13 AM
There is no musicmaking, there's only organization of sound. The distinction today appears to be no longer understood, and that is why you have people confusing genius:

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_aOhmEki8EPo/SPocDi-bp_I/AAAAAAAAc68/F-3vqs68yjg/The+prophet+Jeremiah+by+Michelangelo.jpg

with trash:

http://echostains.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/picasso-weeping-woman-1937.jpg

Dostoevsky tried to warn us about the dangers of revolutionary individuals and their eternal quest for "progress", which at the end of the day its just a way of substituting truth with desire. Alas, we have failed to heed his warning, and so here we are.

I don't know Boulez' work, but that's a great painting by Picasso you're denigrating.

And Dostoyevsky's final prescription for humanity was more Chrisitianity, which hasn't worked out too well...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on March 31, 2010, 09:40:21 AM
And Dostoyevsky's final prescription for humanity was more Chrisitianity, which hasn't worked out too well...

Poor practitioners do not invalidate the practice, of course.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Josquin des Prez on March 31, 2010, 10:28:23 AM
I don't know Boulez' work, but that's a great painting by Picasso you're denigrating.

I know, i picked it on purpose. It is a characteristic piece of anti-art, but it is a thing of small value compared to the Michelangelo.

And Dostoyevsky's final prescription for humanity was more Chrisitianity, which hasn't worked out too well...

We didn't have any more Christianity after Dostoevsky. He was the last great philosopher of Christian morality. It is of course curious how the European religious soul often express itself best through art. It was the same thing for the Greeks. Indeed, i always considered Greek religious believes to be nothing more then a collection of pagan superstitions, until i was exposed to the real messiah of the Greek religion, Homer, and his two prophets, Sophocles and Euripides.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Chaszz on March 31, 2010, 05:01:46 PM
Poor practitioners do not invalidate the practice, of course.

I know, I know, it hasn't been tried it the right way yet. Same thing with communism, too bad the wrong people practiced it. Let's face it, the wrong people are apt to take over anything that becomes a system. Before it's a system, it might work; afterwards, when the crowds and connivers come, no...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on April 01, 2010, 03:17:31 AM
I know, I know, it hasn't been tried it the right way yet. Same thing with communism, too bad the wrong people practiced it. Let's face it, the wrong people are apt to take over anything that becomes a system. Before it's a system, it might work; afterwards, when the crowds and connivers come, no...

Clearly, you are more interested in trashing Christianity than you are in the truth of the matter, so it is hardly worth pointing out that your "parallel" with Communism is tendentious, prejudicial & poorly considered.

Curiously, only the day before yesterday my eye fell again upon this rich paragraph:


Quote from: G.K. Chesterton
Now the best relation to our spiritual home is to be near enough to love it.  But the next best thing is to be far enough away not to hate it.  It is the contention of these pages that while the best judge of Christianity is a Christian, the next best judge would be something like a Confucian.  The worst judge of all is the man now most ready with his judgments: the ill-educated Christian turning gradually into the ill-tempered agnostic, entangled in the end of a feud of which he never understood the beginning, blighted with a sort of hereditary boredom with he knows not what, and already weary of hearing what he has never heard.  He does not judge Christianity calmly as a Confucian would;  he does not judge it as he would Confucianism . . . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidW on April 01, 2010, 05:24:54 AM
We're painfully off topic, so let me get this back to Boulez :D  Here is the link to the official Boulez is 85 celebrate!

http://www2.deutschegrammophon.com/webseries/?ID=boulez2010 (http://www2.deutschegrammophon.com/webseries/?ID=boulez2010)

I think I like his Mahler the best, modernist takes on Mahler to me are more satisfying than the romantic takes, though both have their place on my listening and Boulez offers some of the best recordings of recent history.  But yes Dave, I'll try MTT again! :D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on April 01, 2010, 05:26:45 AM
Thanks to you on both scores, Davey!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on April 05, 2010, 04:56:54 AM
I can tell you that Pli was the ear-opener for me, even more so than Marteau. For some early pieces, there is a 4-CD set on Erato that is very good. Éclat is a jewel (on Sony, can be found very cheap). And there's also Polyphonie X, which is definitely worth a try (on Col Legno).

I got the Erato Pli Selon Pli the other day. WOW!! Why didn't anyone say that this sounds like Varese-meets-experimental Chavez??? I've never heard such a humid, equatorial, fetid, jungle-ruins type of sound, like watching vast Mayan ruins. Truly, I can feel the vines growing around great fallen pillars. And hey, there isn't even that much singing!

Bryn-Julson is a singer I trust, and she sounds just fine here.

This has now become one of my fav Modern works. Boulez really has a 'ritualism' streak, no? This really does sound like some ancient death rite, or something. Great stuff!

I now have so many Boulez discs that I probably would make my former self gag! Viva la B!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on April 05, 2010, 05:26:14 AM
I now have so many Boulez discs that I probably would make my former self gag! Viva la B!

Good for you!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on April 05, 2010, 05:43:05 AM
New Boulez film being released at the end of April, 57 minute documentary + 71 minute concert ..

Hopefully the recording of Répons will be in surround sound with the spatialization authentically realized. The stereo recording on DG always seemed like a stopgap measure. We need more Boulez in surround, and I was really disappointed when I found that the recording of sur Incises on the Juxtaposition DVD was merely stereo.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on June 11, 2010, 06:43:56 AM
Wow, somehow I missed the earlier post mentioning this DVD, which looks great.  I can't believe that Répons is on it!  Thanks, and will look forward to comments--although I will certainly get this soon.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on June 11, 2010, 07:07:02 AM
Charles Amirkhanian interviews Pierre Boulez and Andrew Gerzso as part of the Speaking of Music series. Boulez discusses the pros and cons of microtonal music, spatial music, as well as delving into the technical details of his latest work, "Répons".

Just noticed that statement is inaccurate. For example, Anthèmes and Sur Incises are both more recent than Répons.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on June 11, 2010, 07:21:18 AM
Just noticed you can't read posts carefully?
The interview/historic-document is from 1986 when it was his latest thing...
hit the link, I just copied and pasted the info from there.

Whatever, it wasn't targeted at you, the statement was clearly excerpted. Touchy, are we not? For some reason the link timed out for me. And as we're splitting hairs, Dialogue de l'ombre double is from 1985, later than Répons (but perhaps not than one of the latter's endless revisions).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on July 09, 2010, 03:45:10 AM
Whatever, it wasn't targeted at you, the statement was clearly excerpted. Touchy, are we not?

Ah, I see you've met James . . . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on July 09, 2010, 05:25:55 AM
And possibly we have a Waiting for Godot opera as the next Boulez project?

http://www.instantencore.com/buzz/item.aspx?FeedEntryId=96876
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on July 09, 2010, 05:34:13 AM
Here's hoping he finishes it!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on July 12, 2010, 01:23:57 AM
I would be very surprised if it turns to be true. I've read the article in the original French and Machart says "according to what I've heard". It's therefore just a rumor and then Renaud Machart is famous in France for his scathing humour and his love for Broadway musicals and John Adams' operas. His not a conservative ctriic, but he's not always... Afficher davantage very kind with IRCAM-like european avant-garde and wrote a very mean article about Boulez's 85th birthday in Paris in March.
So I guess this could be a private joke or something.


In a recent interview he just said he wanted to finish his Notations and the violin conerto for Anne-Sophie Mutter Anthème II. Next year he will not conduct to compose more he said.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Sid on July 20, 2010, 03:26:56 PM
I just got the Boulez DG cd with Sur Incises, Messagesquisse & Anthemes 2 (played by members of the Ensemble Intercontemporain conducted by the composer). I wanted to get to know Boulez's music more, but something a bit more approachable than his piano sonatas which I got about six months ago played by Idil Biret on Naxos (they were pretty challenging to listen to!). So I thought I'd get into his chamber & electro-acoustic music, so this mid-priced disc was perfect (& it has apparently won numberous awards).

The first two works on the cd seem to be in the same league as the sonatas as regarding their complexity, but I have only listened to them once each, so it's early days. But I listened to Anthemes 2 again this morning and it seemed pretty approachable. It's a work for solo violin and electronic realization. At times, you only hear the acoustic violin, but then it is joined by about 20 more overdubbed violins (so it sounds like a concerto) or just a few (a quartet). There is this part in the middle where the strings are plucked, but one quickly realises that this is too fast and mechanical, it could never be done by human hands. There is some dissonance here, but also lyricism and even wittiness (the pizzicato part).

I just began to get into electro-acoustic music in May, when I went to a concert here in Sydney by the local Ensemble Offspring, who play a lot of this kind of stuff. The concert featured works by Australian & international composers, some of whom had studied at IRCAM in Paris (which was set up by Boulez). Some of the composers were at the concert and talked about their works, and one of them was at the electronic console for the performance of his music. I liked those pieces, but I think another Australian composer, Mike Mikowski who does a lot of this kind of stuff is way too complex for where I'm at. But I'm glad that I was able to somewhat understand the Boulez piece, because I'll use this as a springboard to get into this genre more...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on July 21, 2010, 02:37:44 PM
Unsurprisingly, this is the work's only recording

Nope. A recording on DVD came out a couple of months ago.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on July 21, 2010, 02:54:14 PM
Nope. A recording on DVD came out a couple of months ago.

If you are talking about the Inheriting the future of music DVD, it contains only excerpts.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on July 21, 2010, 03:09:13 PM
Sadly, the work's formidable demands - not only the virtuoso requirements of the score itself, but also the practical problem of transporting and assembling the relevant digital hardware, plus the difficulty of finding a concert hall big enough to stage it in - have meant that Répons has rarely been heard in performance.

I have seen Répons live and I wouldn't say it is more demanding logistically than your typical ensemble + live electronics piece. Although it certainly was a memorable experience, I find that Sur Incises is more interesting--more crafted--and if you get the Juxtapositions Boulez DVD, there is an invaluable section-by-section analysis and explanation of the piece (it's not always that you can get it straight from the master and with the best musicians in the world playing and replaying each passage ;)).

The altogether more modest Dialogue de l'ombre, for solo clarinet and electronics, completes the disc.

Dialogue de l'ombre double is indeed a tour-de-force of writing for solo clarinet; works best live, as would be expected, sounding a lot more expansive than the recorded version.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on July 22, 2010, 03:37:14 AM
Répons does have a unique spatial plot ... and the computer system/software etc. is (was?) pretty much specifically designed & taylored for that piece.

Not really. The 4X system was designed a few years before Répons and there are a few other works that used it. Nowadays IRCAM is mostly Mac/MAX-based and Répons itself no longer uses the 4X workstation. But you could say that there is a shared lineage there, as Andrew Gerzso, Boulez's engineer, was one of the original designers of the 4X, along with Miller Puckette, who would go on to "invent" MAX and later Pure Data.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on July 22, 2010, 05:11:29 AM
Interesting what other prominent works used this technology ... ? And one that has the spatial plot that Répons has ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Rk3mCuG1L.jpg)

To be clear, I don't think any of the other works were as significant as Répons. Other composers have used the earlier iterations of the technology, e.g. Machover in his Light but also using the 4X are a series of works by Manoury, e.g. Pluton, Jupiter, Neptune and Partition du ciel et de l'enfer. For works with a rather complex spatialization scheme, there is Emmanuel Nunes' Lichtung series (the spatialization scheme is detailed in a book about the composer published by the IRCAM).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on July 22, 2010, 07:56:11 AM
Right ... then there is the special Matrix 32 lol  ... but ultimately it's the combination of all the various elements that i described earlier that make it's 'logistics' let's say unique, fair to say some of the reasons/excuses why it isn't performed a lot, and his most ambitious/extensive application of technology (i know there are others but nothing on the scale of this work) ... and with all the technological advances it no doubt will become easier to pull off.

Of course. I once sat behind Boulez when he was at the computer controlling the patches in MAX for a performance of ...explosante-fixe.... The Matrix 32 is an interesting rack, and even though it looks dated, it was an interesting sight to see it in operation in real-time (the spectrum analyser being the most visually obvious component).

Still, the Experimentalstudio hardware from the SWR is, aside from being more massive and extensive, a better live electronics set up, giving out a better experience. Just attend a concert of any of Nono's works with live electronics post 1980 and you'll know what I mean.

and i know there are plenty of works with a complex spatialization-surround-sound projection schemes (combined with technology or otherwise), i know you know Stockhausen ... & I don't think another composer worked with space on a level & so extensively as he did ... & he was really the first  to started doing all of this in a seriously significant & important way.

Right; my point was giving you an example of another work from roughly the same timeframe as Répons (well, really some 5 or 6 years later) that used more or less the exact same technology (also composed at the IRCAM in the 80s) and had spatialization built into the composition at a level that is as rich and complex as Répons (in a sense it is even more complex, as it makes use of 8 loudspeakers instead of 6 and has something that another composer has termed a solfège of spatialization).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on July 22, 2010, 10:57:29 AM
would you recommend that other stuff ... ?

It's worth trying, yes. Or, to put it differently, I wouldn't get rid of the CDs I have with that stuff :). But Boulez is Boulez, Manoury is Manoury and Nunes is Nunes, so... open your ears.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on July 22, 2010, 01:50:38 PM
would you recommend that other stuff ... ?

Manoury is definitely interesting, though those works sometimes strike me as so much mere electroacoustic demo that another, more talented composer (like Boulez) can turn into something fresh and exciting. Unfortunately, the only recording of Pluton, an Ondine disc, is now very out of print (probably only a handful of copies were ever pressed). But the Ades disc with "Jupiter" and "Partition" can still be found here and there.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on July 22, 2010, 01:59:55 PM
Répons is one of Boulez's best and i posted on it after Sid's post for obvious reasons ... would you say that the Manoury or Nunes stuff is the best of what they do, and some of the best "electro-acoustic" done.

That Manoury and that Nunes is probably among the best of what they have done, but taking it as representative is obviously a gross oversimplification. Is it the "best" electroacoustics?... I don't know. They work quite well, although it is generally accepted that Manoury is gimmicky whereas Nunes is more dense and uncompromising. My favourite electroacoustic music is more along the lines of Parmegiani, Dhomont and, on the live electronics front, Nono.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Sid on July 25, 2010, 05:48:56 PM
I got the Biret disc a few months ago, it was my first taste of Boulez, and I found it overwhelming. The second sonata is probably the most approachable for me, as it is in four contrasting movements. I'm totally out of my depth with the other two, but I will have to try & listen to the disc more (probably not straight through, just take the works seperately, bit by bit). I think this disc won a Diapason d'or, if I am not mistaken? I have not heard Pollini's account, and I might get that one too, sometime down the track.

But I found the chamber works disc on DG - Sur Incises, Messagesquisse, Anthemes 2 - to be far more approachable, especailly the last two works. There is much dissonance there, but also quite a bit of lyricism. I also like Anthemes 2 because I am just getting into electroacoustic music, I attended a concert of some recent works by Australian and international composers in May, and I really enjoyed it. Being surrounded by speakers which play music which is in dialogue with the live players is really an experience in itself.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on July 26, 2010, 04:00:28 AM
I got the Biret disc a few months ago, it was my first taste of Boulez, and I found it overwhelming. The second sonata is probably the most approachable for me, as it is in four contrasting movements. I'm totally out of my depth with the other two, but I will have to try & listen to the disc more (probably not straight through, just take the works seperately, bit by bit). I think this disc won a Diapason d'or, if I am not mistaken? I have not heard Pollini's account, and I might get that one too, sometime down the track.

But I found the chamber works disc on DG - Sur Incises, Messagesquisse, Anthemes 2 - to be far more approachable, especailly the last two works. There is much dissonance there, but also quite a bit of lyricism. I also like Anthemes 2 because I am just getting into electroacoustic music, I attended a concert of some recent works by Australian and international composers in May, and I really enjoyed it. Being surrounded by speakers which play music which is in dialogue with the live players is really an experience in itself.

Anthèmes 2 is quite approachable, indeed; if you liked it, you may want to give ...explosante-fixe... a try, as that is the work that is at its origin. However, I wouldn't say those works are electroacoustic music; for that, you should listen to e.g. some Bernard Parmegiani, François Bayle or Jean-Claude Risset (there are plenty of others, though). For some "lyrical" Boulez, try Le marteau sans maître or Pli selon pli.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on July 29, 2010, 05:53:41 AM
The composers who always interested me are the ones who, if they hadn't existed, music would have developed in completely different directions. Without Stravinsky, without Schoenberg, music today would be different. In contrast with them, there is the very good and highly respected composer Paul Hindemith. But if he hadn't written a note, would music today sound any different? No.
 
"I am not saying that we should silence composers like him. But we must understand that they are second-rate. Every generation makes its own discoveries. And if it doesn't, it absorbs the cliches of the past and uses only them; this is what we see among many composers today."
Bingo!

Sorry to hear that he's retired from conducting.  Glad that he's left a rich legacy of recordings.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on July 29, 2010, 06:03:16 AM
I don't necessarily object to the idea of seating Hindemith with "The B Team."  I object to characterizing "The B Team" as "only using clichés absorbed from the past," and to Boulez's recycle-bin mentality towards the composers for whom he feels "no use."

Maybe Hindemith is a "grade-B" composer.  But that is much better than some of us are pretending.

 
I admire Boulez's compositing and enjoy his conducting, but none of us needs his taste-Nazi posturing.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Franco on July 29, 2010, 06:15:20 AM
I don't share his dismissive attitude towards composers like Paul Hindemith, or his need to rank composers "first rank; second rank; etc.". 

Hindemith did influence the history of music, both through his compositions and his books on music theory and composition.  Countless composers got their training through studying his texts and learning the basic craft of musical composition.  And Hindemith set a good example of the working composer who writes music to be played (and is still played), rather than works that exist in an abstract world of the mind.  Hindemith's many instrument sonatas are works that filled a void and supplied many musicians with good works for which there was not a lot of repertory.  The rare leading lights of a generation like a Stravinsky or a Schoenberg come along only once or twice in a century, but Hindemith and others like him are necessary to create the bulk of the music of the period. 

To say you are only interested in the innovative genuses is like saying you only eat foie gras.

Boulez loves to be provocative and I sense he has not outgrown that tendency, although I still consider him a musical giant despite this flaw.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on July 29, 2010, 06:16:50 AM
I take it he still regards Shostakovich as "sixth-pressing Mahler" or whatever his characteristic sneer was.  It just ain't cute any more; the putz ought to grow up and join the adults.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on July 29, 2010, 06:18:51 AM
If you read on ... it's more of a semi-retirement or hiatus from conducting/reproducing to focus solely on composing/creating , he'll be returning 2014-15 ...
I did read on.  At his age whether he will even be alive four years from now is uncertain (as for all of us, but at 85 his life expectancy is only five years).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Franco on July 29, 2010, 06:29:15 AM
I don't need to read it again since I read it carefully enough the first time.

Quote
The composers who always interested me are the ones who, if they hadn't existed, music would have developed in completely different directions. Without Stravinsky, without Schoenberg, music today would be different. In contrast with them, there is the very good and highly respected composer Paul Hindemith. But if he hadn't written a note, would music today sound any different? No.
 
"I am not saying that we should silence composers like him. But we must understand that they are second-rate. Every generation makes its own discoveries. And if it doesn't, it absorbs the cliches of the past and uses only them; this is what we see among many composers today."

Boulez isn't particularly charitable when asked why he thinks they are not more original. "Perhaps they are tired, or lazy," he said. "It isn't easy to search and innovate and invent. You have to ask a lot of yourself, apply pressure, make demands all the time."


My comments stand.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on July 29, 2010, 06:35:26 AM
It seems again to me that we have differing notions of what "second-rate" means.  Some appear to see it as synonymous with "dreck."  Others see it as "not quite the best, but still pretty darned good"--like a second-growth Bordeaux.

If we classify every composer we like as "first-rate," does that mean we're unable to distinguish qualitative differences between Beethoven, say, and Dittersdorf?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on July 29, 2010, 06:35:47 AM
In all events, he is tendentiously speculative when he opines that if Paul Hindemith had not written a note, music today would not sound any different.

Boulez is an intelligent chap; he ought to be able to distinguish between a fact and speculation.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Franco on July 29, 2010, 06:37:12 AM
I'll take his own words, over your own interpretation of them ... no offence

Of course no offense taken, I did not attempt to contribute a replacement for his words, just my reaction to, what I consider, his limited appraisal of the vast amount of music written (much of which displays no influence from Stravinsky or Schoenberg) and the number of composers of the 20th century. 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on July 29, 2010, 06:38:06 AM
Quote
Boulez isn't particularly charitable when asked why he thinks they are not more original. "Perhaps they are tired, or lazy," he said. "It isn't easy to search and innovate and invent. You have to ask a lot of yourself, apply pressure, make demands all the time."

There is a lot of superfluity in this statement.  The only real value to it is:
 
Boulez isn't particularly charitable.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Franco on July 29, 2010, 06:40:28 AM
It seems again to me that we have differing notions of what "second-rate" means.  Some appear to see it as synonymous with "dreck."  Others see it as "not quite the best, but still pretty darned good"--like a second-growth Bordeaux.

If we classify every composer we like as "first-rate," does that mean we're unable to distinguish qualitative differences between Beethoven, say, and Dittersdorf?

It is my own preference against attempting to create a hierarchal ranking of art and artists.  For me it adds nothing to my understanding or appreciation for it and only clutters the landscape with unnecessary opinions about a unique human being's worth.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on July 29, 2010, 06:42:21 AM
Boulez is an intelligent chap; he ought to be able to distinguish between a fact and speculation.[/font]

As if he doesn't... He's only giving his opinion and being incisive about it. Sure, Hindemith influenced a lot of musicians, but does his music brave new worlds of sound and musical narrative? Compare Hindemith as a teacher and Messiaen as a teacher. There is a difference.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on July 29, 2010, 06:43:18 AM
Quote from: Boulez
It isn't easy to search and innovate and invent.

That of itself is certainly an innocent statement.  Many intelligent, sensitive and talented musicians recognizing the innovative qualities of Hindemith's work, and his invention.
 
I wonder what blinds Boulez to them? I do wonder.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Franco on July 29, 2010, 06:48:09 AM

That of itself is certainly an innocent statement.  Many intelligent, sensitive and talented musicians recognizing the innovative qualities of Hindemith's work, and his invention.
 
I wonder what blinds Boulez to them? I do wonder.

As Stephen Sondheim wrote, "art isn't easy" and Hindemith's accomplishments are not easily arrived at, but, apparently, easily taken for granted by some. 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on July 29, 2010, 06:50:09 AM
As if he doesn't... He's only giving his opinion and being incisive about it.

A high-profile composer with a bullhorn; to characterize this as only giving his opinion is disingenuous.

Quote from: Petratch
Sure, Hindemith influenced a lot of musicians, but does his music brave new worlds of sound and musical narrative? Compare Hindemith as a teacher and Messiaen as a teacher. There is a difference.

Sure.  But:
 
(a) Is this difference the qualitative knife-edge which is here implied?
(b) Personally, as a composer, I don't take much interest in either Messiaen or Hindemith as teachers.  What matters to me is the music.
(b1) This is more or less in line with my interest in Boulez's work, both as composer and conductor, not in his opinionating.
(c) As we've discussed many times in various threads, "braving new worlds of sound and musical narrative" isn't necessarily the most important thing, and certainly is not the only thing.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on July 29, 2010, 06:50:41 AM
As Stephen Sondheim wrote, "art isn't easy" and Hindemith's accomplishments are not easily arrived at, but, apparently, easily taken for granted by some.

Word.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on July 29, 2010, 06:53:44 AM
It is my own preference against attempting to create a hierarchal ranking of art and artists.  For me it adds nothing to my understanding or appreciation for it and only clutters the landscape with unnecessary opinions about a unique human being's worth.

Ah...we differ, then. When I express such judgments, I'm addressing only my opinion about the relative worth of their contributions to music, not their worth as human beings.  And the reason being something along the lines that if life is short, I suspect most of us would gain more from investigating Beethoven's music than Dittersdorf's--just as I would recommend Cervantes before Dan Brown.  For all I know, Dan Brown is a wonderful, kind, generous soul.  He makes a nice living writing fantasies with broad popular appeal--and I suspect that he would be among the first to acknowledge a qualitative difference between The Da Vinci Code and Don Quixote.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Franco on July 29, 2010, 07:00:25 AM
There's that name again, who is Dan Brown?

 ;)

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but it is not my interest to decide where a work or its creator ranks compared to all others (talk about life being short).  It is plenty enough for me to decide if it brought me any benefit from having experienced it and if I choose to revisit the experience.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on July 29, 2010, 07:01:17 AM
There is a lot of superfluity in this statement.  The only real value to it is:
 
Boulez isn't particularly charitable.
Well, and taken at face value the statements suggest he's also a bit of an ass.  I suspect he regards himself among the superior composers who have altered the face of music...?  In which case I suspect history will prove him mistaken.  Perhaps there's a bit of sour grapes in that Hindemith's music is more frequently performed and attracts a larger audience than his own?

All I know is that when I listen to Répons its usually out of intellectual curiosity with no expectation of experiencing the sort of spiritual satisfaction I get from, say, Mathis der Maler.  (But I still love Boulez as a conductor, and respect him as a composer.  ;) )
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on July 29, 2010, 07:03:57 AM
Well, and taken at face value the statements suggest he's also a bit of an ass.

Aye.

The curious thing is that some here seem to admire him for that
; )
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on July 29, 2010, 07:04:33 AM
There's that name again, who is Dan Brown?

 ;)

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but it is not my interest to decide where a work or its creator ranks compared to all others (talk about life being short).  It is plenty enough for me to decide if it brought me any benefit from having experienced it and if I choose to revisit the experience.
And if you choose to revisit the experience is it because there is some qualitative difference between the piece and others you don't choose to revisit?  And are there some composers who have pretty good track records at writing pieces you choose to revisit, and some who don't?  If so, then you are making judgments that rank both works and their creators.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on July 29, 2010, 07:05:25 AM
Aye.

The curious thing is that some here seem to admire him for that
; )
"Birds of a feather" and all that...?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Franco on July 29, 2010, 07:10:27 AM
And if you choose to revisit the experience is it because there is some qualitative difference between the piece and others you don't choose to revisit?  And are there some composers who have pretty good track records at writing pieces you choose to revisit, and some who don't?  If so, then you are making judgments that rank both works and their creators.

I'd not make those assumptions; and rather view each day as a unique world offering me new opportunities for experience: I am a different person, the world is a different place and the experience of a work of art is different each time I choose to revisit it. 

Some works please me more than others but I would never attribute that to a qualitative aspect of the work, but of some nexus between the work and myself at the moment of experience.  But then the next day, everything is different and I prefer Dittersdorf to Beethoven.

It is not something that I find worrisome.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on July 29, 2010, 07:55:41 AM
I suspect he regards himself among the superior composers who have altered the face of music...?  In which case I suspect history will prove him mistaken.

No, if Boulez attributed such a role to himself, history would have already proved him correct. The second half of the 20th century saw many composers credit Boulez for influencing their music. Even if some didn't like Boulez's strictness about twelve-tone serialism, composers like Nørgård, Schnittke, Manoury, Salonen etc. found interesting paths opened by his music which they pursued.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on July 29, 2010, 07:56:49 AM
Either that, or it means that even less-than-superior composers can alter small features of the face of music.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on July 29, 2010, 09:27:04 AM
No, if Boulez attributed such a role to himself, history would have already proved him correct. The second half of the 20th century saw many composers credit Boulez for influencing their music. Even if some didn't like Boulez's strictness about twelve-tone serialism, composers like Nørgård, Schnittke, Manoury, Salonen etc. found interesting paths opened by his music which they pursued.
We're a bit too close for history to have rendered its verdict yet. 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on July 29, 2010, 01:28:30 PM
We're a bit too close for history to have rendered its verdict yet.

History has already rendered its verdict when it comes to Boulez's influence. There are plenty of articles from the 1960s and 1970s where composers say "I got certain ideas for this piece from Boulez's piece X".
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Scarpia on July 29, 2010, 01:41:25 PM
History has already rendered its verdict when it comes to Boulez's influence. There are plenty of articles from the 1960s and 1970s where composers say "I got certain ideas for this piece from Boulez's piece X".

We don't know if those composers will be well regarded by history either.  No one is really interested in whether Reinecke was more influenced by Hummel or Dittersdorf.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on July 29, 2010, 01:48:13 PM
A high-profile composer with a bullhorn; to characterize this as only giving his opinion is disingenuous.

And yet none of the people that voiced their opinion on this thread seem at risk of taking him too literally. For the others, I suspect they just have to open their ears and judge--if they take Boulez's word as gospel it's their problem, not Boulez's.

(b) Personally, as a composer, I don't take much interest in either Messiaen or Hindemith as teachers.  What matters to me is the music.

Oh such lyrical vacuity. Someone was arguing in favor of Hindemith and citing his influence through teaching and his books. The comparison with Messiaen intended to show that as teaching goes there is indeed a degree of influence beyond Hindemith.

(c) As we've discussed many times in various threads, "braving new worlds of sound and musical narrative" isn't necessarily the most important thing, and certainly is not the only thing.

Who said it was the only one? But "braving new worlds" was the context of Boulez's quote.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on July 29, 2010, 02:05:47 PM
it is not my interest to decide where a work or its creator ranks compared to all others

Interesting that everyone seems to be taking Boulez's quote in absolute terms. To me it's not a question of ranking composers, but rather something that suggests whether I will find Hindemith interesting or not provided I agree with Boulez's opinion, approach or vision of what music should be.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Franco on July 29, 2010, 02:47:37 PM
Interesting that everyone seems to be taking Boulez's quote in absolute terms. To me it's not a question of ranking composers, but rather something that suggests whether I will find Hindemith interesting or not provided I agree with Boulez's opinion, approach or vision of what music should be.

You are free to feel about Hindemith or Boulez as you choose, and to read into his statements whatever you wish.  For myself I find his criteria (a composer who changed music history) to be somewhat ludicrous since all but a handful of composers would fall off his radar screen.  I enjoy the music of Hindemith, and I consider his contribution to music of the 20th century significant.  Whether Boulez does or does not agree will not alter anything about how I think of Hindemith, or George Perle, or Charles Wuorinen, or any number of composers whose legacy probably will not include changing the course of music history.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on July 29, 2010, 05:40:09 PM
Whether Boulez does or does not agree will not alter anything about how I think of Hindemith, or George Perle, or Charles Wuorinen, or any number of composers whose legacy probably will not include changing the course of music history.

Exactly. The fact that I happen to like Boulez and not care for Hindemith is a coincidence that makes his words resonate with me, but I also like other composers I know he doesn't care for that much.

In any case people seem to have skipped over his prefacing of his statements with "the composers who always interested me".

It's interesting how it quickly becomes almost a religious contention.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: greg on July 29, 2010, 05:51:31 PM
Boulez is an intelligent chap; he ought to be able to distinguish between a fact and speculation.[/font]
He's smart, but I just think sometimes he wants to appear tough.  :D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on July 29, 2010, 06:17:27 PM
History has already rendered its verdict when it comes to Boulez's influence. There are plenty of articles from the 1960s and 1970s where composers say "I got certain ideas for this piece from Boulez's piece X".

No.  History is not that short sighted.  If we are unable or unwilling to invest any effort in understanding another's point of view, then learning will be unnecessarily slow and difficult.

Are you aware that the tone of every post you've made on this thread suggests that you are spoiling for a fight rather than inviting dialogue?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Franco on July 30, 2010, 01:31:39 AM
Or maybe the criteria some of us use for the music we value has nothing to do with Boulez's perspective.  There are many reasons why I choose to listen to a composer's music (or to use his phrase, I am interested in a composer) but the level of his influence is not one of them.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on July 30, 2010, 02:51:36 AM
Influence is interesting from a historical angle, in a connect-the-dots way.  Again, the question of that interest does not make it the most important consideration in evaluating music.  Music is not farming.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on July 30, 2010, 03:15:09 AM
Or perhaps some of us here have a better & deeper perspective of the last 50 or so years than others ... Boulez has had a persuasive influence on today's musical culture without a doubt ... from avant-garde compositional theory, to IRCAM*.. to the concert repertoire of the world's major symphony orchestras - impossible to ignore. One of the most significiant 'classical' musicians of the past 50 years without a doubt.
Perhaps even the Dittersdorf of his day!  Let's take up the subject again in a hundred years and see whether history judges him a Stravinsky or a Salieri.

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: rappy on July 30, 2010, 03:26:46 AM
I think influence is an overrated criterion. Influence alone is nothing if it doesn't cater for good music. And then the composer who wrote the good music is more interesting than the one he was influenced by. So J. Ch. Bach and Hummel might have had an important influence, but Mozart and Chopin wrote the better music. And thus they are the better composers. If I listen to a Chopin sonata, I'm in nothing less interested than the fact how much influence it had had on later composers. I judge from the music I've heard.
The sonata would not be worse if no composer had taken account of it, would it? The idea seems absurd.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 30, 2010, 03:50:57 AM
Quote
Boulez: "I am not saying that we should silence composers like him. But we must understand that they are second-rate. Every generation makes its own discoveries. And if it doesn't, it absorbs the cliches of the past and uses only them; this is what we see among many composers today.

History has already rendered its verdict when it comes to Boulez's influence. There are plenty of articles from the 1960s and 1970s where composers say "I got certain ideas for this piece from Boulez's piece X".

So, those composers who got their ideas from him are, by Boulezian definition, second rate...and won't interest him because they merely absorbed the clichés of the past  ;D  And, in fact, Boulez himself was recycling Schoenberg and Webern. Ergo, Boulez is a second rate composer too. Hoisted on his own petard.

For a second-rater, he ain't bad though  ;)

Sarge
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on July 30, 2010, 03:52:12 AM
I think influence is an overrated criterion. Influence alone is nothing if it doesn't cater for good music. And then the composer who wrote the good music is more interesting than the one he was influenced by. So J. Ch. Bach and Hummel might have had an important influence, but Mozart and Chopin wrote the better music. And thus they are the better composers. If I listen to a Chopin sonata, I'm in nothing less interested than the fact how much influence it had had on later composers. I judge from the music I've heard.
The sonata would not be worse if no composer had taken account of it, would it? The idea seems absurd.

Since this is a Boulez thread, perhaps we should note that the idea of influence promoted by CRCulver and James is theirs and not Boulez's.  In the interview that sparked this recent flurry of interest on a moribund thread, he said:
Quote from: Pierre Boulez
The composers who always interested me are the ones who, if they hadn't existed, music would have developed in completely different directions. Without Stravinsky, without Schoenberg, music today would be different. In contrast with them, there is the very good and highly respected composer Paul Hindemith. But if he hadn't written a note, would music today sound any different? No.
Complete article here: http://www.haaretz.com/culture/arts-leisure/just-don-t-call-pierre-boulez-avant-garde-1.302036

Boulez is talking about "game changers."  Guys whose contributions profoundly altered the development of music.  Thus, in his opinion, Stravinsky is more interesting than Hindemith, even though the latter is, as he says, "very good and highly respected." 

Note that this is but one excerpt from a presumably lengthier interview that was excerpted for the article, and that contextual remarks might not have been reproduced.  Note also that the comments were made in the context of discussing IRCAM and "the avant garde."  And finally consider that--were "game-changing" Boulez's sole criterion for musical interest, then he'd probably be consumed with Beethoven and Haydn and Mozart and Berlioz, and not guys who--from history's perspective--might still yet prove but a flash in the pan.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on July 30, 2010, 03:55:46 AM
So, those composers who got their ideas from him are, by Boulezian definition, second rate...and won't interest him because they merely absorbed the clichés of the past  ;D  And, in fact, Boulez himself was recycling Schoenberg and Webern. Ergo, Boulez is a second rate composer too. Hoisted on his own petard.

For a second-rater, he ain't bad though  ;)

Sarge

Boulez is a credit to the C-team ; )
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on July 30, 2010, 05:56:04 AM
David no offence, and I know (hope) you're joking a little but it's comments like this that clearly illustrate that you (& others) here don't really have much of a perspective on what happened with music in the last 50 years or so and how Boulez (& other leading composers of his generation) did change things. He's already in the history books and left his mark on the music world, can't be denied ...
Dear James.  I understand your perspective.  It is not history's.  You are describing present times and interpreting them as if a (minority?) contemporary opinion had already determined the judgment of history.  It's possible that history will concur, but it's much too soon to determine that, let alone to claim that "history has already ruled."  History is replete with illustrations of the principle that posterity's judgment often overturns that of the present.  And, your preferences notwithstanding, your views about Boulez's contemporary significance are hardly shared by all and may not even reflect a majority opinion.  Yes, he's a notable and significant composer...but a game-changer?  I suspect not, but will let history make the call.

You have expressed your views repeatedly.  They boil down to "I think Boulez and the self-proclaimed avant garde are swell, and there others who think they're swell, too, and if anyone doesn't agree then they're just ignorant numbskulls."  You are welcome to feel this way.

I have expressed my view on this subject more often than should have been necessary.  I would hope that you could "get" my point even if you don't agree with it, maybe even acknowledge its validity while still maintaining that, in your judgment, future generations will evolve to share your refined and advanced tastes and agree with you in anointing Boulez as one of the demigods of Western music.  But I've encountered you often enough to know that such reasonableness is too much to expect, and I've no interest in continuing to flog this dead horse...especially when there are so many other dead horses sprawled about the GMG campus inviting repeated flogging!  ;)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Henk on July 30, 2010, 06:54:38 AM
EDIT:

I think Boulez is trying to convince himself he's a first-rate composer. But for the same reason like imo Schoenberg he isn't: his musical ideas are more important then his music. Stravinsky is greater imo, because his music is great _and_ with his _music_ he influenced other musicians.

However I think Boulez as a composer is greater then Hindemith, but one can argue in favor of Hindemith, that it for him it was about the music only (and not about progressive, and therefore somewhat artificial, musical ideas). To say it in another way: I think composer who had progressive musical ideas are less authentic then composer for who it was about their own music in the first place. Composers like Boulez and Schoenberg can better be regarded as leading figures of movements in music.

Other composers have to digest those musical ideas and then it becomes clear how fruitful those ideas are. They can make "first-rate" music of it, but in way supposedly that these ideas are altered too. The ideas are usable and can never be a leading principle, as it was for Schoenberg and Boulez, for composing "first-rate" music.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on July 30, 2010, 06:55:56 AM
Very interesting, Henk.  Not sure I entirely agree, but you make an interesting case.  *(
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Scarpia on July 30, 2010, 07:09:19 AM
At some point I had enough curiosity to buy a disc of Boulez compositions.  Maybe I should actually listen to it.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on July 30, 2010, 07:13:13 AM
At some point I had enough curiosity to buy a disc of Boulez compositions.  Maybe I should actually listen to it.
Imagine wind chimes and bells and driftwood mobiles stirred by gentle breezes.  What disc?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Scarpia on July 30, 2010, 09:25:51 AM
Imagine wind chimes and bells and driftwood mobiles stirred by gentle breezes.  What disc?

Actually, I see I have two.
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/514KCz%2BFlOL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/418X0W6N7GL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

It seemed like it was worth the risk because I found them both used for very cheap.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on July 30, 2010, 09:49:47 AM
I think Sur incises will incite your bee's knees.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on July 30, 2010, 11:47:04 AM
I have expressed my view on this subject more often than should have been necessary.  I would hope that you could "get" my point even if you don't agree with it, maybe even acknowledge its validity while still maintaining that, in your judgment, future generations will evolve to share your refined and advanced tastes and agree with you in anointing Boulez as one of the demigods of Western music.

When I say that history has already judged Boulez, I do not say that he will go down as some kind of demigod of Western music. "Classical music", or "art music" or whatever you want to call it is now a very niche thing in Western culture and we can't really expect any composer to really stand for the age like Mozart or Beethoven. But that Boulez has already had a measurable impact on his own little genre, inspiring other composers in that little genre, is true regardless.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: rappy on July 31, 2010, 01:27:45 AM
However I think Boulez as a composer is greater then Hindemith, but one can argue in favor of Hindemith, that it for him it was about the music only (and not about progressive, and therefore somewhat artificial, musical ideas). To say it in another way: I think composer who had progressive musical ideas are less authentic then composer for who it was about their own music in the first place. Composers like Boulez and Schoenberg can better be regarded as leading figures of movements in music.

For that reason I think Schönberg IS a first-rate composer when you consider the pieces he did NOT write for the sake of presenting new ideas, e.g. Op. 9 (although I really like Op. 25, too).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on July 31, 2010, 04:42:05 AM
When I say that history has already judged Boulez, I do not say that he will go down as some kind of demigod of Western music. "Classical music", or "art music" or whatever you want to call it is now a very niche thing in Western culture and we can't really expect any composer to really stand for the age like Mozart or Beethoven. But that Boulez has already had a measurable impact on his own little genre, inspiring other composers in that little genre, is true regardless.
It was not you to whom I addressed that comment.  It does seem to me that there is a significant sect that still worships at the feet of Schoenberg and very much thinks he "stands for the age."  There are even some who believe the same of Stockhausen, incredible though that might be.  This at a time, the 20th Century, characterized by an "anything goes" spirit of the age.

I don't think anyone is claiming that Boulez has not "already had a measurable impact on his own little genre, inspiring other composers in that little genre."  That seems like a fair statement.  Thank you.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on October 20, 2010, 05:18:15 PM
Crikey! Did you hear that Boulez died yesterday?!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on October 20, 2010, 05:18:37 PM
Oh, sorry! That was Tom Bosley . . . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: greg on October 20, 2010, 06:04:42 PM
You almost gave me a heart attack...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on October 21, 2010, 02:42:21 AM
You almost gave me a heart attack...

Sorry! My fervent musical imagination inadvertently inverted a rotation of Bosley and the result was Boulez. Mistake any composer might make ; )
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on October 21, 2010, 04:59:17 AM
Hey, here's (http://ronsen.org/boulez/) a weird satellite orbiting Planet Boulez!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on October 21, 2010, 05:24:47 AM
Boulez Conducts Boulez was one of the first of the Sony reissue boxes I snaffled up . . . but I don't think I listened to Livre pour cordes until this morning.

From the liner notes:

 
Quote from: Malcolm Hayes
Another seemingly constant work-in-progress is Livre pour cordes (Book for strings), derived from the withdrawn Livre pour quatuor (Book for string quartet) of 1948-49. In 1968 Boulez arranged two movements of this ultra-complex early string quartet for string orchestra (he has since re-worked the material again, combining the two movements into one).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidW on October 21, 2010, 05:33:28 AM
I have to say that is the stupidest project (the Austin TX affair) that I've heard of.  Destroy Britney Spears not Pierre Boulez.  He is a great conductor and composer whose main fault is that he could never close his mouth. :-\
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on October 21, 2010, 05:33:54 AM
Actually, I see I have two.
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/514KCz%2BFlOL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/418X0W6N7GL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

It seemed like it was worth the risk because I found them both used for very cheap.

Psst, how is it going? (For the record, I picked up the Sur incises disc cheap, too.)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on October 21, 2010, 05:35:44 AM
I have to say that is the stupidest project (the Austin TX affair) that I've heard of.  Destroy Britney Spears not Pierre Boulez.  He is a great conductor and composer whose main fault is that he could never close his mouth. :-\

It does look silly, though on the face of it, one isn't quite sure if it is an act of hostility or of homage to Boulez . . . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidW on October 21, 2010, 05:39:40 AM
It does look silly, though on the face of it, one isn't quite sure if it is an act of hostility or of homage to Boulez . . . .

I didn't think of it that way! :D  Good point. ;D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on October 21, 2010, 06:03:01 AM
Believe me, Austin, Texas is hardly "provincial." 

And as far as that "Boulez-destruction project" goes, looking at the website (and it's [sic] 'contribuotrs'), my first reaction was that everyone involved probably adores Boulez, and that this was a rather tongue-in-cheek event.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on October 21, 2010, 06:26:33 AM
I have to say that I have found Boulez to be not particularly scary or edgy as a composer, despite his avant-garde rep. In fact, the sleek, pretty, passionless impression that his music leaves, while quite pleasant, seldom tempts me to dig deeper. For this reason, the only Boulez disc I've kept is Repons, and I suspect that's mainly because I find the spatial effects quite groovy.

Who was it said that Boulez's music was "pretty monotonous and monotonously pretty"?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on October 21, 2010, 06:27:37 AM
I have to say that I have found Boulez to be not particularly scary or edgy as a composer, despite his avant-garde rep.

No, indeed! His bullhorn is scarier than his work, and even that, well . . . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on October 21, 2010, 06:29:24 AM
Who was it said that Boulez's music was "pretty monotonous and monotonously pretty"?

It was in one of the Stravinsky conversation books, so one isn't sure just how firm the attribution might be ; )
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on October 21, 2010, 06:49:02 AM
Separated at birth?

(http://www.cbc.ca/gfx/images/arts/photos/2010/10/19/tom-bosley.jpg) (http://agora2005.ircam.fr/uploads/RTEmagicC_boulez_02.jpg.jpg)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MN Dave on October 21, 2010, 11:13:18 AM
???
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: greg on October 21, 2010, 11:32:19 AM
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH ALREADY

with this moderator condoned harassment

At the rate you people are going there will be no one left on this site other than a couple of internet "composers"
And unpaid bills for site owners who have alienated all possible music lovers

(The quality of the music is not the only difference between a Pierre Boulez and an internet "composer."
A Boulez can scorn criticism - internet mediocrities suppress it.)
Umm.... wtf?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on October 21, 2010, 12:07:17 PM
I think Boulez is pretty cool. (Just saying.)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Scarpia on October 21, 2010, 12:09:50 PM
Psst, how is it going? (For the record, I picked up the Sur incises disc cheap, too.)

Still waiting it's turn in the CD player...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Henk on October 21, 2010, 12:12:59 PM
I wonder what Boulez is composing these days, maybe he's inspired by De Raaff.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on October 21, 2010, 12:13:46 PM
Word is he's at work on an opera version of En attendant Godot.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MN Dave on October 21, 2010, 12:13:51 PM
As a composer, Boulez makes a great conductor.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Scarpia on October 21, 2010, 12:14:45 PM
Wonder what Boulez is composing these days, maybe he's inspired by De Raaff.

Eh, probably too busy firebombing cars on the streets of Paris in retaliation of the reform of the French pension system to composer music these days. 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on October 21, 2010, 12:15:05 PM

As a composer, Boulez makes a great conductor.

Not so good as copper, though.

(http://www.atwillett.com/lighting_pictures/lightningbolt_closeup.jpg)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidW on October 21, 2010, 01:14:22 PM
If Boulez is a great conductor, then he must be a lousy insulator!  Doesn't leave you warm and snug. ;D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on October 22, 2010, 08:46:21 AM
Word is he's at work on an opera version of En attendant Godot.

Chances are we'll be waiting as long as Vladimir and Estragon . . . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on October 22, 2010, 10:11:40 AM
Chances are we'll be waiting as long as Vladimir and Estragon . . . .

The potentialities for poetical justice are indeed très riche.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Philoctetes on October 22, 2010, 11:00:07 AM
The best justice is when the great composers like Bach, Beethoven and Boulez are elected to the Pantheons of posterity, while the fakes and the imitators and the hate mongers are given a taste of Dante's and Gyorgy Kurtag's Inferno...   :P

I like Boulez and all (especiallly his Structures), but pantheon? ... but posterity? You're being quite hyperbolic.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on October 24, 2010, 05:25:34 AM
It does look silly, though on the face of it, one isn't quite sure if it is an act of hostility or of homage to Boulez . . . .
Clearly homage...but with a wicked sense of humor!

Intentional humor, of course, unlike this, which has us rofling partly because the humorless author is painfully unaware of its ridiculousness (which would ordinarily be cause for pity, but it's hard to feel sympathy for someone who's so...er...charming):

The best justice is when the great composers like Bach, Beethoven and Boulez are elected to the Pantheons of posterity

Is there more than one Pantheon?  Hmmm, learn something new every day.  ;) 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on October 24, 2010, 06:44:02 AM
And the flamings that are this site's stock and trade continue.
Uh...that's "stock in trade."  Look to the beam in your own eye...or should that be "beak."  ;)

It's all very well for you to love Boulez.  Nearly everyone here would support you in that.  But when you start attacking others as imbeciles because they don't share your love, you ask for responses in kind.  Happily, most folks here are much too gracious to be so nasty; gentle chiding is more our style.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on October 24, 2010, 08:08:20 AM
Such self-righteousness, from the internet flamers! I did not attack anyone, I responded to attack, to attack on Boulez as well as myself. To dislike Boulez (or any other composer) is OK, to resort to smearing or downgrading expression of dislike, is not.

Nor did I call anyone an imbecile. If there are those out there who feel like imbeciles, well, their complex of inferiority is their problem and their responsibility

Insinuating that others don't share your views only because they're intellectually inferior is "attacking them as imbeciles," regardless of your choice of words.  For instance, you recently referred to one of Karl's observations as:

A mistake only a moron would make. But the topic here is a great and successful composer, Pierre Boulez, exclusively.

But though your heartfelt concern for the sensitivities of others is appreciated, you needn't worry: nothing about your posts is likely to make anyone feel the least bit inferior. 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on October 24, 2010, 08:12:42 AM
Dear mods:  No worries, I will withdraw from this engagement.  In my defense I plead only that such aggressive superciliousness does not bring out the most generous side of my nature.  ;)  8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidW on October 24, 2010, 08:14:41 AM
Dave I doubt anyone but Toucan was pissed at you pointing out why he has a WATCHED under his post.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: knight66 on October 24, 2010, 01:19:24 PM
What a strange opinion you have of your impact: 'hate'.....people in WWII hated Hitler. Folk hated the murderer Myra Hindley. Many have expressed hatred for the banks, institutions they blame for many of the current woes in society; but hate for you, no. Most posters here keep matters in appropriate proportion. I do however detect that contempt is growing amongst the troops.

Saul was not banned. He left, I predict he will return, he often has.

This thread is supposed to be about Boulez; I once was in a performance he conducted, I have a growing interest in understanding him, so perhaps the thread could be returned to its primary objective....now.

Knight
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Benji on October 24, 2010, 05:42:14 PM
I enjoy his orchestrated Notations on the Wien Modern disc:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61nJZESVTYL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I've not heard the piano originals, but the orchestrations are so convincing and complex that it's difficult to imagine them existing in any other way. I will try to seek them out for contrast. 

On the disc above, the orchestrations are played in this order: I, IV, III, II. This makes sense because it gives the sequence a sense of symphony-like wholeness: Moderate, Fast, Moderate, Very Fast and Furious. 8)

I love the busy, schizophrenic  nature of II; it reminds me very much of the first of Schoenberg's Five Pieces for Orchestra. Manic!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on October 24, 2010, 08:43:00 PM
Schoenberg's Five Pieces for Orchestra.

Off topic!! >:(
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on October 24, 2010, 11:17:05 PM



According to what I've read in a French newspaper, he has suffered an eye injury and underwent an emergency eye surgery in Chicago last week.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Benji on October 25, 2010, 02:33:57 AM
Off topic!! >:(

Toucan play at that game.  ;)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on October 25, 2010, 03:48:50 AM
This thread is supposed to be about Boulez; I once was in a performance he conducted, I have a growing interest in understanding him, so perhaps the thread could be returned to its primary objective....now.

Might I suggest Relevés d'apprenti, a delightful collection of some of his writings and Penser la musique aujourd'hui, for some of his theoretical approach.

I have been to more concerts of his music conducted by him than I can remember (Marteau, Répons, Anthèmes II, Dialogue de l'ombre double, Notations, ...explosante-fixe... and others), and it is in concert that you can truly admire the finely crafted music, imagined by a keen ear and put on paper by someone for whom l'écriture is central to his aesthetic.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MDL on November 14, 2010, 04:14:29 AM
Yet more misinformation, originally spewed by the so-called Renaud Machard and occasionaly repeated in spite of its falsehood getting exposed. In interview after interview Boulez has made it clear he had given up on any Opera project.

This story is taking its time to die. Yesterday's Times (Nov 13th) stated that Boulez's opera based on Godot will be premiered by La Scala in 2015. I did a bit of a double-take when read that. An opera by Boulez?! That would have been intriguing.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on November 14, 2010, 05:00:51 AM
This story is taking its time to die. Yesterday's Times (Nov 13th) stated that Boulez's opera based on Godot will be premiered by La Scala in 2015. I did a bit of a double-take when read that. An opera by Boulez?! That would have been intriguing.

French composer Gérard Pesson (modernist but not die-hard Boulezian) who reads his musical diary once a month at midnight on French radio France-Musique talked this week about this rumour during his program. He said it was for the opera of Lyons (!) but that he had extreme difficulty to believe a single word of the sentence "Boulez is writing an opera after Beckett's Godot for 2015" even, he said, if "it was written in Le Monde... ;-)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on November 14, 2010, 06:37:16 AM
Most interesting.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidW on November 30, 2010, 08:53:11 PM
Sadly, it appears that pbs is not airing that concert, even though they aired the Mahler 7. :P  Sounded like a great concert though, wish I was there. :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on December 01, 2010, 09:25:24 AM
Yes, ditto--wish they were broadcasting it.  I mean, what says "holiday cheer" like the Ligeti Violin Concerto!  ;D 

(Seriously, I love the piece.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidW on December 01, 2010, 09:30:39 AM
Nothing says cheer like holiday xmas music like Penderecki's Christmas Symphony and Lutoslawski's Polish Christmas Carols... oh wait... ;D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on December 01, 2010, 09:33:29 AM
Nothing says cheer like holiday xmas music like Penderecki's Christmas Symphony and Lutoslawski's Polish Christmas Carols... oh wait... ;D

That's right!   ;D

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on December 02, 2010, 04:55:14 PM
Next Monday, there will be an (already sold-out) all-Boulez program at Columbia University, with the composer in attendance. Anybody (besides me) from here going?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on December 03, 2010, 03:12:14 PM
Next Monday, there will be an (already sold-out) all-Boulez program at Columbia University, with the composer in attendance. Anybody (besides me) from here going?

Again, no, but yes, again, give us a report!  Please!

And if the Mahler Seventh Symphony concert mentioned above is the same one I heard on the radio (most probably) it is not to be missed!

And the Godot opera rumor is still clogging the Internet: Renaud Machard does seem to be the source.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on December 04, 2010, 05:58:53 AM


And the Godot opera rumor is still clogging the Internet: Renaud Machard does seem to be the source.

Just ask directly to the source then! : http://sites.radiofrance.fr/francemusique/em/deraisonnable/contact.php?e_id=90000057
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on December 07, 2010, 07:19:15 PM
A very interesting evening at Columbia’s Miller Theatre last night, for a variety of reasons. The program was scheduled to start a 8, and was supposed to present 1 ½ hours of music (a relief for me, as I thought it meant I’d get home by 11:30); somehow it managed to finish at 10:30, and much of that was given over to the latest version of Dérive II, which was easily 50 minutes long and followed a 20-minute talk between Boulez and Ara Guzulemian, dean and provost at Juilliard and the only person whom I’ve ever heard address Boulez as “Pierre.”

As Bruce Hodges remarked to me, if you dropped a bomb in Miller Theatre last night, you’d probably wipe out half of New York’s musical elite. Among the better known figures in attendance were Charles Rosen, Charles Wuorinen, and Elliott Carter, who at 102 still gets around pretty well. The performing group was the splendid Talea Ensemble, conducted by James Baker, who is also principal percussionist for the NYC Ballet and I’m sure was grateful for a chance to do something other than the season’s 50 Nutcrackers. There were four pieces on the first half, starting with the beautiful Dérive I in a stunningly sensuous performance that sounded particularly well in Miller’s very live, bright acoustic. Pianist Anthony Cheung then did a fine job with the 12 Notations, most of which are not technically very difficult or virtuosic for the pianist but which call for detailed attention to rhythm and phrasing. Soprano xx then performed the first two Mallarmé Improvisations in their original chamber scoring; I found her very adept, but somewhat cool in temperament, and I have to admit the second of the two seemed to me a bit too long, but that was nothing compared to what happened in the second half.

The interview with Guzulemian followed the intermission, and Boulez still seems to get around well and is obviously as articulate as ever. The intent was to touch on all the pieces being played as a kind of mini-retrospective of Boulez’s composing career, and the interviewer mentioned (at least three times) that this was the last birthday celebration for Boulez this year, which I found a bit embarrassing for obvious reasons. There were no major revelations in the interview, which touched on Boulez’s association with Messiaen, his dislike towards René Leibowitz as an academician, the influence of Balinese gamelan on the Improvisations, his expansion of Notations in orchestral form while he was conducting the Ring, and so forth. When asked what he planned to continue composing, Boulez spoke of completing the orchestral Notations but said nothing about an opera, nor was he asked.

Finally, the US première (or maybe it wasn’t) of Dérive II, and this is one of those very large works Boulez has been writing of late such as Répons and Sur Incises. I heard an earlier version of Dérive II in Carnegie Hall about five years ago and remembered feeling it just went on and on; as I thought after hearing this one, it just went on and on and on and on and on. My feeling about Boulez’s later work (i.e., the work following Rituel) is that it has become more coloristic and less inventive than his earlier pieces. I don’t know if when he started conducting more and more, he lost his concentration as a composer; or whether he started losing concentration as a composer, he turned more to conducting. But this piece seemed to me overlong, shapeless, and clichéd in its materials. Scale figures, repeated note motifs, and even long legato solo passages for violin, cello, and English horn all sounded very different from the more individualized materials of Boulez’s youth. If the Notations recall Schoenberg, that’s understandable in a young composer; but here is an older composer who seems to have run out of steam. I wonder on hearing this very tired and very long work if Boulez senses this himself; whatever the case, I confirmed with Bruce after the performance that my assessment wasn’t the only one.

The composer did receive a standing ovation at the end, not surprisingly. I joined in too, but for the very great career as a whole, and not the unfortunate work at the end of it.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 07, 2010, 08:20:53 PM
Has Boulez ever conducted any of Dutilleux's music? Dutilleux seems to be right up Boulez's alley.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on December 07, 2010, 08:53:45 PM
Thanks for this. I honestly like Sur Incises & Répons from his later music very much ... but I have two 2010 live bootlegs (aka radio broadcasts) recordings of Dérive II (with him conducting on both occasions) and haven't managed to sit through either, and nothing about it pulls me back  ...

I certainly prefer both of those works to D. II. Actually the Carnegie performance of Répons was quite exciting in some ways, though some of that had to do with the antiphonal placement of the musicians and the electronics  - and even the lighting effects - as much as the actual music.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on December 07, 2010, 09:06:10 PM
Has Boulez ever conducted any of Dutilleux's music? Dutilleux seems to be right up Boulez's alley.

Start here. This may surprise you:
http://cf.groups.yahoo.com/group/forum_classique/message/14084

But I read an interview from about 5 years ago where Boulez's attitude towards Dutilleux has mellowed considerably. Can't find it right now, however.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 07, 2010, 09:26:15 PM
Start here. This may surprise you:
http://cf.groups.yahoo.com/group/forum_classique/message/14084 (http://cf.groups.yahoo.com/group/forum_classique/message/14084)

But I read an interview from about 5 years ago where Boulez's attitude towards Dutilleux has mellowed considerably. Can't find it right now, however.

I often disagree with Boulez, but I had no idea of how ruthless he was to other composers. I think it's a shame that musicans of Boulez's stature have to degrade composers who don't share the same views as him. Boulez has mellowed out through the years, because one thing I can't stand is someone who is arrogant enough to proclaim their way is the only way and everybody else is wrong.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on December 07, 2010, 10:02:38 PM
Has Boulez ever conducted any of Dutilleux's music? Dutilleux seems to be right up Boulez's alley.

Dutilleux is rather aloof from the French musical establishment and has said some harsh words about Boulez in the past.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 07, 2010, 10:22:58 PM
Dutilleux is rather aloof from the French musical establishment and has said some harsh words about Boulez in the past.

Did you read the article that was linked above? In the article, it has quotes from Dutilleux in which he basically said (to paraphrase here) that Boulez's attitude about composers who didn't share his same musical outlook were wrong. If Boulez wasn't such an a****** than perhaps Dutilleux would have had a better footing with the French establishment. Anyway you look at it, I think history will be kind to Dutillieux and his contributions to music are noteworthy.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on December 08, 2010, 05:06:00 AM

. . . one thing I can't stand is someone who is arrogant enough to proclaim their way is the only way and everybody else is wrong.

But that's the essence of Boulez's character.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on December 08, 2010, 06:33:02 AM
But I read an interview from about 5 years ago where Boulez's attitude towards Dutilleux has mellowed considerably. Can't find it right now, however.
Yes, I remember this too, and can't find it either. I think Boulez did explicitly state that he'd like to conduct Timbres, Espace, Mouvement -- a work I could see him doing an excellent job with.

As for recent Boulez, I also find almost all of his recent work far too long for its ideas (even the enjoyable sur Incises could IMO do with some trimming). I think the last large-scale Boulez piece that I can give an entirely unquestioned two thumbs up to would be Rituel.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on December 08, 2010, 07:40:40 AM
... and I've never liked Pli Selon Pli.

Well, but if you'd use your ears, James . . . .

; )
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on December 08, 2010, 12:11:42 PM

[interesting comments excised]

The composer did receive a standing ovation at the end, not surprisingly. I joined in too, but for the very great career as a whole, and not the unfortunate work at the end of it.

Can't add much to this, other than figurative nodding in agreement.  It was a wonderful evening in many ways: these days I treasure the chances to see Boulez in person (not to mention Elliott Carter and some of the others in the audience).  But I wish I'd enjoyed Dérive II more.  It wasn't "agonizing," just without that Boulezian grip that seizes you in his best work (like Répons).

But loved, loved, loved the performance of Dérive--my favorite of the night.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on December 08, 2010, 01:17:24 PM
Just as some fans hope that with Stockhausen's death comes the possibility of performing LICHT without the composer's lame staging ideas, so too I hope that after Pierre's gone (and I do hope he's got many more years ahead of him) performers can start going back to the original versions of many works. I'd much rather go to a concert of an earlier, shorter and more passionate version of Pli selon pli or a recital with the original 1994 version of Incises which is one of my favourite piano works of all time, while I detest the bloated monstrosity he unveiled in 2001.

One wonders if Boulez would have kept expanding Derive II if he hadn't been on such a Mahler kick. That composer is definitely a bad role model for keeping things lean.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on December 08, 2010, 04:40:13 PM
while I detest the bloated monstrosity he unveiled in 2001.

Have you seen the "masterclass" he gave on it, available as a bonus on the Juxtapositions DVD? Sure it is long, but there is a lot of stuff to dig through and enjoy.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on December 08, 2010, 05:09:19 PM
To clarify, the "bloated monstrosity" of 2001 that I was referring to was the 10-minute version of Incises for solo piano as opposed to the 3.5 minute version of 1994. I love sur Incises as it is and am happy Boulez came up with the piece.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on December 08, 2010, 05:26:51 PM
But loved, loved, loved the performance of Dérive--my favorite of the night.

--Bruce

I agree here too. I realize also I left out the name of the soprano soloist in my long post because it escaped me. Her name was Mary Elizabeth Mackenzie.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: lescamil on December 09, 2010, 09:39:04 AM
hmmm has the original 3.5 minute version turned up anywhere on a broadcast or recording?

I remember finding a recording of the smaller version just doing a simple Google search for it. I'm sure it's also on YouTube. Also, for the record, I happen to love both the later versions of Incises and Dérive II. I like Dérive I just fine, but I thought that the 1994 version of Incises ended too abruptly. Of course, I am very familiar with Sur Incises, and this affects my decision.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MDL on December 09, 2010, 09:44:13 AM
har har ... but I have and every single recording available of it too, I still don't care for it. Oh well.

Oh, dear! Well, nobody can accuse you of not trying. I too have all the recordings of Pli selon Pli. I think my fave is the early CBS/Sony version; I like my Pli with a bit of bite. It's probably the Boulez work that I love best, although I've never been entirely convinced by the fifth movement (sublime coda excepted).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on December 09, 2010, 09:44:34 AM
hmmm has the original 3.5 minute version turned up anywhere on a broadcast or recording?
It's been recorded once on DG by the then very-young Gianluca Cascioli:

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/48/9a/4e3a53a09da069b70d256110.L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on December 09, 2010, 11:19:58 AM
A portion of the New York Times review, speaking of Dérive II:

Quote
A huge score now, it unfolds organically, with intricate rhythms and pointillistic textures giving way to insistent, forward drive and richly contrapuntal sections. Except for its spiky accent, stretches of the work could have been 19th-century chamber music; in fact, the way into this daunting piece is to focus on the vital interplay between individual instruments and the full ensemble. In a long section toward the end an angular violin theme is taken up in turn by the oboe, clarinet, bassoon (with oboe) and cello, often with ensemble passages setting apart the solo turns.

Other surprises in “Dérive II” included a syncopated tandem passage for clarinet and oboe that had a decidedly (if fleetingly) jazzy sound, and a tremolando chordal passage, near the end, that seemed an allusion to one of Steve Reich’s signature moves — something one hardly expects in Mr. Boulez’s music.



Those who attended may recognize that, three mentions notwithstanding, the instrument used in D. II was an English horn and not an oboe. Great reviewers the Times is getting these days.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on December 09, 2010, 01:19:52 PM
In the NYT review they say that Dérive  II lasts 53 minutes. Is it a new-new version ? I've listened to the 2006 version a few months ago it it was about 42-44 minutes I think...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on December 09, 2010, 01:28:14 PM
In the NYT review they say that Dérive  II lasts 53 minutes. Is it a new-new version ? I've listened to the 2006 version a few months ago it it was about 42-44 minutes I think...

Yes, that's the latest one.  (The performance the other night could have been a bit slower.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on December 15, 2010, 05:19:14 AM
Currently listening to Boulez's ...explosante fixe... 

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/3f/b0/3bb0c0a398a051427d15b110.L.png)

A wonderful marriage of the computerized world & the instrumental world.

You can see a live performance of Explosante... fixe (in Berlin a few month ago) on the Berlin Philharmoniker website with Boulez conducting and Emmanuel Pahud playing the flute solo. It's not free unfortunately, but this is a great opportunity to "see" this spectacular piece. The interview of Boulez by Pahud about Explosante.. Fixe is free if you just register.


http://www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/concert/1658
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on December 15, 2010, 06:40:28 AM
You can see a live performance of Explosante... fixe (in Berlin a few month ago) on the Berlin Philharmoniker website with Boulez conducting and Emmanuel Pahud playing the flute solo. It's not free unfortunately, but this is a great opportunity to "see" this spectacular piece. The interview of Boulez by Pahud about Explosante.. Fixe is free if you just register.

http://www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/concert/1658

I attended a performance of it in the late 90s with Boulez at the wheel and the Ensemble InterContemporain :P. Memorable indeed, and made me pay closer attention to the piece, which I didn't consider particularly interesting until then.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on January 01, 2011, 02:19:16 AM

As some have pointed out Boulez has mellowed considerably with the years. The neo-tonals have not, however - they are still around, they still define themselves against Boulezian avant-garde, they are as intolerant as ever, they still want the exclusive possession of French musical life they briefly enjoyed during the Vichy period - and the composers they uphold are still as mediocre as ever.

Those who do not  agree with the latter judgment are welcome to listen as much as they want to the music of Marcel Landowski, Henri Tomasi, Jean-Michel Damase, Jean-Louis Florentz, Nicolas Bacri, Thierry Escaich or Guillaume Connesson. Does everyone not deserve a chance at what they wish for? Especially at this time of year, lol.

The only one I would save in this list is the very talented Jean-Louis Florentz who died too young, alas...

Funny to see that NOBODY plays Landowski anymore in France... Perhaps a proof that his reputation was due to his socializing habilities and not to his talent which was very small as a composer indeed.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on January 01, 2011, 05:35:43 AM
As some have pointed out Boulez has mellowed considerably with the years. The neo-tonals have not, however - they are still around, they still define themselves against Boulezian avant-garde, they are as intolerant as ever, they still want the exclusive possession of French musical life they briefly enjoyed during the Vichy period - and the composers they uphold are still as mediocre as ever.

Indeed, I've never thought of that before. It's indeed funny that Boulez is called an intolerant "my way or the highway" serialist when he has championed the music of e.g. Dalbavie (post-spectralist crowdpleasers), Neuwirth (post-Lachenmann creaking) and Kurtag (very in touch with Hungarian tradition).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on January 01, 2011, 07:39:42 AM
The only one I would save in this list is the very talented Jean-Louis Florentz who died too young, alas...

Funny to see that NOBODY plays Landowski anymore in France... Perhaps a proof that his reputation was due to his socializing habilities and not to his talent which was very small as a composer indeed.

Florentz doesn't have that much by way of cd? A lone cello piece is all I see.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 01, 2011, 11:44:28 AM
Well, perhaps if Boulez orchestrated Bagatelle sans Tonalité that would keep most parties happy...  ;)

Yes, but while that piece is highly chromatic and modulatory, it is in no way atonal in the Schoenbergian sense.

As for Liszt, Boulez has always had a considerable respect for that composer's music. In fact, in his second NY Philharmonic season, he programmed retrospectives of both Liszt and Berg. You can probably find out which works he specifically programmed by searching the NY Phil archives:
http://history.nyphil.org/nypwcpub/dbweb.asp?ac=a1

Unfortunately, the search engine is severely crippled by the fact that you can search for only one term at a time. (E.g., I can search for Boulez, or I can search for Liszt. But I cannot search for Liszt as performed by Boulez.) Hopefully they'll do better with this in time.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: greg on January 02, 2011, 06:33:23 PM
All transient stuff, these concerts. I wish he'd focus on putting his own notes to manuscript paper instead.
He should. He's 85 years old... I'd like to hear a new Boulez work before he dies.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on January 02, 2011, 07:44:42 PM
Boulez has panned composers whose line is parallel to his, when he doubts their merits. He has occasionally come close to tagging Xenakis a failure - and has actually used that term on Barraque.

In his latest Diapason interview he quietly destroys Stockhausen.

In what did Xenakis fail, Pepe??? (bitch slaps Boulez so hard his comb-over resembles one of Xenakis' glissandi diagrams) >:(




Still, I wanna hear the gossip! :P
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: smith888 on January 19, 2011, 10:14:29 PM
hey guys,,,,, 8) 8)
I have the Boulez Rite of Spring with Cleveland. I find the Danse Sacrale incredible, it is still an eye-opener (or ear opener?) every time I listen to it. He takes it at exactly the metronome marking prescribed by Stravinsky, which is much, much slower than how it is usually done.


Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MDL on January 20, 2011, 09:27:13 AM
hey guys,,,,, 8) 8)
I have the Boulez Rite of Spring with Cleveland. I find the Danse Sacrale incredible, it is still an eye-opener (or ear opener?) every time I listen to it. He takes it at exactly the metronome marking prescribed by Stravinsky, which is much, much slower than how it is usually done.

His first (Sony/CBS) or the DG remake? His first is probably my favourite recording of the Rite. The second is a bit toothless.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MishaK on January 20, 2011, 10:47:43 AM
He should. He's 85 years old... I'd like to hear a new Boulez work before he dies.

You'll be delighted to know that he's taking a year-long leave of absence to do just that. Supposedly a Boulez opera is in the works as well. He has no scheduled concerts from now through I think most of the next season.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MDL on January 22, 2011, 07:21:00 AM
There is also yet another live recording (easier to do) coming out soon of retread (yawn) ... Wagner/Schoenberg

(http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/imgs/s300x300/4779347.jpg)

http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/cat/single?PRODUCT_NR=4779347

I really liked Boulez's CSO Pelleas, even if I think Karajan did a better job with the final section, so I look forward to hearing this.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MDL on January 22, 2011, 10:01:38 AM

In his latest Diapason interview he quietly destroys Stockhausen.


What, all Stockhausen? OK, he wrote some dubious pieces in his hippy days and often seemed to be working on autopilot later in life, but, in my opinion, his greatest works tower over anything by Boulez. Also, the range and scale of his output, masterpieces or not, dwarfs Boulez's small and fairly limited contribution. I love Boulez as a composer and conductor, but he's always been a bitchy-arsed little gobshite, hasn't he?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: DavidRoss on January 22, 2011, 10:32:32 AM
I love Boulez as a composer and conductor, but he's always been a bitchy-arsed little gobshite, hasn't he?
I'm not trying to offend anyone, but...have you ever known a French intellectual who wasn't? 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on January 22, 2011, 10:39:49 AM
What's the French for egghead? Tête-d'oeuf ?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on January 22, 2011, 10:55:31 AM
. . . Well he loves to talk . . ., pontificate . . . .

Reminds me of someone. Hang on, I'll remember whom in a minute . . . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 22, 2011, 03:27:48 PM
Mr. 28579 posts?  ;)

Can't be Karl. His count as I write is 28583.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: greg on January 22, 2011, 07:02:06 PM
Can't be Karl. His count as I write is 28583.
No, it's 28585. It's almost like the number is constantly changing...  ??? :o

Nice to hear about Boulez composing, though...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on January 23, 2011, 01:16:38 AM
Several very important composers composed lesss than Boulez (Varese, Webern, Ustwolskaya) but yes, it's a shame that he still accepts to conduct anything. This is a mystery. He says he would always prefer composing if he had to choose, but he's always in a podium somewhere in the world to play Bartok or Debussy... Come on Pierre you don't need money, you don't need stardom but we need Anthème III !!! ;-)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Sylph on February 04, 2011, 08:34:14 AM
What was Boulez's relationship with Jolivet like? What cause the rift and the feud?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MishaK on February 04, 2011, 08:36:54 AM
I'm not trying to offend anyone, but...have you ever known a French intellectual who wasn't?

He's actually a very pleasant and humorous guy in person.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: PaulSC on February 04, 2011, 12:02:04 PM
He's actually a very pleasant and humorous guy in person.
But watch your back!  :-\
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MDL on April 22, 2011, 12:25:24 AM
The Southbank Centre is hosting a Boulez festival in October. There's loads of his piano music which I'm not particularly arsed about; more excitingly, there will be performances of ...explosante-fix... and Pli selon Pli.

http://ticketing.southbankcentre.co.uk/find/festivals-series/exquisite-labyrinth-the-music-of-pierre-boulez (http://ticketing.southbankcentre.co.uk/find/festivals-series/exquisite-labyrinth-the-music-of-pierre-boulez)

Edit: Just noticed there's a concert in September, too, featuring the inevitable (but still welcome, of course) Rituel.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: klingsor on April 22, 2011, 01:20:29 AM
 :) A good number of videos here, Boulez conducting his own and other's music

http://www.citedelamusiquelive.tv/Concert/0942572.html (http://www.citedelamusiquelive.tv/Concert/0942572.html)

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Coco on April 28, 2011, 04:45:02 PM
Has anyone heard the 2006 version of Dérive II? Apparently it's 45 minutes long — the version on the DG recording is from 2002 and is nearly half the length. Are there any recordings?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on April 29, 2011, 06:44:12 AM
Has anyone heard the 2006 version of Dérive II? Apparently it's 45 minutes long — the version on the DG recording is from 2002 and is nearly half the length. Are there any recordings?

Can't answer your second question, but I did hear the newer version last December, at a very good Boulez birthday tribute concert by the Talea Ensemble:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/sandh/2011/Jan-Jun11/boulez0612.htm

Can't say that I really liked it, but then, I've only heard it once, so... :-\

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: springrite on May 02, 2011, 05:27:57 AM
Yesterday, I was playing a DVD of Boulez (Eclat). Three year old Kimi came and sat beside me and listened attentively. Five minutes later, Vanessa came and said "Hey, Kimi won't like that!", and changed the DVD to Mozart. Kimi got upset:"Mommy! I was enjoying the last one! Put it back! That was good stuff!!!"

Vanessa was speechless.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ibanezmonster on May 02, 2011, 05:30:00 AM
Yesterday, I was playing a DVD of Boulez (Eclat). Three year old Kimi came and sat beside me and listened attentively. Five minutes later, Vanessa came and said "Hey, Kimi won't like that!", and changed the DVD to Mozart. Kimi got upset:"Mommy! I was enjoying the last one! Put it back! That was good stuff!!!"

Vanessa was speechless.

Kimi is the coolest little girl in the world...  :D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on May 02, 2011, 05:43:23 AM
Pow!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: springrite on May 02, 2011, 05:46:10 AM
Pow!

The Hennings MouseTrap is up next for Kimi!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Coco on May 02, 2011, 05:54:54 AM
Goes to show how programmed our idea of "convention" can be. Kids are often more intelligent than adults.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on May 02, 2011, 05:56:57 AM
Certainly they tend to hear with fresher ears. (So here's hoping The Mousetrap passes muster!)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Coco on May 02, 2011, 06:12:09 AM
Reminds me of the time I was listening to Pulcinella on headphones in my parents' backyard and my little sister (4 at the time) wanted to listen. I said, "you won't like it" but handed the phones over — she started blissfully swaying from side to side with her eyes closed. :D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Coco on May 29, 2011, 07:00:07 AM
The bump reminds me: I was able to find a few radio recordings of some rare pieces, including the 2006 version of Dérive II (45 minutes), as well as a few withdrawn pieces. The sound quality is variable. I don't think any of these are available commercially, so if anyone's interested, send me a PM and I'll be happy to send them.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Sylph on June 12, 2011, 12:33:00 AM
Quote
If there's a living deity – or ruling tyrant – in classical music, it's got to be Pierre Boulez.

Nobody else comes close, in the adulation they attract, or the venom, or the fear – even among established composers – of their disapproval. This is the man who said that opera houses should be burned down, and libraries turned into cowsheds, and whose Year-Zero creation of a new musical language rivalled Pol Pot in its enthusiastic abolition of the past. This is the dictator who has stigmatised all musicians who don't embrace his ideology as "useless"; whose Institut de Recherche et de Co-ordination Acoustique-Musique – universally known as Ircam – is held to have alienated the broad mass of music lovers, and pushed new music into a narcissistic ghetto.

And this is the man whose music the Southbank Centre is preparing to celebrate, with a series of events prefaced by a concert next week in which he will conduct Liszt's piano concertos, with his friend Daniel Barenboim as the soloist. But it is indeed time that Boulez's music, with its richly decorative surface and Oriental sensuality of sound, was released from the specialist niche to which its intellectual rigour has condemned it. "We want to focus on its beauty," says Gillian Moore, the Southbank's head of contemporary culture. "He's the late 20th-century's successor to Debussy and Ravel."

The Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/classical/features/pierre-boulez-ray-of-light-or-lord-of-the-dark-side-discuss-2296306.html)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on June 12, 2011, 01:36:58 AM
Ray of light, most definitely. Boulez is one of my favorite composers.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on June 14, 2011, 08:35:55 AM


Lots of clapping from snyprrr!! ;)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Coco on June 14, 2011, 05:52:49 PM
Boulez on the money as usual.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 14, 2011, 05:59:36 PM
Boulez on the money as usual.

I don't think Boulez is ever "on the money." In fact, he has some quite nasty opinions of composers who I admire, but thankfully, these are just opinions and not factual in any way. I'm also glad to see Boulez has mellowed out through the years. I admire his musicianship, but that is all.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Coco on June 14, 2011, 06:37:08 PM
I don't think Boulez is ever "on the money." In fact, he has some quite nasty opinions of composers who I admire, but thankfully, these are just opinions and not factual in any way. I'm also glad to see Boulez has mellowed out through the years. I admire his musicianship, but that is all.

Sibelius is a notable blindspot for him, and I'm surprised a great musician like him would not appreciate the architectonics of Sibelius's later music, despite the superficial traditionalism of his harmonic language — but I find myself agreeing with him nearly always when it comes to contemporary music, even if his own music isn't as good as his early and middle-period masterpieces.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 14, 2011, 06:38:41 PM
Sibelius is a notable blindspot for him, and I'm surprised a great musician like him would not appreciate the architectonics of Sibelius's later music, despite the superficial traditionalism of his harmonic language — but I find myself agreeing with him nearly always when it comes to contemporary music, even if his own music isn't as good as his early and middle-period masterpieces.

Boulez has many "blindspots" in my opinion. ;) I would say that much of Scandinavia is a blindspot for him in terms of conducting. Could you imagine Boulez conducting Nielsen? ???
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on June 15, 2011, 05:11:32 AM
Yea gotta agree with him too here ... Cage,Reich,Glass,Adams ... meaningless,vapid & trite stuff.

Just like what he said of post-1970 Stockhausen? ;)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on June 15, 2011, 05:17:55 AM
(* chortle *)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on June 15, 2011, 05:41:53 AM
Agreed, Leon, that the whole tack of "such-&-so composers are worthless" is profoundly wrong-headed (which, of course, does not mean anything one way or another about the merits of Boulez's music).
 
I find it a disappointment in his character, and thus a reminder that while one wishes that the artists whose work one admires might be noble personalities, it doesn't always happen that way; and a disappointment in The Environment, that such a person could be thrust into fame and success, essentially by being such a gawdelpus gadfly.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Scarpia on June 15, 2011, 11:14:14 AM
I find it a disappointment in his character, and thus a reminder that while one wishes that the artists whose work one admires might be noble personalities, it doesn't always happen that way; and a disappointment in The Environment, that such a person could be thrust into fame and success, essentially by being such a gawdelpus gadfly.

I'd say it hardly ever happens that way. 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Amfortas on June 15, 2011, 11:46:55 AM

 
I find it a disappointment in his character, and thus a reminder that while one wishes that the artists whose work one admires might be noble personalities, it doesn't always happen that way .

I think this is often a symptom of the 'grand old man' blowing off steam in his latter years. A few years before his death, film director Ingmar Bergman did the same thing, trashing Antonioni and other revered directors. And I have run across this kind of thing pretty often in many areas
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on June 15, 2011, 02:22:58 PM
He never said that in that article, (sure he objects to KS's preference to hand pick ensembles & players to play his music, big deal - its no different than any great band leader who does the same) - and if he's said it elsewhere he'd be wrong of course. Tho I've heard Boulez say he felt Stockhausen was the most fascinating composer he's ever known. But then again, as a composer - Boulez can't hold a candle to Stockhausen's galaxy.

So, in your opinion, he's right about some things and wrong about some others. Good enough for me.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 15, 2011, 05:12:37 PM
I've never heard him say post 70s Stockhausen music was anything close to being 'nonsensical' .. or 'interesting for about 5 minutes' or 'just like movie music'. And if he did it would obviously be off the mark. In fact, I have heard just the opposite for the most part and he totally respected Stockhausen as a major composer in a big way, and found him 'the most fascinating and mysterious' .. and i've heard him say that he had no real issues with 'the music' of Licht per se and finds a lot of it 'quite striking', he just wasn't into the text or the mystical religious synchronicities. Tho if you've heard enough Cage, Adams or Glass for instance one can easily understand Boulez is clearly dead on about that stuff.

And Boulez has an opinion like anyone else. He does not represent fact and he certainly doesn't speak for everyone, especially me.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 15, 2011, 06:05:52 PM
Cage is mindless crap.

Your opinion.

Glass is interesting for 5 minutes...

Your opinion.

and Adams is totally forgettable and boring.

And finally...your opinion.

Whether Boulez finds so and so composer horrible is not the issue, James. What is the issue is when opinions are being presented as facts like your own in this instance.

Anyway, I don't have the energy to debate opinion vs. fact with you, because you simply don't understand this concept. You're in your 60s right? ::)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 15, 2011, 06:17:14 PM
For me based on experience it is an insight that is about as close to 'fact' as you can get.

Like I said, I'm not going to argue with you about it, because this is a non-issue. Opinion will NEVER equal fact.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Amfortas on June 16, 2011, 01:22:10 AM
  Opinion will NEVER equal fact.

Amen. 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on June 16, 2011, 01:30:25 AM
. . . Opinion will NEVER equal fact.

Especially James's ; )
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on June 16, 2011, 06:24:16 AM
Especially James's ; )

See how Karl uses proper grammar by saying 'James's' with the 's'. One must applaud these things! ;)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on June 16, 2011, 06:28:02 AM
(* bows *)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on June 16, 2011, 06:43:18 AM
If you've seen as many Guinness labels as I have, it would not look at all strange to you! ; )

(http://www.123posters.com/images/art/a-guinness1.jpg)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on June 17, 2011, 05:56:23 AM
Has anyone heard the 2006 version of Dérive II? Apparently it's 45 minutes long — the version on the DG recording is from 2002 and is nearly half the length. Are there any recordings?

The latest (last?) version of Dérive 2 will be recorded this month for Naïve Records by the Ensemble Orchestral Contempo­rain (EOC), conducted Daniel Kawka:

http://www.qobuz.com/info/MAGAZINE-ACTUALITES/CONCERTS-ET-TOURNEES/Montbrison-rend-hommage-a-Pierre57194
 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: cassandra on August 20, 2011, 07:12:18 AM
m. Fascinating collection of comments on Boulez the man. All I can do is report from my own life.

Firstly, I was at a performance of pli selon pli many moons ago, PB conducting, and the person sitting next to me was a former member of the BBCSO. He spoke of Boulez in glowing terms and how he cared for the members of the band.

Secondly, I was staying at the Hyatt in Berlin (again a long time ago) and Boulez was staying there as well. His small entourage, a male and female, and he were in conversation over both dinner and breakfast when I saw them. The conversation was the same as any other. Earnest, serious, smiles, laughs, frowns. Boulez did not engage in any "superstar" behaviour. I still regret not going over and telling him how much I admire his music. I have always been shy in front of my heroes.

Thirdly, and this tale is at 2nd or 3rd hand, but there is a prommer who apparently knows PB quite well, and she has had a signed photo of him as a birthday present or something. And I have heard her refer to him as Pierre. I quite like the lady (from my few encounters with her), she is has an amazing appreciation of all kinds of music.

OK that was the other side of the coin of Boulez, homme.

As for his music, I've been to Paris a few times to hear his stuff, conducted by him or in attendance. We have to be grateful he caused the creation of not only IRCAM but the Cité de la musique, with its moveable seating. I heard Anthèmes 2 there played from memory. It was spell binding. Of course as Répons was performed twice I had to go to both performances! I am still amazed at the moments when I think I am hearing the colours of Ravel. Gorgeous!

His concerts are sell outs and you need to get in early or you've had it. In fact, at the Cité quite a lot of avant-garde music sells out. I couldn't afford to go there until nearer the time when they were putting on some Nono, and when I could it was all sold out. At least there is a Holiday Inn across the road, so not far to go bed!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ibanezmonster on August 20, 2011, 06:39:18 PM
Boulez is looking really old now!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 20, 2011, 07:24:42 PM
Boulez is looking really old now!

Yes, this is generally what happens when a person ages. ;)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MDL on August 21, 2011, 02:39:11 AM
Yes, this is generally what happens when a person ages. ;)

Stockhausen managed to look fairly youthful and sprightly until he died.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on August 23, 2011, 08:33:16 AM
As for his music, I've been to Paris a few times to hear his stuff, conducted by him or in attendance. We have to be grateful he caused the creation of not only IRCAM but the Cité de la musique, with its moveable seating. I heard Anthèmes 2 there played from memory. It was spell binding. Of course as Répons was performed twice I had to go to both performances! I am still amazed at the moments when I think I am hearing the colours of Ravel. Gorgeous!


Thanks, cassandra, for all the Boulez comments. I, too, heard Anthèmes 2 and Répons when the Ensemble Intercontemporain did them at Carnegie Hall a few years back. Your comparison with Ravel is spot-on; if Ravel had lived into the late 20th century and had access to computers, he might have come up with something like Répons - some really gorgeous sonorities there.

Last night heard a fine performance of Boulez's Second Piano Sonata by Taka Kigawa, an excellent pianist with a penchant for contemporary repertoire (his program included Saariaho and Stockhausen). He did the Boulez - a monster at over half an hour - from memory.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Coco on September 02, 2011, 07:29:01 PM
Exciting!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: eyeresist on September 11, 2011, 09:09:57 PM
Stockhausen managed to look fairly youthful and sprightly until he died.

... after which he began to let himself go.
 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Sylph on September 11, 2011, 09:59:52 PM
He's going to conduct music by Schubert in February with Cleveland. I wonder which piece(s).

http://www.clevelandorchestra.com/event-detail/2011-Mar-38.aspx?pid=9109
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brian on September 20, 2011, 07:26:59 AM
This New York Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/16/arts/music/kalichstein-laredo-robinson-trio-with-sting-review.html?src=tp) offers the peculiar fact that Pierre Boulez used to attend parties at Paul Simon's place.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on September 20, 2011, 07:45:02 AM
This New York Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/16/arts/music/kalichstein-laredo-robinson-trio-with-sting-review.html?src=tp) offers the peculiar fact that Pierre Boulez used to attend parties at Paul Simon's place.

I heard that was the genesis of “You Can Call Me Al” . . . that Boulez was introduced to Paul Simon, but got his name wrong.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on September 20, 2011, 07:47:24 AM
I heard that was the genesis of “You Can Call Me Al” . . . that Boulez was introduced to Paul Simon, but got his name wrong.

Well, and there in the article is that very story. Might have guessed, I suppose . . . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on September 20, 2011, 08:30:44 AM
Boulez could really have been someone, if he had been cast in a cameo for The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on September 20, 2011, 09:24:23 AM
Boulez could really have been someone, if he had been cast in a cameo for The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash
And all Boulez did need was cash, of course. A musician-cum-tax lawyer friend once told me that some of Boulez's attempts to not pay tax while in charge of the NYPO ended up as legally significant test cases.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: karlhenning on September 20, 2011, 09:38:06 AM
He could take a cue from Douglas Adams, and spend a year dead for tax purposes . . . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MDL on October 02, 2011, 01:51:59 PM
Just got back from Pli selon Pli at the Royal Festival Hall. I'm slightly winded at the idea of paying £35 for a concert that lasted barely one hour, and I have to confess that the minute Boulez appeared on stage, I rushed to grab one of the many more expensive (empty) seats. Christ knows what they were going for.  >:(

It's the first time I've heard Pli live, and it confirmed my long-standing impression that this is Boulez's finest achievement. As is his tendency these days, Boulez's reading was warmer, softer and grander than his spiky Sony/CBS recording (still my favourite of the three recordings). But the attention to detail and texture was extraordinary, and the chiming, clanging, twanging sonorities were beguiling. The audience gave it a standing ovation.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on October 02, 2011, 02:04:22 PM
Just got back from Pli selon Pli at the Royal Festival Hall. I'm slightly winded at the idea of paying £35 for a concert that lasted barely one hour, and I have to confess that the minute Boulez appeared on stage, I rushed to grab one of the many more expensive (empty) seats. Christ knows what they were going for.  >:(

It's the first time I've heard Pli live, and it confirmed my long-standing impression that this is Boulez's finest achievement. As is his tendency these days, Boulez's reading was warmer, softer and grander than his spiky Sony/CBS recording (still my favourite of the three recordings). But the attention to detail and texture was extraordinary, and the chiming, clanging, twanging sonorities were beguiling. The audience gave it a standing ovation.

Thanks for this nice write-up! Sounds like it was a fantastic evening, and so happy to hear that the rest of the audience thought so, too. PS, on Tuesday I'm hearing an excellent group, the Talea Ensemble, play Le marteau sans maître.

--Bruce

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on October 02, 2011, 02:15:47 PM
PS, just saw this link posted on Twitter, a video of the same concert just a few days earlier in Paris, and apparently available to view through mid-November.

http://liveweb.arte.tv/fr/video/Pli_selon_Pli_Pierre_Boulez_Ensemble_Intercontemporain_Salle_Pleyel/

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MDL on October 02, 2011, 02:21:41 PM
Thanks for this nice write-up! Sounds like it was a fantastic evening, and so happy to hear that the rest of the audience thought so, too. PS, on Tuesday I'm hearing an excellent group, the Talea Ensemble, play Le marteau sans maître.

--Bruce

It was a really enjoyable evening, although the atmosphere in town is a bit strange; we're having a freak spell of hot weather in the UK (30C in October in London is unheard of) so people are a bit spaced out and cheery.

I've got Boulez's DG recording of Marteau, which I really like, but I have no idea how it compares to earlier performances. Have you heard the DG ? If so, how does it compare to the earlier (and I assume spikier) recordings?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MDL on October 02, 2011, 02:24:51 PM
PS, just saw this link posted on Twitter, a video of the same concert just a few days earlier in Paris, and apparently available to view through mid-November.

http://liveweb.arte.tv/fr/video/Pli_selon_Pli_Pierre_Boulez_Ensemble_Intercontemporain_Salle_Pleyel/

--Bruce

Ooh, wow! And unless I'm mistaken, Barbara Hannigan was wearing the same frock tonight.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on October 02, 2011, 02:32:10 PM
I've got Boulez's DG recording of Marteau, which I really like, but I have no idea how it compares to earlier performances. Have you heard the DG ? If so, how does it compare to the earlier (and I assume spikier) recordings?

I have only heard the DG a few times (and don't have the "A/B" comparison in my head), but tend to share the opinions of those who have say exactly that: the earlier ones are a bit more raw and urgent. But that doesn't make the DG one irrelevant by any means, especially given the almost supernatural playing of the Ensemble Intercontemporain.

Ooh, wow! And unless I'm mistaken, Barbara Hannigan was wearing the same frock tonight.

And now I have to say "wow": I adore Barbara Hannigan, and didn't realize she was the soloist! Got to meet her last December after she did the Grisey Quatre chants here.

--Bruce

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on October 02, 2011, 02:45:17 PM
I have only heard the DG a few times (and don't have the "A/B" comparison in my head), but tend to share the opinions of those who have say exactly that: the earlier ones are a bit more raw and urgent. But that doesn't make the DG one irrelevant by any means, especially given the almost supernatural playing of the Ensemble Intercontemporain.

And now I have to say "wow": I adore Barbara Hannigan, and didn't realize she was the soloist! Got to meet her last December after she did the Grisey Quatre chants here.

--Bruce

Yes, the DGG version is quite fine!  It also has the incredible Explosante-fixe!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MDL on October 02, 2011, 02:55:51 PM
Yes, the DGG version is quite fine!  It also has the incredible Explosante-fixe!

No it doesn't.

(http://bilder.preisvergleich.org/products/DE/30/000/009/900/E_000009900142_DE_30.jpg)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on October 02, 2011, 03:07:35 PM
No it doesn't.

(http://bilder.preisvergleich.org/products/DE/30/000/009/900/E_000009900142_DE_30.jpg)

Augh!  You are right! 

It has the incredible Dérive 1 and Dérive 2 !!!

Now where is my CD with Explosante-fixe!   :o
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MDL on October 02, 2011, 03:19:16 PM
Augh!  You are right! 

It has the incredible Dérive 1 and Dérive 2 !!!

Now where is my CD with Explosante-fixe!   :o

I've got a copy.

(http://www.classicalarchives.com/images/coverart/6/d/c/0/028944583328_300.jpg)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on October 02, 2011, 03:28:19 PM
I've got a copy.

(http://www.classicalarchives.com/images/coverart/6/d/c/0/028944583328_300.jpg)

That's the one!  My memory switched them around!    0:)

Both CD's are highly recommended!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MDL on October 02, 2011, 03:33:16 PM
That's the one!  My memory switched them around!    0:)

Both CD's are highly recommended!

True indeed! Sorry, I was a bit blunt earlier! Time for bed, methinks. This heatwave (and a fair amount of beer) is wearing me out.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on October 03, 2011, 06:02:46 AM
Perhaps Reynolds Wrap should use Pli selon pli as a Theme Song?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on December 25, 2011, 08:20:41 AM
Somewhere in this 3-CD set there is the Quatuor Parrenin's recording of Livre pour Quatuor. I believe it is the first time it appears on CD - and it is high time it would.

(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/BoulezLivre.jpg)

I'm pretty sure that's on 2-3 parts of it. The whole thing is on the Assai label, with the Quatuor Parisii. Great stuff!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on January 09, 2012, 07:48:53 AM
I have 2 live recordings & a video of Derivative II (based on studies he did for Repons, as was Derivative I - hence their titles) conducted by PB himself .. it's not much of an event. Like most Boulez I often prefer the original versions over his constant re-tooling of old works. Hopefully he'll knock out some new music and stop conducting and tinkering with old stuff ,, what a shame all the time & energy he has wasted doing this!

Slightly reminding me of George Lucas, of course with much different results! :'(
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on January 09, 2012, 11:14:06 AM
Agreed; I've found that Derive II's latest expansion is a but on the flaccid side. I thought the material was a little thin in the 20 minute version, and the 45 minute one is just routine to me--no match for a previous inflation of a small work like sur Incises. I'm hoping for better things in Anthemes III, if it ever surfaces.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: PaulSC on January 22, 2012, 02:09:53 PM
Anthèmes 3 has been talked about for a long time, I hope it involves electronics. Sur Incises is a brilliant composition, so is Répons & ...explosante-fixe... .. I recently got a file of Aimard playing PB's relatively new 2005 little piano ditty Une page d’éphéméride.

I'd like to hear that. I suppose in a few years we'll have Dix-huit pages d’éphéméride

Meanwhile, here's a release that caught my eye:



A recital disc by Hakon Austbo featuring music by Boulez, Carter, and (never heard of him) Asbjørn Schaathun.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Henk on January 22, 2012, 02:54:07 PM
http://www.youtube.com/v/JRfxlCHOoWk

Pianist Taka Kigawa performs Pierre Boulez's Second Sonata, in his sold-out recital at (le) Poisson Rouge, New York City in August 2011. The composer highly praised his playing of this music, as well as his Third Sonata, etc., as "very much impressed by the brilliant way he performed them. He was precise, and at the same time inventive."

Impressive indeed. I really don't know what to think of Boulez's music however. It's good, but does it also affect me? It's kind of abstract music, not very emotional. It's rather flat, as serial music is. It's theoretical.

I need to check out some Donatoni again. I think Donatoni's music is a sort of contender with Boulez's. But it sounds probably less serial to me. He has a much more developed style, a unique sound at least.

I listened also to Beat Furrer today. This is also this kind of rapid music, it seems to me he tries to develop something in this, but it left not much impression on me.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on January 22, 2012, 03:43:00 PM
Impressive indeed. I really don't know what to think of Boulez's music however. It's good, but does it also affect me? It's kind of abstract music, not very emotional. It's rather flat, as serial music is. It's theoretical.

I need to check out some Donatoni again. I think Donatoni's music is a sort of contender with Boulez's. But it sounds probably less serial to me. He has a much more developed style, a unique sound at least.

I listened also to Beat Furrer today. This is also this kind of rapid music, it seems to me he tries to develop something in this, but it left not much impression on me.

It is as theoretical as I-IV-II-V-I or a fugue. It is also quite emotional, and not flat at all; you are probably looking for points of reference that are too far removed to give you a sense of discourse or direction, but give it time, and the rewards are worth it. To my ears, Boulez's music, when compared to Donatoni's or Furrer's, stands out as exquisitely put together, with a delicate ear for timbre and sound. Anyway, good of you to at least try and be open about it.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Henk on January 22, 2012, 04:18:14 PM
It is as theoretical as I-IV-II-V-I or a fugue. It is also quite emotional, and not flat at all; you are probably looking for points of reference that are too far removed to give you a sense of discourse or direction, but give it time, and the rewards are worth it. To my ears, Boulez's music, when compared to Donatoni's or Furrer's, stands out as exquisitely put together, with a delicate ear for timbre and sound. Anyway, good of you to at least try and be open about it.

Yes I will try more, but where I really like a modern composer like Donatoni (I just listened to some Donatoni, and it's always nice to listen to his music, my feeling for his music gets better), Boulez surely makes much impression on me (where his fellow Carter does not), but as I said it doesn´t affect me much. I don´t feel a typical Boulez style or sound, it stays for me an example of what serial music sounds like. It may be brilliant music however, and I can reward it on it´s merits, but I would like to experience something more when I listen to music. Of course I may be wrong, but I think I formed my opinion on Boulez (I just confirmed my opinion by listening to a work of Boulez, Notations for piano).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on July 22, 2012, 05:43:54 AM
Interesting interview, from last year:

theartsdesk Q&A: Composer Pierre Boulez
Godfather of the avant-garde on how he changed music forever
http://www.theartsdesk.com/classical-music/godfather-avant-garde-how-he-changed-music-forever?page=0,0
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on September 13, 2012, 05:12:07 AM
New 3 disc release coming .. Pierre Boulez and the Piano

12 Notations (1945)
Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-3 (1946-57/63)
Incises (1994/2001)
Une page d’éphéméride (2005)

Dimitri Vassilakis, piano

Additionally, Mirjam Wiesemann talks with Pierre Boulez and Dimitri Vassilakis.



Yikes, 3cds! :o

I wanted to give a shout out for the Notations No.7 for orchestra, a very nice single movement that had a rolling 'joyousness' to it, a friendly Boulez piece I think! So, he's only done 1-4 & 7?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on September 13, 2012, 08:19:57 PM
Yup .. he's been working on these since the 1970s and that's all he's managed to get done, not even half of the cycle. At this rate maybe it will be complete when he's 117 years old. And this 3 disc set is an odd release .. essentially 1 disc and a bit of music, mostly old stuff .. and the rest is talk, talk and more talk (something he favours to composing it seems!) Though he's been fairly silent on the conducting scene for a few months now due to an eye condition; so perhaps he has been devoting most of his time and energies to composing finally. He's getting up there!

Notation 7 sounds nothing like the 2 minute piano piece. But I do like it better...

Ohhhh how I hate those "2 discs of talk" sets. I think Hartmann has one. Ugh, who wants thaaat?? Are they charging,... what? Oh, don't get me started,... I get a visceral reaction to dumb cd ideas. >:D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on September 14, 2012, 06:14:54 AM
Yes the Notations for Orchestra should be a fab cycle if he ever manages to complete it .. and like Stockhausen,
it illustrates in his own way .. how he can take an idea, and really do something with the material. I love that.


Have you heard Notation 7? I notice that Boulez prefers a 'rolling' sound, things tumbling as if in a dryer. I got a distinctly 'African' feel from this piece.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on November 30, 2012, 08:07:51 AM
Just curious .. anyone get this one? Seems hardly worth it for the price tag .. it basically contains 78 minutes of music and the rest of the 3 disc set is rounded out with interviews in German??!?!

Are you QUESTIONING the integrity of the High Council?!?! :o :o :o

oooo,... ve have vays, ve have vays...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 30, 2012, 08:14:44 AM
Dang, thought you were announcing an obit.

(j/k)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on November 30, 2012, 09:00:29 AM
New 3 disc release coming .. Pierre Boulez and the Piano

12 Notations (1945)
Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-3 (1946-57/63)
Incises (1994/2001)
Une page d’éphéméride (2005)

Dimitri Vassilakis, piano

Additionally, Mirjam Wiesemann talks with Pierre Boulez and Dimitri Vassilakis.



Ambitious project from a pianist I've known only from his jazz recordings.  He's good, but I had no idea he'd put out something like this.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on November 30, 2012, 09:17:39 AM
Ambitious project from a pianist I've known only from his jazz recordings.  He's good, but I had no idea he'd put out something like this.

Where has Dmitri Vassilakis, a veteran pianist for the Ensemble Intercontemporain and an expert on Stockhausen and Boulez, recorded jazz? Are you sure you're not thinking of Greek saxophonist Dimitrios Vassilakis or Greek jazz pianist Vassilis Tsabropolous?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on November 30, 2012, 09:25:18 AM
Where has Dmitri Vassilakis, a veteran pianist for the Ensemble Intercontemporain and an expert on Stockhausen and Boulez, recorded jazz? Are you sure you're not thinking of Greek saxophonist Dimitrios Vassilakis or Greek jazz pianist Vassilis Tsabropolous?

You're right - I was thinking of the Greek saxophonist, and felt there was something wrong about him playing piano.  Thanks for the correction.  I had just Googled him and found my error.  Very similar names, but not as confusing as the two Israeli musicians both named Avishai Cohen, one a bassist and the other a trumpeter.

 :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: PaulSC on November 30, 2012, 12:34:26 PM
Waiting for Godot
Metaphorically speaking, he's been doing this one for years, hasn't he?  ;D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 30, 2012, 12:43:56 PM
It has all the appearance of a hoax taking the piss out of Monsieur B ; )
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on November 30, 2012, 01:59:12 PM
Ambitious project from a pianist I've known only from his jazz recordings.  He's good, but I had no idea he'd put out something like this.
The company behind this seems to like doing 3-CD sets with more interviews than music. They did a Hartmann set with 85 minutes of music on 3 CDs too.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on December 01, 2012, 06:52:19 AM
It has all the appearance of a hoax taking the piss out of Monsieur B ; )

In fact it was not a joke, he said in an interview that he thought about it. But he will never do it really, that's sure.

On the Boulez front you can note that he recently revised parts of his "impossible to perform" Livres pour quatuor. It is played this month by the very good quatuor Diotima: http://bouffesdunord.com/fr/saison/500eb31858568/quatuor-diotima

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on December 01, 2012, 08:33:37 AM
He is still composing, too. Currently he is trying to finish Notations – 12 pieces for piano, some dating back to 1945, which he has been reworking for orchestra. He would also love to adapt Beckett's Waiting for Godot – but will he really tackle it? "If you can give me an elixir of long life," Boulez twinkles.


(from Pierre Boulez: A very modern maestro - August 31, 2012) (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,5453.msg655586.html#msg655586)

The odds are against him though, statistically, generally, understandably .. composers of such advanced age aren't as prolific Elliott Carter .. but maybe he'll surprise us with tidal wave of new works before the end. Stockhausen pumped out ca.20 compositions in his final year alone including such works as COSMIC PULSES, GLANZ & FÜNF WEITERE STERNZEICHEN. Boulez has been fairly silent this year, so you never know what he's been up to ..


Your German must be improving over the years, hmm?? ;) ;D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on January 17, 2013, 07:54:23 PM
A guide to Pierre Boulez's music
If you want one piece to convince you that the highest
achievements of contemporary music are the opposite of
desiccated, solipsistic experimentalism, listen to Boulez's
Notations

(http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Arts/Arts_/Pictures/2011/10/3/1317640967030/Pierre-Boulez--Ensemble-I-007.jpg)

Is THAT PB??? :o???

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/tomserviceblog/2012/jul/16/pierre-boulez-contemporary-music-guide

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 18, 2013, 05:16:28 AM
On the Left Bank, they call him the musical Dorian Gray . . . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MDL on January 18, 2013, 06:10:20 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LuuRiWXCL._SL500_.jpg)

Almost makes me wish I hadn't bought about three quarters of these CDs individually over the years. What a treasure trove for newbies. There are some fantastic performances in this box. I don't think the BBC Five Pieces for Orchestra or Variations have ever been bettered and (assuming it's included), I liked the performance of Erwartung more than many critics did on its release.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 18, 2013, 07:43:56 AM
Very cool. Though honestly I do not at all regret fetching the two prior Sony boxes, as I cannot think that their ample booklets are reproduced in this new iteration.  The music, which is the important thing, is absolutely magnificent, though.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on January 18, 2013, 08:03:32 AM
Very cool. Though honestly I do not at all regret fetching the two prior Sony boxes, as I cannot think that their ample booklets are reproduced in this new iteration.  The music, which is the important thing, is absolutely magnificent, though.

My sentiments, too.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MDL on January 18, 2013, 08:09:20 AM
Very cool. Though honestly I do not at all regret fetching the two prior Sony boxes, as I cannot think that their ample booklets are reproduced in this new iteration.  The music, which is the important thing, is absolutely magnificent, though.

True, the booklet notes are excellent for mid-price reissues. I picked up the complete Sony Stravinsky when it was reissued in a cheap,
no-frills box, but I can't bear to let go of the handful of individual issues I'd bought earlier; I want to keep the texts and notes.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on January 18, 2013, 08:32:25 AM
On the Left Bank, they call him the musical Dorian Gray . . . .

He looks like Kevorkian! :o
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 12, 2013, 06:40:30 AM
And the translation of that article is very nearly in English.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: John Copeland on February 12, 2013, 07:07:18 AM
Pierre Boulez wins BBVA contemporary music

The award is endowed with 400,000 euros and recognizes the long history of its various facets musician and as a creator and performer

Daniel Verdú
12 FEB 2013 - 12:37 CET
The directror and French composer Pierre Boulez has won this morning the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the category of Contemporary Music. The jury noted that it granted for "be not only a first-rate composer looking to the future with determination, but also a personality engaged in all aspects of the reflection and transmission of music." According to the jury, "the set of activities reveals his keen sense of intellectual and social responsibility as an artist in modern times.
"The prize, worth 400,000 euros, falls this year on one of the enfants terriblesde classical music. Boulez is in a current always claimed the proximity of science with art. This morning, upon being granted an award that also has its equivalent in other categories, has returned to remember. "Science and music are at the end of the two forms of thought and I've always been in favor of their union."
Asked about the acceptance of contemporary music by broad audiences, Boulez replied that should not stop providing contemporary music by the fact that there is a majority: "We have to expand the repertoire and not fear the public."
The jury also emphasized that Boulez "has contributed to the rapprochement between scientific research, composition and musical practice through the joint creation of the Institute for Research and Coordination Acoustic Music (IRCAM), and the Ensemble Intercontemporain, first stable ensemble contemporary music. "
(http://ep01.epimg.net/cultura/imagenes/2013/02/12/actualidad/1360669053_427970_1360669436_noticia_normal.jpg)


Aye.  Good for him.  I will only applaud if ever he decides he likes Tchaikovsky after all.   >:(
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 12, 2013, 08:35:38 AM
Aye.  Good for him.  I will only applaud if ever he decides he likes Tchaikovsky after all.   >:(

This won't happen. He doesn't think much about Shostakovich either. A shame because I think Boulez would be interesting in Symphony No. 15. :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on February 14, 2013, 04:30:32 AM
This won't happen. He doesn't think much about Shostakovich either. A shame because I think Boulez would be interesting in Symphony No. 15. :)

Given that Boulez tackled Bruckner's Eighth Symphony and all the Mahler symphonies and is not averse to early Schoenberg like the Gurrelieder, it is more than a shame: I find it odd.

And something I have wondered about: Boulez conducting the Prokofiev Second Symphony!   :o 8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on February 14, 2013, 11:16:34 AM
Given that Boulez tackled Bruckner's Eighth Symphony and all the Mahler symphonies and is not averse to early Schoenberg like the Gurrelieder, it is more than a shame: I find it odd.

It's not odd at all. Boulez has stated his dislike of Shostakovich, calling him a "second- or third-pressing of Mahler".

I'm not so enthusiastic at this news of Boulez's prize. The classical music blog On an Overgrown Path has noted how so many classical music cash prizes go to composers and performers who are already fêted millionaires, while younger and less financially secure figures are overlooked.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on February 14, 2013, 11:19:05 AM
I'm not so enthusiastic at this news of Boulez's prize. The classical music blog On an Overgrown Path has noted how so many classical music cash prizes go to composers and performers who are already fêted millionaires, while younger and less financially secure figures are overlooked.

Word. I love Boulez - both his works and his conducting - and wouldn't hesitate to place laurels on him any time. But that said, that kind of money given to someone else would make a real difference in his/her ability to work at an entirely different level.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on February 14, 2013, 11:39:50 AM
It's not odd at all. Boulez has stated his dislike of Shostakovich, calling him a "second- or third-pressing of Mahler".

I'm not so enthusiastic at this news of Boulez's prize. The classical music blog On an Overgrown Path has noted how so many classical music cash prizes go to composers and performers who are already fêted millionaires, while younger and less financially secure figures are overlooked.

Agree on the cash prize.

Regarding Shostakovich, discounting Boulez's overly harsh judgement, I too am not interested in Shostakovich's symphonies and will not bemoan Boulez's neglect of them.  It is the quartets that I listen to when I want to hear Shostakovich.  Despite the near unanimous opinion that he is one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, there is a quality in his music which grates on my senses, and which seems to be more evident in the symphonies.  It has to do how he handles (and what I perceive as an overuse of) the technique of sequence.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on February 14, 2013, 11:53:58 AM
..., it is more than a shame: I find it odd.

And something I have wondered about: Boulez conducting the Prokofiev Second Symphony!   :o 8)

I understand why people do not find it odd: certainly not every Shostakovich symphony is equal to Mahler or Bruckner or Hartmann (now there is a gap I really find odd!), but certainly e.g. the Tenth was good enough to interest that German character with the hair...oh right! HvK! :laugh:
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: TheGSMoeller on February 14, 2013, 12:04:31 PM
If Boulez were to give any attention to DSCH's symphonies, he certainly would focus on the two most flourishing and unique, No. 14 and No. 15.  :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on March 01, 2013, 03:39:06 PM
Deutsche Grammophon
Pierre Boulez
Oeuvres Completes - Complete Works
13 CDs
Int. Release 16 Apr. 2013


Nice. Hopefully this will bring Gianluca Cascioli's recording of the 1994 version of Incises back into print. But I wonder what else will be in the set, as if DG were reissuing just the Boulez volumes in the 20/21 series, it wouldn't extend to 13 CDs. Perhaps they really reached into their archives for this.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: lescamil on March 01, 2013, 03:50:04 PM
Nice. Hopefully this will bring Gianluca Cascioli's recording of the 1994 version of Incises back into print.

Doubtful, since the piece was revised in 2001. I don't know if Boulez would like older versions of his pieces being out back out there.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on March 01, 2013, 04:03:30 PM
Doubtful, since the piece was revised in 2001. I don't know if Boulez would like older versions of his pieces being out back out there.

No, the 1994 version of Incises is still available for performance. (David Fray chose to record it several years ago, instead of the 2001 version, for example). DG has never released yet a recording of the 2001 version, so I'd be surprised to find it in this box set which may be mostly reissues.

If this were a real "complete works" set with fresh recordings of late works, it would have to include Une page d'éphéméride. Vassilakis has just recorded that for Cybele, so if it were in this set I imagine it would be recorded by Hideki Nagano if the label is going with Boulez's trusted EIC musicians. Of course, this is all speculation.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Octave on March 02, 2013, 11:15:55 PM
Deutsche Grammophon
Pierre Boulez
Oeuvres Completes - Complete Works
13 CDs
Int. Release 16 Apr. 2013


Presto's product page shows some pieces that (it seems) will be newly published in this set.  Certainly not a complete listing of the set's contents, yet.
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/DG/4806828 (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/DG/4806828)

Here's what it says at the moment (I can only find a mention of the set on DG's site, but no product page or contents yet), with more details perhaps forthcoming:

Quote
Improvisé - pour le Dr Kalmus pour piano et quatre instruments
Recording 2012. New recording made for the edition (world-première)
Solistes de l'Ensemble Intercontemporain

Une page d'éphéméride
Recording 2012. New recording made for the edition (world-première)
Hidéki Nagano (piano)

Dérive II
Live recording 2010. Previously unpublished recording.
Ensemble Intercontemporain, Pierre Boulez

Notations I-IV
Live recording 2007. Previously unpublished recording.
Ensemble Modern Orchestra, Pierre Boulez

Notations VII
Live recording 2007. Previously unpublished recording.
Ensemble Modern Orchestra, Pierre Boulez

Livre pour cordes
Live recording 1992, previously published on VHS (DG 0721443)
Orchestre Philharmonique de Vienne, Pierre Boulez

The complete works of one of the greatest contemporary composers have been brought together for the first time in a 13-CD set.

This edition has been completely carried out under the composer's supervision, including the choice of recordings, and features world-class performances by Pierre-Laurent Aimard, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez, Maurizio Pollini, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Christine Schäfer and others.

This set features new recordings made especially for this edition, works previously unreleased on CD, and an exclusive interview with the composer.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on March 03, 2013, 10:38:01 PM
Is anyone else starting to chub? :P
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on March 07, 2013, 01:30:17 PM
DG has this listing up (http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/us/cat/single?sort=newest_rec&PRODUCT_NR=4806828&SearchString=Boulez+Complete+Works&UNBUYABLE=1&per_page=50&flow_per_page=50&presentation=flow) .. disappointing, it's just a hodge-podge of stuff brought together from various labels .. 98% of which I have already have, including the odd really, really old recordings incl. in this box .. and not listing ...explosante-fixe... has to be a mistake.



No trace of the Livre pour cordes by the Wiener Philharmoniker or the Notations I-IV and VII  mentioned on Presto Classical
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on March 07, 2013, 10:06:19 PM
DG has this listing up (http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/us/cat/single?sort=newest_rec&PRODUCT_NR=4806828&SearchString=Boulez+Complete+Works&UNBUYABLE=1&per_page=50&flow_per_page=50&presentation=flow) .. disappointing, it's just a hodge-podge of stuff brought together from various labels .. 98% of which I have already have, including the odd really, really old recordings incl. in this box .. and not listing ...explosante-fixe... has to be a mistake.

(http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/imgs/s300x300/4806828.jpg)

"Ehh, this is Pierre Boulez. Fuck you. You can suck on my Shitty Box Set!"


Oh MY! :o How rude those French can be! :o


Yea, I just went limp. I just didn't care for the forced line-up. DG is the new Brilliant! Who knew? Who knew that the 'Complete Boulez Edition' would elicit cud chewing? This is one of those attempted soul rapes they're trying to foist on us here. I say we respond by a COMPLETE BOYCOTT!

It just smells cheap. It's like the DG logo is just a clearing house symbol. I'm just done with the 'culling' phase of our current Musico-IndusdrialCompleze. I'm imagining DG executives snorting coke off their desks: if they don't want ... frankly, I just want to know how complicit Boulez was in this.

Fra... ok, let me take a deep breath......        ............        ............    ok, I will reserve judgment until I feel the WEIGHT of the actual thing! That's how you can tell true quality. :blank:


LAMENESS RULES THE DARK SIDE
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Octave on March 07, 2013, 10:25:08 PM
Thanks for that heads up, James; I agree that would seem to be a disappointment.  Notice that as of this moment discs 7 and 8 have not been listed at all, similar to the omissions in the listings for the big Abbado box (which listings have now apparently been added).  I only glanced over the contents, but based on the running times of some of these discs, quite a bit more material could have been added. 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 08, 2013, 04:07:03 AM
. . . Notice that as of this moment discs 7 and 8 have not been listed at all . . . . 

Works-in-progress
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on March 08, 2013, 07:51:54 AM

They have incl. 7 & 8 now .. hodge-podge of erato/warner, sony & dg .. plus the live recording of Notations from 2007 .. I still don't see Livre pour Cordes for string orchestra or the recently 2012 expanded/revised SQ version.

CD 7: Pierre Boulez: Oeuvres complètes
Cummings ist der Dichter
Rituel in memoriam Bruno Maderna
Messagequisse
Notations
Memoriale ( explosante fixe . Originel)

CD 8: Pierre Boulez: Oeuvres complètes
... explosante-fixe ...
Anthèmes 2


Ick, it's all the cds we already have, all jumbled up. Oh, thanks, I needed someone to re-Track all the cds so I could have....

aaaAAAARRrRrgGgghHHHHH >:D stupid stupid
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on March 08, 2013, 08:13:01 AM
Has Improvisé pour le Dr Kalmus been released before? That’s the only Boulez piece that I have not heard. I’m pretty disappointed by this box set now, and own almost all of it. If I could just get Improvisé somewhere, I’d be happy.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on March 10, 2013, 07:28:10 AM
Yea, I just need to hate on this Box a little more. I'm actually having black fantasies that it's going to be light and flimsy, with crappy notes. A Box HAS to have the impression of heft. Still, 13 cds, must weigh something, haha!

But it's just the mish-mashiness of it. I would just rather have what we already have. Boulez is Dead.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on March 10, 2013, 07:29:17 AM
I WOULD start an RIP BOULEZ Thread, but I'm not feeling all that provocative this morning.

But I would
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on March 17, 2013, 08:03:17 AM
LOVE TO HATE BOULEZ.COM

So I pulled out the old Sony recording of Ritual, In Memoriam Bruno Maderna. My first thought is, what an odd duck of a piece. Perhaps it sounds like an atheist Chronochromie? Anyhow, of course it's an odd, clangorous, lyrical, very deliberate and ritualistic sounding, as only Boulez could sound ritualistic.

My main point is that I was like, WHERE'S the awesome DG recording of this, or the other pieces on the disc, or PFD? As I was listening to the wonderful, yet old, recording, I could only imagine what it would sound like in a full modern spectacular. That Boulez never saw fit to revisit this piece makes me feel even less about the Box. The percussion should have been chosen over a five year period (not that the Sony is bad in any way,... I can just hear a 'dream' version in my head).

Eclat, also, is a very crystalline work that could have benfitted from an awesome DG exercise. It was so short I practically missed it, and didn't make it into Multiples.

Anyhow, I HAVE been enjoying a Boulez retrospective, now that it seems we have what we have.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on March 17, 2013, 08:56:45 AM
So I pulled out the old Sony recording of Ritual, In Memoriam Bruno Maderna. My first thought is, what an odd duck of a piece. Perhaps it sounds like an atheist Chronochromie? Anyhow, of course it's an odd, clangorous, lyrical, very deliberate and ritualistic sounding, as only Boulez could sound ritualistic. My main point is that I was like, WHERE'S the awesome DG recording of this, or the other pieces on the disc, or PFD?

David Robertson conducted Rituel on a Naïve disc a decade or so ago (along with the Notations for orchestra and Figures-Doubles-Prismes). He seems to have been coached by Boulez in making the recording. I think that's the best we’ll ever get.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on May 25, 2013, 08:24:04 AM
Pli Selon Pli

I know I'm raggin' on Boulez a lot, but I pulled out 'Pli selon pli' (Erato), and, wow, it's such a wonderfully desolate score, huge and ritualistic, with a manner of plucked mandolins (I'm assuming) and such. It almost has the feel of a very 'neat' Xenakis score from the '60s, feeling ancient and modern at the same time. The feeling of being in a vast, overgrown ruin is palpable to this listener.

Whenever I start getting down on Boulez, I need to go for his 'early' works, haha!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 25, 2013, 09:47:50 AM
Pli selon pli is wonderful. Hm, I need to give that another spin soon . . . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on May 26, 2013, 10:28:15 AM
Saw Boulez was in the recent BBC film The Sound and the Fury: A Century of Modern Music (2013) and he wears dark shades throughout .. but you can see enough through them to notice that his eyes are suffering bad. I wondered if he's able to see at all.
One can hope that this was filmed shortly after he had eye surgery last year & that this is the major reason.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on June 04, 2013, 08:28:45 AM
One can hope that this was filmed shortly after he had eye surgery last year & that this is the major reason.

He looks quite healthy for an 88 years old man on this recent picture: https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/971568_10151643349560857_1557207331_n.jpg
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Parsifal on June 30, 2013, 07:30:47 AM

Here's a rare recording of Boulez works not conducted by Boulez.



So far have listened to Memoriale (for solo flute and 8 instruments) and Derive I.  Memoriale, in particular, made a very strong impression.  A sequence of disjointed melodic fragments from flute with accompaniment by the rest of the ensemble which ranges from murmuring, the chattering, to caterwauling.  Fascinating.  Derive I was also interesting, but less vivid.  Going on the Derive II.

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Parsifal on July 10, 2013, 11:06:42 AM
Listened to the flute and piano sonata, and Piano Sonata No 1 from this disc.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41X%2BXiXnzKL._SX300_.jpg)
Wonderfully engaging music.  I am tending to agree with the now departed Philo that the piano music is the best of Boulez.

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on July 20, 2013, 06:20:33 AM
Here's a recent interview (in French) where he says he finally decided to place his composition work before his conducting work, but he adds "Cela est arrivé un peu tard, certes' (it's a little bit late).

He's working on Notation VIII...

At ther end he says that he's absolutely not optimistic about the place of classical music in society nowadays, even in Germany...


http://brunoserrou.blogspot.be/2013/06/entretien-avec-pierre-boulez-le-coffret.html
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 20, 2013, 07:12:18 AM
The creators of classical music must now pursue their passion without the luxury of optimism. Pierre should count his numerous circumstantial blessings.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on August 15, 2013, 05:23:54 PM
The creators of classical music must now pursue their passion without the luxury of optimism. Pierre should count his numerous circumstantial blessings.

And Soon the Purges!!

The NSA Opera!

Perhaps soon we too will have the opportunity to...

...nevermind ::)... sleepy..
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: 7/4 on August 28, 2013, 03:48:37 PM
Pierre Boulez Breaks His Shoulder, Cancels in Lucerne
August, 2013
WQXR Staff

The conductor Pierre Boulez has cancelled concerts on Sept. 7 and 9
at the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland as the result of a broken
shoulder. A festival spokesman declined to say how the injury
occurred, or for how long he will be sidelined.

Get well soon!

At 88!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on October 08, 2013, 05:53:07 AM
A new pieno work by Boulez has just been premiered in Strasbourg. It's called "Esquisse d'une ébauche" and it lasts... 30 seconds... 

 http://lafleurdudimanche.blogspot.be/2013/09/musica-des-participants-de-marque.html
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on October 08, 2013, 06:59:38 AM
Perhaps a 'seed' for a larger work down the road? Nah, pipe dreams at Boulez's rate of creativity. Sad & frustrating there has been so little, for so long. Still no Anthèmes III etc., etc.
I saw some reference to Anthèmes III in an interview a few months back in which he said (paraphrasing from memory) "it's probably too late now."

Which is a very sad thing to hear someone say... sometimes I get the impression that behind the often aggressive exterior is a man almost intellectually crippled by perfectionism and lack of self-belief (it's now nearly 60 years since Marteau and since then almost every major work has been repeatedly revised or left incomplete).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 08, 2013, 09:31:55 AM
You don't get extra points for being "anguished," still less when so much is handed you on a platter. Viz. conducting, well, that was his own choice, wasn't it? He was always more energetic as a propagandist than as a creator.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on October 08, 2013, 09:46:39 AM
You don't get extra points for being "anguished," still less when so much is handed you on a platter. Viz. conducting, well, that was his own choice, wasn't it? He was always more energetic as a propagandist than as a creator.

In a film about Boulez (I forget which one) he talks a bit about this choice.  He said, if IIRC, that since composing, per se, does not really pay until you begin to have commissions, the career choices for composers generally fall down to two: teacher or performer/conductor.  Since he did not have much interest in obtaining an academic position, that left conducting.  Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I do think he considers himself a composer first - but his conducting career took off, and much like Bernstein - chose to not turn down a lucrative post(s) when offered.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on October 08, 2013, 08:12:29 PM
I don't think any of us are in the position to judge what Boulez has done with his dual career as a composer and conductor. Notice how I put composer before conductor. While he has mentioned many, many times how fortunate he was to continue to be able to conduct, he is still first and foremost a composer. It doesn't matter really if he's composed 15 works. What matters is the quality of the music and not the quantity. Look at Dutilleux. He didn't exactly churn out the music did he? Who really cares in the end? If the music touches us, we should be grateful that this composer has even taken the time to write at all.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 09, 2013, 01:46:57 AM
In a film about Boulez (I forget which one) he talks a bit about this choice.  He said, if IIRC, that since composing, per se, does not really pay until you begin to have commissions, the career choices for composers generally fall down to two: teacher or performer/conductor.  Since he did not have much interest in obtaining an academic position, that left conducting.  Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I do think he considers himself a composer first - but his conducting career took off, and much like Bernstein - chose to not turn down a lucrative post(s) when offered.

Aye, all that is plain sense.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on October 09, 2013, 06:29:05 AM
We realize that. And you forgot founder/director of musical institutions. Anyhow .. some of us who have been following his entire career closely for a long, long time (or since the beginning) CARE .. and are always eager for more from this artist - that's all. Understand?

I didn't forget anything, James. Making a mountain out of a molehill again I see. ::)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 09, 2013, 06:29:56 AM
Portraits in Sycophancy  $:)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Octave on October 10, 2013, 10:20:33 PM
I haven't seen this disc mentioned in the thread; does anyone have an opinion on it, esp. relative to the other performances (notably Jumppanen, Pollini, Biret, etc)?


Boulez: NOTATIONS AND PIANO SONATAS [Pi-Hsien Chen] (hatART, 2011)

I became interested in her Boulez after running across mention of this OOP Telos disc with her (older?) recordings of the Douze notations and the Third Sonata, plus an enticing effort at the craggy Barraque sonata.  Unfortunately this disc is rather expensive now.  [Edit: the back cover the of the hatART mentions that Douze notations were recorded in 1997, so maybe that recording overlaps from the Telos release; the three hatART Sonatas were recorded 2002/4.]

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on October 28, 2013, 03:32:39 PM
Anyone familiar with how Universal Edition has locked down the rights for Boulez’s works? I’m curious if, once the maestro is no longer among us, musicians will be free to perform earlier versions of works (namely earlier versions of Pli selon pli, which I think has been expanded too far). While the various expansions might be Boulez's last word on the subject, I’d hate to think that they will forever be the only versions open for performance.

David Fray got to record the original 1994 version of Incises instead of the 2001 expansion, so that is a hopeful sign.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on November 16, 2013, 11:11:41 PM
"Fragment d'une ébauche", Strasbourg, France september 2013, World Premeire, 24 seconds. Wilhelm Latchoumia, piano :

http://la-feuille-de-chou.fr/archives/56938
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: lescamil on November 16, 2013, 11:54:35 PM
"Fragment d'une ébauche", Strasbourg, France september 2013, World Premeire, 24 seconds. Wilhelm Latchoumia, piano :

http://la-feuille-de-chou.fr/archives/56938

Sounds a lot like Incises, his solo piano work that was expanded to Sur Incises. One wonders how he is coming along with his other music he is writing/revising, especially with his health seemingly a constant problem in his advanced age.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on November 16, 2013, 11:59:16 PM
Yeah, very similar indeed to Incises. Too similar, really, almost like an extract of the earlier work with the exact same material (I'll have to get ahold of the score to this new work).

I finally gave Une page d'éphéméride a listen. I was very surprised how un-Boulezian it feels. It could have been written by Messiaen or Dutilleux.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mr Bloom on November 17, 2013, 03:42:27 PM
Hu, this is from 2010, and this was a supposition from Machart, who isn't really reliable.
Is there anything new on the subject ?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 23, 2013, 07:25:16 AM
In 1952 Boulez met a man who possessed a comparable amount of genius, arrogance, and ambition -- Karlheinz Stockhausen.

For crying out loud, does every post you make have anything to do with any other composer besides Stockhausen? This is the Boulez thread, not the Stockhausen thread, James.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 23, 2013, 06:43:33 PM
Yea .. and the post is clearly about Boulez.

I guess you can't read either. ::)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 22, 2013, 10:01:11 AM
The beauty of copy-and-paste.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on December 22, 2013, 09:52:45 PM
Is now Boulez the last survivor?

Oh how the Mighty High Modernists have fallen.

The public would never have their music. Boulez is like the Obama of music?, forcing unpalatability as breakfast lunch, and dinner! Which of these Composers was NOT a scoffer of God Almighty? And then there was one...

My question is, Is the ethos of High Modernism- that feeling around 1969-71 that anything was possible- the electricity is the air- is it here now, or did it die around 1993 at the latest?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 23, 2013, 05:07:57 AM
Is now Boulez the last survivor?

You're just nervous about the new Wuorinen opera, aren't you?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on December 23, 2013, 08:21:00 PM
Based on what I'm hearing, it doesn't seem likely IMO. Stuff I'm hearing being created these days (which isn't a lot mind you) is a mixture or derivative what has already been done .. However, there is more 'electricity' surrounding the works of the BIG post-war figures; the stuff is getting more and more attention as the generations turnover. Ligeti does well. Stockhausen's work is flourishing (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,3533.msg727024.html#msg727024). The Yearlong Rest is Noise Festival was a resounding success (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,21001.msg761143.html#msg761143) - esp. the post-war "avant-garde" concerts. Boulez works performed during televised PROM series alongside Beethoven to record numbers. (http://www.theguardian.com/music/tomserviceblog/2012/jul/26/beethoven-boulez-barenboim-proms) New recordings being issued & re-issued, growing internet activity .. all of this (and more) keep those flames burning. Have all of the major musical statements to posterity been made? In a way, being someone who is set in their musical ways for some time now .. I sort-of view JS Bach as the beginning and Stockhausen the end or a great, great run. Those posts and all the best in-between could keep us occupied indefinitely. Though I can easily imagine electronics & technology being the future more & more (even more than now!). The up & comers don't really have time on their side at this point, and it is much more difficult these days with all that history behind them, and the fact that music has to compete with so much these days, things are so fragmented, diverse .. a grand recontextualization is in order?

Huh,... you almost sound as thoughtful as me!?!?! ;)

1) Yes, whilst Boulez breathes, you're right, just about all of his generation are really being revered as probably the greatest generation ever. Ligeti seems to have gotten the TeenBeat Award for "uh Dude, I Remember that from'2001'" PopPsych quotient. Frankly, Boulez & co. DID set themselves up for a great posterity- they mourished this whole new generation of conductors and ensembles which seem to have made it their lives' work to diseminate (I can't spell any word right with semen in it, ack!!) the masters' Woirks (just get on with it for the Xenakis Edition and be done with it already!!!- he seems to be the Fogerty of the bunch, haha)... anyhow, you get points for making it through that last sentence,  ???

2) The Future of Music: with computer music, they can probably woosh more information passed you ear than your brain can decipher, nano-speed stasis, that I think music will again (Joshua) be used as a weapon.

Music was never supposed to take the place of God.

3) The Age of Genius is Now Passed? What use is it when it couldn't achieve World Peace when it was poised to do so (or so it thought)?


I just wonder if Boulez is seeing his generation's Vision dying before his eyes? At least what I've gathered from some of these masters, they ended up a bitter bitter hellfruit basket. I mean, there ARE storires!! I'll give you, Stockhausen seems the more content among them, but, I mean, he really did write the Devils' Music, so, mm,...???!!!???!!! There are stories of Xenakis being 'disillusioned'. Were they all just a bunch of commie utopian bastards bent on universal healthcare....aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh.... ok, I feel better now! :laugh:


My experience is that I don't personally like the people who love this High Modernism like we do. I DO like to think... well, mm, maybe not- that we could somewhat sit in a room and chat GMG without the Hegelian Dialectic happening. Maybe that's why there's a fForum? Why is this that I probably would loathe the company of these masters whose music I have (GROWN) to love?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on December 24, 2013, 07:23:19 AM
;D

Seriously .. he & the others devoted everything to music, & the great complexity, uniqueness (& beauty) found in a lot of the works (documented, preserved, built to last) will ensure continued future interest & study for centuries to come. And its never easy staying true to yourself, not succumbing to pressures, it takes an iron will. Artists in particular who bare all & stay true, are ridiculed and subject to criticism and scrutiny constantly & publicly .. so doubts and insecurities will set in.

Let's hope so. Have you seen "Idiocracy"?

 I see your point though.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 24, 2013, 07:56:25 AM
Seriously .. he & the others devoted everything to music, & the great complexity, uniqueness (& beauty) found in a lot of the works (documented, preserved, built to last) will ensure continued future interest & study for centuries to come. And its never easy staying true to yourself, not succumbing to pressures, it takes an iron will. Artists in particular who bare all & stay true, are ridiculed and subject to criticism and scrutiny constantly & publicly .. so doubts and insecurities will set in.

On the face of it, all that is true. That said, I don't feel comfortable, lauding Boulez as A Great Man, for these things which are my own daily bread.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on December 24, 2013, 04:42:06 PM
Love him or hate him, one cannot deny that he is very accomplished & disciplined. A fine example of a human being in many ways imo.
Well at least he has grown, but I can't say he has been such a fine human being in his younger days. Extraordinary musician, though.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 25, 2013, 06:37:08 AM
There are so many options other than "love him or hate him";  that's just fan-boy jabber.

"A fine example of a human being"?  Well, considering the source of the remark . . . . ;)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on December 25, 2013, 03:40:32 PM
And some fans are neither.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 25, 2013, 04:00:24 PM
And this is what I was speaking to, a man on the chosen path, achieving, realizing ambitions, staying true, very accomplished etc.; our friend karl can only dream.

Karl Henning has more talent in his pinky than you have in your entire body. That's why he's a composer and you're not. You sound like a complete fool, James.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 25, 2013, 04:15:34 PM
The comparison was to Boulez obviously, not me.

I know, but what I'm saying is you're a fool for even trying to compare Boulez and Henning. Boulez is a gifted musician, no question about it, but so is Karl, but to make Boulez's accomplishments seem like they're much greater is purely moronic on your part, James. My understanding is that Karl is trying his hardest to promote his music, but, unfortunately, he also has to work for a living, too. Something Boulez may have an understanding of but hasn't really had to do other than to be conductor, which would be like the greatest job in the world. So, like I said, you can't compare the two, but one thing is for sure, you're the copy-and-paste whiz, so you definitely have mastered that skill. I tremble in your presence oh exulted one.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 25, 2013, 04:32:37 PM
:)

Well, put it this way .. Boulez made very good with his time and was highly successful and accomplished on many fronts;
but who knows, our friend karl still has time on his side, at least.


Again, you're comparing two people that can't be compared. I can't speak for Karl, obviously, but I've spoken with Carl Vine on FB and he's said as long as he's composing, he's happy. Composers, like writers, must unburden themselves with what they're hearing in their minds and the fact that Karl has the ability to do this and put his thoughts to paper is nothing short than astounding. It's one thing not to like someone's music, which I dislike Boulez's, but it's another thing entirely to compare two different composers' accomplishments which you have so idiotically done.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on February 14, 2014, 01:23:08 AM
On February 25th, at 8:00 pm Central European Time, the Cité de la Musique in Paris, is offering this interesting concert:

Présences 2014 Paris / Berlin

Jörg Widmann
     Armonica
Johannes Boris Borowski     
     Change
Pierre Boulez     
    Le visage nuptial

Chœur de femmes de Radio France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Pascal Rophé, conductor
Laura Aikin (soprano), Hilary Summers (contralto), Christa Schoenfeldinger (glass harmonica).

The concert will be streamed live by www.citedelamusiquelive.tv and www.medici.tv .

This is a rare opportunity to listen to Boulez's early, extremely lyrical cantata on René Char's poems.  :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 14, 2014, 03:29:18 AM
Cool!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on February 14, 2014, 01:53:06 PM
A fine human being? Not as I recall. And a deadly dull composer. But what a conductor!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on February 14, 2014, 10:42:32 PM
A fine human being? Not as I recall.

While Boulez is infamous for some gadfly remarks, most made many decades ago, much classical music gossip since the 1970s has emphasized how charming and polite he is in person, in spite of the fearsome image. And then there are the composers who express their gratitude for the institutional support he obtained for them. A complex character, but certainly one that has his admirers.

Quote
And a deadly dull composer.

Considering that this thread is about Boulez as a composer, what's the point of coming here just to post a content-free negative opinion like that?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 15, 2014, 05:20:07 AM
While Boulez is infamous for some gadfly remarks, most made many decades ago, much classical music gossip since the 1970s has emphasized how charming and polite he is in person, in spite of the fearsome image.

You mean he put on that turd-in-the-punchbowl act just for notoriety and publicity, to make a name for himself?  Which suggests that he's just a tawdry opportunist?  I am shocked, shocked, shocked, I tell you . . . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on February 15, 2014, 07:38:09 AM
Again, you're comparing two people that can't be compared. I can't speak for Karl, obviously, but I've spoken with Carl Vine on FB and he's said as long as he's composing, he's happy. Composers, like writers, must unburden themselves with what they're hearing in their minds and the fact that Karl has the ability to do this and put his thoughts to paper is nothing short than astounding.

Karl Henning composing away in New England reminds one of that other Yankee, whose music was practically unknown and rarely played for a long time: how would people have judged Charles Ives at age 50?

A very good insurance man probably!   ;)   And probably because of his heart attack in his mid-40's, somehow the composing ability faded.  Thank heavens Karl is still producing assorted gems on a regular basis!

On Boulez being rather prickly, how unpleasant were certain other composers known to be?   Lully, Beethoven, Wagner, Bernard Herrmann, etc. ?   

And how about anger-management-challenged Carlo Gesualdo?   :o
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on February 15, 2014, 09:31:10 AM

Considering that this thread is about Boulez as a composer, what's the point of coming here just to post a content-free negative opinion like that?

I could ask, considering how dull a composer he is what's the point of having a thread about him? But it appears I need to ask your permission first so I won't.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on February 15, 2014, 10:06:03 AM
I could ask, considering how dull a composer he is what's the point of having a thread about him?

Has it not occurred to you that people's musical tastes differ, and that not everyone finds Boulez "dull" like you? How autistic does one have to be to come to a place where fans are discussing something they enjoy and suggest that it has no value to anyone?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on February 15, 2014, 10:19:08 AM
Has it not occurred to you that people's musical tastes differ, and that not everyone finds Boulez "dull" like you? How autistic does one have to be to come to a place where fans are discussing something they enjoy and suggest that it has no value to anyone?

Well sir I did no such thing. I expressed an opinion and I did it without attacking anyone. I expect you find odd. But mostly I was reacting to the claim he was a great human being. Compared to Ted Bundy? Sure. By normal standards? No.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on February 15, 2014, 11:46:23 AM
You mean he put on that turd-in-the-punchbowl act just for notoriety and publicity, to make a name for himself?  Which suggests that he's just a tawdry opportunist?  I am shocked, shocked, shocked, I tell you . . . .
I rather suspect it's also to do with the hyper-masculine environment of the early Darmstadt years. Boulez, Stockhausen and Nono were all playing alpha male, determined to lay down the direction of  new music and steamrollering any opposition in their way. As they grew older and (one hopes) wiser, this kind of competitive behaviour seemed to recede into the background (as did Boulez's compositional career).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Pessoa on February 15, 2014, 01:13:54 PM
Are there alpha males in Urantia? If so, how do they compare to ours?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on February 15, 2014, 01:35:53 PM
I rather suspect it's also to do with the hyper-masculine environment of the early Darmstadt years. Boulez, Stockhausen and Nono were all playing alpha male, determined to lay down the direction of  new music and steamrollering any opposition in their way. As they grew older and (one hopes) wiser, this kind of competitive behaviour seemed to recede into the background (as did Boulez's compositional career).

They'd have been better served trying to influence the music of the future the way Debussy did it: by writing good music. Boringly conventional I know.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Pessoa on February 15, 2014, 01:51:43 PM
For me, Le marteau sans maitre is pretty good. So is Gruppen.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on February 15, 2014, 01:53:22 PM
Has it not occurred to you that people's musical tastes differ, and that not everyone finds Boulez "dull" like you? How autistic does one have to be to come to a place where fans are discussing something they enjoy and suggest that it has no value to anyone?


In general, when one finds a topic marked "Pierre Boulez," the assumption is that people who like the music of that composer will be the ones writing about it.

To be sure, one could write e.g. "I find your interest in the music of Boulez odd, because I find it deadly dull.  What specifically do you hear in it that so fascinates you?  Maybe I am missing something."

Then if, after reading any advice on what to listen for, and making another attempt at a work or two, one still finds it deadly dull, then one can write: "Well, thanks for explaining.  I still don't hear anything in it for me."

And then migrate toward a composer for whom one has an affinity.  0:)

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on February 15, 2014, 02:07:42 PM
It is frankly hilarious on a thread about a man who dismissed almost all the music and composers of his lifetime as "useless" to hear complaints that some call his music dull.
Anyway folks my interest was in the absurd claim he was an admirable guy.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 15, 2014, 02:35:41 PM

In general, when one finds a topic marked "Pierre Boulez," the assumption is that people who like the music of that composer will be the ones writing about it.

He has every right to express himself critically about any composer he wishes. Discussions about a composer should not be limited to cheerleading, and we don't need the kind of defensiveness that erupts when the merits of sacred cows like Havergal Brian and Joly Braga Santos are questioned. I myself am partial to much of Boulez's work, but there is some justification to Stravinsky's claim that Pli selon pli can be "pretty monotonous and monotonously pretty."
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Pessoa on February 15, 2014, 02:49:11 PM
He has every right to express himself critically about any composer he wishes. Discussions about a composer should not be limited to cheerleading,

Agreed.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: amw on February 15, 2014, 03:26:48 PM
I rather suspect it's also to do with the hyper-masculine environment of the early Darmstadt years. Boulez, Stockhausen and Nono were all playing alpha male, determined to lay down the direction of  new music and steamrollering any opposition in their way. As they grew older and (one hopes) wiser, this kind of competitive behaviour seemed to recede into the background (as did Boulez's compositional career).
I should hope this kind of macho posturing should be familiar to anyone who participates on GMG, particularly considering how many of you are engaging in it right now. :)

Boulez's music has always seemed somewhat cold and undifferentiated to me, but lately I've been enjoying the 2nd piano sonata more than I used to. It's almost like a Schubert or Mendelssohn to Barraqué's Beethoven (... almost).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 15, 2014, 04:01:11 PM
For me, Le marteau sans maitre is pretty good. So is Gruppen.

I trust you're aware that Gruppen is by Stockhausen.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Pessoa on February 15, 2014, 04:12:48 PM
I trust you're aware that Gruppen is by Stockhausen.
Boulez and Stockhausen were both mentioned as two alpha-males who´d better try to influence the world by writing good music.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on February 15, 2014, 06:46:36 PM
He has every right to express himself critically about any composer he wishes. Discussions about a composer should not be limited to cheerleading, and we don't need the kind of defensiveness that erupts when the merits of sacred cows like Havergal Brian and Joly Braga Santos are questioned. I myself am partial to much of Boulez's work, but there is some justification to Stravinsky's claim that Pli selon pli can be "pretty monotonous and monotonously pretty."

Nobody said anything different.  A person who dislikes a composer is free to explain his dislike of the composer in all sorts of ways: not all ways are equal however.

e.g. I recently explained why I thought a specific part of Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream Overture was weak. 

By explaining one's dislike with specific examples, the discourse is raised to a higher level.

But everyone can feel free not to do that!   0:)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on February 15, 2014, 06:57:56 PM
https://www.youtube.com/v/nu1u5uBe9So

Dérive I (1984)

The Ensemble Intercontemporain
Pierre Boulez, cond.

Pierre Boulez wrote Dérive in 1984. It is a six-minute chamber work for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, vibraphone, and piano which was spun out of sketches for a larger work from 1981, entitled Répons.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on February 15, 2014, 07:00:24 PM
https://www.youtube.com/v/nu1u5uBe9So

Dérive I (1984)

The Ensemble Intercontemporain
Pierre Boulez, cond.

Pierre Boulez wrote Dérive in 1984. It is a six-minute chamber work for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, vibraphone, and piano which was spun out of sketches for a larger work from 1981, entitled Répons.

 Many thanks for this example!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 15, 2014, 07:08:33 PM
I rather suspect it's also to do with the hyper-masculine environment of the early Darmstadt years. Boulez, Stockhausen and Nono were all playing alpha male, determined to lay down the direction of  new music and steamrollering any opposition in their way. As they grew older and (one hopes) wiser, this kind of competitive behaviour seemed to recede into the background (as did Boulez's compositional career).

Very sensible evaluation.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 15, 2014, 07:08:59 PM
For me, Le marteau sans maitre is pretty good. So is Gruppen.

Agreed.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 15, 2014, 08:27:32 PM
Karl Henning composing away in New England reminds one of that other Yankee, whose music was practically unknown and rarely played for a long time: how would people have judged Charles Ives at age 50?

A very good insurance man probably!   ;)   And probably because of his heart attack in his mid-40's, somehow the composing ability faded.  Thank heavens Karl is still producing assorted gems on a regular basis!

On Boulez being rather prickly, how unpleasant were certain other composers known to be?   Lully, Beethoven, Wagner, Bernard Herrmann, etc. ?   

And how about anger-management-challenged Carlo Gesualdo?   :o

As I told Karl before on his own composer thread, his time will come. Karl is amazingly prolific by contemporary standards.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on February 16, 2014, 05:12:47 AM
As I told Karl before on his own composer thread, his time will come. Karl is amazingly prolific by contemporary standards.

And consider that a good amount of his composing, or at least initial sketching, takes place in public, not at a silent retreat in the mountains, or by a calm New England pond!

It would be an interesting question to know whether Karl's music would be different in any way, if he had a different process.

On Boulez: for some reason, he has not been prolific, motivated instead to revise/re-compose earlier works.  One might have expected a good number of major works in the last c. 40 years, certainly more than have appeared. I believe the 1970's saw no publications of a new work.

(However, who knows what might still be lurking in his desk?)  0:)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mr Bloom on February 16, 2014, 06:07:34 AM
I rather suspect it's also to do with the hyper-masculine environment of the early Darmstadt years. Boulez, Stockhausen and Nono were all playing alpha male, determined to lay down the direction of  new music and steamrollering any opposition in their way. As they grew older and (one hopes) wiser, this kind of competitive behaviour seemed to recede into the background (as did Boulez's compositional career).
From the "gossip" I've heard, misogyny has not receded in the background in Boulez's behaviour.
About the competitive behaviour, why would he have such behaviour now, when he managed (with the help of all the people who wanted a place at the king's court) to crush politicaly, economicaly and socially any dissident voice in France. He's got no competition whatsoever, and he's got the institutions to protect him.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mr Bloom on February 16, 2014, 07:15:33 AM
I occasionally wonder the same thing. Perhaps he has a few recently completed major works stashed away.
This is highly unlikely, as Boulez never wrote any major work. ;D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on February 16, 2014, 07:17:45 AM
I occasionally wonder the same thing. Perhaps he has a few recently completed major works stashed away.
One can hope. It's rather sad to realize that I went to the world premiere of sur Incises over 15 years ago, and the only major work since then has been the hyper-expanded version of Derive II (which didn't impress me at all).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on February 16, 2014, 07:23:02 AM
One can hope. It's rather sad to realize that I went to the world premiere of sur Incises over 15 years ago, and the only major work since then has been the hyper-expanded version of Derive II (which didn't impress me at all).

Sorry Edward, you can't say that. You have to explain, in detail, why it didn't impress you.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on February 16, 2014, 07:25:54 AM
Sorry Edward, you can't say that. You have to explain, in detail, why it didn't impress you.

Not compulsory, but it would be nice!   :D

One can hope. It's rather sad to realize that I went to the world premiere of sur Incises over 15 years ago, and the only major work since then has been the hyper-expanded version of Derive II (which didn't impress me at all).

Sometimes the compulsion to create art just fades away, or the ability to be satisfied with what one has created in later years is lacking e.g. the Eighth Symphony of Sibelius.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on February 16, 2014, 07:35:34 AM
Does calling someone autistic count as nice Cato? No need to answer; it's clear Boulezian standards apply here. I have thoughtfully provided three quotes from the man himself.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on February 16, 2014, 07:42:23 AM
The most recent work I know about is a short (4') work for piano ~

Une Page d'Ephemeride (2005)

https://www.youtube.com/v/y4asMz_EVzg
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on February 16, 2014, 07:52:49 AM
Interview with Boulez (seems fairly recent, maybe within the last five years); talks about his works, about 20 min.

https://www.youtube.com/v/ie5Ore2rjhk
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on February 16, 2014, 08:14:36 AM
Does calling someone autistic count as nice Cato? No need to answer; it's clear Boulezian standards apply here. I have thoughtfully provided three quotes from the man himself.

Artistic, yes, autistic, no.  0:)

Many thanks to San Antonio for digging into YouTube for those links!

An interesting comment from an "Ivor Morgan" on YouTube about Ephemeride:

Quote
I wonder if this is not a 'rescue' of the Trois Psalmedies that he composed in 1945 when he came to Paris. It is claimed that a recording exists in the archives of RTF but Boulez forbad its being broadcast.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on February 16, 2014, 08:24:22 AM
I believe the 1970's saw no publications of a new work.

Messagesquisse, cummings est der Dichter and Rituel all date from the 1970s. The original version of "…explosante-fixe… too.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on February 16, 2014, 08:27:55 AM
Why would he have such behaviour now, when he managed (with the help of all the people who wanted a place at the king's court) to crush politicaly, economicaly and socially any dissident voice in France.

Considering that Dutilleux and Xenakis managed to go on working just fine, often with state support, in spite of their opposition to Boulez's aesthetic, the claim that Boulez crushed all opposition rings hollow. Within a decade of the opening of IRCAM, an institution that was supposedly a sign of Boulez's grip on French music, the majority of composers working there were largely opposed to Boulez. Some "crushing".

 There are a few French neo-Romantic populist composers who like to blame Boulez's eminence for their lack of success, but I daresay they would have saw little success in those decades regardless of the power held by a few high modernists: think about how most American composers of that kind of music fail to gain any following even when they are working in a society that is an aesthetic free-for-all.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on February 16, 2014, 08:32:13 AM
Not compulsory, but it would be nice!   :D
Essentially, a sense that it's retreading ground already covered in Repons and sur Incises, with diminishing returns.

More subjective view: I think that Repons and sur Incises, though they have many memorable passages, could possibly have been better works if they had been a bit shorter. For me, the 45-minute Derive II is distinctly lighter on memorable writing and heavier on note-spinning than those other two, and is simply far too long for its material.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on February 16, 2014, 08:50:35 AM
Messagesquisse, cummings est der Dichter and Rituel all date from the 1970s. The original version of "…explosante-fixe… too.

Aha!  I thought the claim was a little odd, but found no contradiction after checking a few sites.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on February 16, 2014, 10:06:53 AM
"Some crushing."

Not for want of trying. In any case probably no single person did more, and tried more, to marginalize and punish other composers, or damage classical music in the broader culture, than Boulez.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mr Bloom on February 16, 2014, 10:09:24 AM
Considering that Dutilleux and Xenakis managed to go on working just fine
The case of Xenakis is interesting, because in his case this is plain wrong : for example, IRCAM was supposed to be a collaboration between Boulez and Xenakis, but Xenakis left the projet very fast, sickened by the whole thing. He created CEMAMu as a result, but didn't get the public founding he needed - most of the state money for contemporary music went to Boulez's projects, and little was left for others (Boulez was great politician, something Xenakis wasn't). CEMAMu was a failure in Xenakis' eyes, and Xenakis did have many difficulties in his career because of the rivalry between him and Boulez - not necessarily from Boulez himself, but from people around him. At the end of his life, Xenakis was bitter and tired by the state of things he had to fight against in France.
As stupid as it sounds, Xenakis is still these days a name you shouldn't talk about at the IRCAM if you want to be taken seriously as a composer.

Within a decade of the opening of IRCAM, an institution that was supposedly a sign of Boulez's grip on French music, the majority of composers working there were largely opposed to Boulez.
People working at IRCAM opposed to Boulez? Are you joking? Who are you thinking about?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on February 16, 2014, 10:20:09 AM
Pierre Boulez on John Cage

https://www.youtube.com/v/qKbPgUTgZXM

Pierre Boulez - message vis a vis receiving the 2009 Kyoto Prize

https://www.youtube.com/v/ul6ytPknslA
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on February 16, 2014, 10:27:01 AM
People working at IRCAM opposed to Boulez? Are you joking? Who are you thinking about?

Early IRCAM participants like Dalbavie, Benjamin and Saariaho were always quick to emphasize in interviews that they wanted to pursue different directions than Boulez's (post-)serialist aesthetic. If anything, Boulez adopted more from that new generation than they adopted from him; the rapid success of the spectralist approach within IRCAM (with rare exceptions like Manoury) must have taken him by surprise.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mr Bloom on February 16, 2014, 11:45:40 AM
Early IRCAM participants like Dalbavie, Benjamin and Saariaho were always quick to emphasize in interviews that they wanted to pursue different directions than Boulez's (post-)serialist aesthetic.
IRCAM was created in 1969. Saariaho was there after 1982, Dalbavie after 1985, Benjamin after 1987. They were not early participants.
Anyway, they did pursue different directions, but they were not opposed to Boulez at all. It's obvious composers are not going to copy Boulez's music (even if some forgotten composers did that). It's more complex than that. It deals with philosophical, social and political matters more than strictly musical ones. It deals with the representation of the music, the image of it. The post-serialist tradition and the spectral tradition are linked, and since that time they have merged.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: NorthNYMark on February 16, 2014, 11:58:37 AM
IRCAM was created in 1969. Saariaho was there after 1982, Dalbavie after 1985, Benjamin after 1987. They were not early participants.
Anyway, they did pursue different directions, but they were not opposed to Boulez at all. It's obvious composers are not going to copy Boulez's music (even if some forgotten composers did that). It's more complex than that. It deals with philosophical, social and political matters more than strictly musical ones. It deals with the representation of the music, the image of it. The post-serialist tradition and the spectral tradition are linked, and since that time they have merged.

Being very much a novice in this area (but reasonably well-informed about the cultural histories of modernism and postmodernism in the visual arts), I'm especially interested in hearing more about this bolded part.  Would you (or anyone else) care to elaborate?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on February 16, 2014, 12:00:47 PM
IRCAM was created in 1969.

While the political initiative may date from that time, IRCAM did not open until 1977. The composers I mentioned were all active there within a decade from that.

Quote
Anyway, they did pursue different directions, but they were not opposed to Boulez at all.

That they pursued different directions is clear proof that Boulez's influence on French music did not simply perpetuate his own concerns. His role in administration has encouraged a diversity of styles. About the only thing that did not flourish in France under his "watch" was Connesson-like neo-Romanticism, and it's unreasonable to expect any administrator to encourage every style. After all, don't even the more broad-minded among us get frustrated when classical institutions start giving time and resources to, say, crossover or video game soundtracks?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mr Bloom on February 17, 2014, 07:24:16 AM
That they pursued different directions is clear proof that Boulez's influence on French music did not simply perpetuate his own concerns. His role in administration has encouraged a diversity of styles.
A diversity of styles, really ? Ircam has always defended the same range of aesthetics, they have not hidden that fact. Under Boulez's administration, French music has been polarised between "avant-garde" and "neo-tonality". Between the polarities, nothing could exist. But the tradition of French music before 1945 wasn't built on that polarity. Avant-garde was a german importation, mixed with a certain view of Debussy's music, modernised by Messiaen - which is totally what Boulez's music was about from the beginning. It's a make-believe, a construction. Spectralism belongs to that German/Debussy mix of avant-garde, and can't be considered an anomaly in that context. It's a logical evolution of the idea of what french music should sound like, and not what it is. These composers just put more Debussy than serialism in their music.
As a consequence, true successors of the french tradition were forgotten (cf. Landowski, who was one of the main adversary of Boulez), and nowadays, a french composer has only two choices : neo-romantism or german/Debussy avant-garde, which isn't an aesthetic as much as a generic style, a bunch of technics and ideas about music.
I've heard that "diversity of styles" argument. It's a fake view of the institution to justify itself, but it's a blatant lie, that can be proven if you take any "cursus" concert, or any concert of the now late Agora festival. IRCAM is an institution : its goal is not to evolve but to reproduce itself.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on February 17, 2014, 04:32:25 PM
The case of Xenakis is interesting, because in his case this is plain wrong : for example, IRCAM was supposed to be a collaboration between Boulez and Xenakis, but Xenakis left the projet very fast, sickened by the whole thing. He created CEMAMu as a result, but didn't get the public founding he needed - most of the state money for contemporary music went to Boulez's projects, and little was left for others (Boulez was great politician, something Xenakis wasn't). CEMAMu was a failure in Xenakis' eyes, and Xenakis did have many difficulties in his career because of the rivalry between him and Boulez - not necessarily from Boulez himself, but from people around him. At the end of his life, Xenakis was bitter and tired by the state of things he had to fight against in France.
As stupid as it sounds, Xenakis is still these days a name you shouldn't talk about at the IRCAM if you want to be taken seriously as a composer.
People working at IRCAM opposed to Boulez? Are you joking? Who are you thinking about?

Xenakis really is The French Composer combining Varese and Ravel. He's a Composer of colour: French. He feels French. Boulez- how is that really French Music? I mean, his early works, sure. The First Sonata for Piano is very French and colourful. The Flute Sonata. But the 'Livre pour Quatuor' is like Webern-cotton-candy, so dense and thorny the work is. And from there...

Poor Xenakis :'(
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on February 18, 2014, 05:11:25 AM
Boulez's music sounds very French to me, perfectly fits in line with Debussy, Messiaen and bringing in other exotic & classical influences .. very colorful, refined, sensuous, decorative, subversive and following that rich harmonic tradition and bringing a fresh rhythmic vocabulary. And the later pieces get more beautiful. Xenakis's music is the opposite of this overall .. externally constructed .. rugged, crude, noisy, in-your-face and harsh.
Hear, hear! Your description of Boulez's soundworld appears to me very fitting, James! I always get the impression that many listeners (perhaps taken aback by the composer's public persona of many years ago) don't realize how beautiful much of his output is...

I cannot comment so much on Xenakis, a composer I have never warmed to (but your description does reflect a bit the impression he makes on me  ;) ).

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on February 18, 2014, 07:30:16 AM
AAAAHHHHHm the acid... it buuurns it buuurns!!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on February 18, 2014, 09:22:51 AM
I just listened to Derive 1. Sounded pretty French to me. Ornamental shavings Ravel would have discarded as he carved, but *French*.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: NorthNYMark on February 18, 2014, 12:21:33 PM
I'm surprised at how often the notion of "Frenchness" seems to come up in this discussion.  Perhaps there is similar concern over the "Americanness" of Carter or Feldman, or the "Germanness" of Stockhousen in their respective threads, but I certainly haven't noticed it to this extent.  For those who have brought it up, could you perhaps discuss why it is important to you?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Pessoa on February 18, 2014, 12:38:06 PM
Much of a muchness?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on February 18, 2014, 02:24:08 PM
I'm surprised at how often the notion of "Frenchness" seems to come up in this discussion.  Perhaps there is similar concern over the "Americanness" of Carter or Feldman, or the "Germanness" of Stockhousen in their respective threads, but I certainly haven't noticed it to this extent.  For those who have brought it up, could you perhaps discuss why it is important to you?

I mentioned it but it has no importance for me, as Boulez as a composer matters to me not at all. But there is something about the sound nonetheless.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: kishnevi on February 18, 2014, 06:19:23 PM
I'm surprised at how often the notion of "Frenchness" seems to come up in this discussion.  Perhaps there is similar concern over the "Americanness" of Carter or Feldman, or the "Germanness" of Stockhousen in their respective threads, but I certainly haven't noticed it to this extent.  For those who have brought it up, could you perhaps discuss why it is important to you?

And, s'il vous plait, what is "Frenchness" in music? 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on February 19, 2014, 06:54:36 AM
Partially, at least for now, 'French' means 'colour', and on the basic level it's supposed to be different from the 'German' model which tends to be more 'serious', meaning, it's not so in to 'colour'.

Maybe a better way would be to simply compare Debussy and Brahms- THERE!, there's the difference you can see. Brahms writes in the traditional Germanic styles; Debussy seeks the whole-tone scale.

And we didn't even have to write a book!

btw- so, Boulez's 'Livre pour Quatuor' is a GERMANIC work by a FRENCH Composer... well, i can't think of a German Composer who acts French (off the top), hmm,... but, I'm glad you all understand and we can move on!! :laugh:
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 19, 2014, 07:02:36 AM
Partially, at least for now, 'French' means 'colour', and on the basic level it's supposed to be different from the 'German' model which tends to be more 'serious', meaning, it's not so in to 'colour'.

Maybe a better way would be to simply compare Debussy and Brahms- THERE!, there's the difference you can see. Brahms writes in the traditional Germanic styles; Debussy seeks the whole-tone scale.

You're onto something.  I don't think that Brahms is at all "colorless," but I think of the French manner as a lightness and clarity of color, a delicacy, and a greater transparency of texture.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on February 19, 2014, 07:39:17 AM
I think the French have shown an affinity for the "exotic" (Boulez being no exception, e.g. gamelan sounds).  Debussy's whole tone scales and non-functional harmonies as a method of luxuriating in the sound for long-ish periods, Messiaen's interest in Indian rhythms to say nothing of his use of birdsong; Ravel's orchestral deployment of percussion (a mastery of orchestration seems to be something of a specialty for French composers) and then there is the entire spectral school, which is made up in the majority of French composers.

All of this adds up to a preoccupation with instrumental color and texture for its own sake.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: kishnevi on February 19, 2014, 08:47:58 AM


btw- so, Boulez's 'Livre pour Quatuor' is a GERMANIC work by a FRENCH Composer... well, i can't think of a German Composer who acts French (off the top), hmm,... but, I'm glad you all understand and we can move on!! :laugh:

Wagner and Bruckner....

that would also apply to Sanantonio's formulation.

Boulez as the anti-Bruckner....hmm, that might actually work.

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on February 27, 2014, 01:42:54 PM
Le visage nuptial on Medici (Orchestre philharmonique de radio France, Pascal Rophé; 25 february 2014)

http://fr.medici.tv/#!/pascal-rophe-pierre-boulez-orchestre-philharmonique-de-radio-france (http://fr.medici.tv/#!/pascal-rophe-pierre-boulez-orchestre-philharmonique-de-radio-france)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on February 27, 2014, 02:50:35 PM
Sorry to be a little bit off-topic, but does anyone have any idea why he insists on (mis)pronouncing his name as Boulezzz?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on February 27, 2014, 02:57:40 PM
Sorry to be a little bit off-topic, but does anyone have any idea why he insists on (mis)pronouncing his name as Boulezzz?
Pardon, how should it be pronounced if not like that?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on February 27, 2014, 03:00:12 PM
Sorry to be a little bit off-topic, but does anyone have any idea why he insists on (mis)pronouncing his name as Boulezzz?
Pronouncing such final letters is not uncommon with French names. Duras, Saint-Saens pronounce the s. Berlioz. For one thing, names can have different origins so can vary wildly.  I believe Francaix pronounced the x, the town of Aix does.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on February 27, 2014, 03:00:21 PM
Pardon, how should it be pronounced if not like that?
In French, the ez-sound is pronounced like ay. So, the traditional pronunciation of his name would be Boul-ay. Not that I have a problem with it, but I find it very intriguing especially because he seems very French.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on February 27, 2014, 03:01:15 PM
Pronouncing such final letters is not uncommon with French names. Duras, Saint-Saens pronounce the s. Berlioz. For one thing, names can have different origins so can vary wildly.  I believe Francaix pronounced the x, the town of Aix does.
I didn't know this. Thanks!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on February 27, 2014, 03:05:53 PM
In French, the ez-sound is pronounced like ay. So, the traditional pronunciation of his name would be Boul-ay. Not that I have a problem with it, but I find it very intriguing especially because he seems very French.
Pronouncing such final letters is not uncommon with French names. Duras, Saint-Saens pronounce the s. Berlioz. For one thing, names can have different origins so can vary wildly.  I believe Francaix pronounced the x, the town of Aix does.
I thought you might mean this.  :)
(now, Mussorgsky's spelling and pronunciation, OTOH...)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on February 27, 2014, 03:07:24 PM
I believe it's a regional variation, and the -ez is pronounced that way in many of the more southern parts of France, where his family was from.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on February 27, 2014, 04:03:08 PM
I believe it's a regional variation, and the -ez is pronounced that way in many of the more southern parts of France, where his family was from.

Langue d'oc in southern France vs. Langue d'oïl in the north?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on February 27, 2014, 10:26:39 PM
Sorry to be a little bit off-topic, but does anyone have any idea why he insists on (mis)pronouncing his name as Boulezzz?


It's a matter or tradition and/or regional habits. The -ez is very common in the region of Auvergne were Boulez was born, for instance in the "Monts du Forez" and according to local inhabitants, some pronounce it é in the east and some ez in the west...
Many ending letters are not pronounced in modern french, but generally they have not been added for nothing, once upon a time it was pronounced or it comes from the latin form.


Personally I've never heard the X pronounced in Jean Françaix (and Ive ever listened too much to his music ;-)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on February 27, 2014, 11:56:25 PM
The easy rule is: Boulez rimes with Fez...  :) .

As for Francaix, I have read that the "x" should be pronounced, but then once in a video on the webpage of France's Institut National de l'Audiovisuel  (http://www.ina.fr)--where there's a wealth of material from France's television--I heard it pronounced without the "x"...

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on February 28, 2014, 12:00:17 AM
The easy rule is: Boulez rimes with Fez...  :) .

As for Francaix, I have read that the "x" should be pronounced, but then once in a video on the webpage of France's Institut National de l'Audiovisuel  (http://www.ina.fr)--where there's a wealth of material from France's television--I heard it pronounced without the "x"...

My advice is to not pronouce the X... if you do, people will hear Fran-sex...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on February 28, 2014, 12:06:41 AM
My advice is to not pronouce the X... if you do, people will hear Fran-sex...
  :laugh: :laugh: Yeah, and regardless of the fact of whether one likes Françaix or not, "sexy" is not a word that comes to mind... ;)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: lescamil on February 28, 2014, 12:08:12 AM
Back on topic, here, have a concert:

http://www.medici.tv/#!/pascal-rophe-pierre-boulez-orchestre-philharmonique-de-radio-france
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on February 28, 2014, 12:16:09 AM
Back on topic, here, have a concert:

http://www.medici.tv/#!/pascal-rophe-pierre-boulez-orchestre-philharmonique-de-radio-france
That concert looks very interesting...I've always been a fan of Le Visage Nuptial, a really sensuous early work that is too seldom performed (and, AFAIK, there's only the Erato recording from the 80's available)...I would expect Aikin and Summers to be very good. :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 02, 2014, 09:55:30 AM
I just wanted to take a minute to comment on the presentation of this box set:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Ggs-Tf5AL.jpg)

This is an absolutely first-rate job from Deutsche Grammophon. I'm usually not crazy about many of their box sets as they seem to go the 'cheap' route, but this Boulez set is just beautiful. What a booklet! I've seen many thick booklets (esp. w/ opera boxes), but this one was simply beautifully laid out. Extremely well-done. It reminds me of their effort with Webern's Complete Edition minus the thinline jewel cases of course. :)

Now, I'll need to investigate the music.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 02, 2014, 10:40:46 AM
Didn't you express many times on this board before something to the effect that Boulez's music doesn't do anything for you? And now you've went and bought it all? What for?

Not that I have to justify myself to you, but, as I've stated many many times on GMG before, I like having a large selection of 20th Century music at my disposal at all times. Whether you or any one else sees value in this is not important to me. Plus, I bought it because I wanted it. I don't like everything Webern composed either, but I own it all. So there you have it.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: lescamil on March 02, 2014, 10:50:17 AM
It's the completionist's mentality. I have it, too. I probably have hundreds (literally) of CDs that are there just for the sake of having them for reference. I look at my collection as a library, and, should I ever need a reference, I can just go to it.

For the record, I also have that Boulez collection. It is possibly worth getting for the booklet and that's it, since pretty much all of the performances are available on older releases.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on March 02, 2014, 11:35:26 AM
Didn't you express many times on this board before something to the effect that Boulez's music doesn't do anything for you? And now you've went and bought it all? What for?
Some of us make up our minds after we hear the music.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on March 10, 2014, 05:23:29 AM
On the road last night, I was able to hear a good chunk of a radio show on Dayton's classical station (WDPG).  The program deals with 20th/21st century music: imagine how amazed I was to hear e.g. Notations by Boulez played and discussed on the radio in America!

The program dealt mainly with Pierre Boulez as composer.

You can listen online (I assume): here is a playlist of past and future programs!

http://www.discoverclassical.org/relevant-tones.htm (http://www.discoverclassical.org/relevant-tones.htm)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on March 26, 2014, 07:49:34 AM
Happy 89th Birthday, Maestro.

Pierre Boulez and Simon Rattle, May 10, 1989 (Los Angeles Philharmonic Archives)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on March 26, 2014, 09:58:12 AM
Happy 89th Birthday, Maestro.

Pierre Boulez and Simon Rattle, May 10, 1989 (Los Angeles Philharmonic Archives)

--Bruce

oops, and here I was, Is he dead yet? lolz Yea, yea, congratulations on your life- record some more Xenakis! :laugh: or anything...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on March 26, 2014, 10:03:38 AM
oops, and here I was, Is he dead yet? lolz Yea, yea, congratulations on your life- record some more Xenakis! :laugh: or anything...
Dutilleux!  0:)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on March 26, 2014, 10:22:11 AM
Happy 89th Birthday, Maestro.

Pierre Boulez and Simon Rattle, May 10, 1989 (Los Angeles Philharmonic Archives)

--Bruce

Has Simon Rattle always had that hair? He has in every picture I've seen, no matter how old.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on March 26, 2014, 11:23:01 AM
Has Simon Rattle always had that hair? He has in every picture I've seen, no matter how old.

Jewish??
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brewski on March 26, 2014, 11:46:25 AM
Jewish??

Nyah...just 1980s.  ;D

 8)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on March 26, 2014, 12:35:18 PM
Pierre Boulez and Simon Rattle, May 10, 1989 (Los Angeles Philharmonic Archives)

--Bruce
Great conductors, not so great hairstylists.  8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on March 26, 2014, 07:05:26 PM
Great conductors, not so great hairstylists.  8)
Seems to be the rule. I wonder if there's some sort of mentality behind this or if it is just coincidence. I mean, have you seen Gergiev? Yikes!  :o

By the way, I just heard "Derive I" and was thoroughly impressed, especially considering my general dislike of the compositions of Boulez! It sounded fresh and modern, but in a very French way. It didn't sound like total serialism at all. I was hoping that "Derive II" would be similar, but this is sadly not the case. It sounds like an agitated "Gruppen" :( (I only heard the beginning -- it's a very long piece). Any recommendations for works similar to "Derive I"? I figure that "Le Marteau sans Maitre" will come up, but I don't really like songs very much.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on March 26, 2014, 07:23:35 PM
By the way, I just heard "Derive I" and was thoroughly impressed, especially considering my general dislike of the compositions of Boulez! It sounded fresh and modern, but in a very French way. It didn't sound like total serialism at all.

Except for a couple of works in the 1950s (performances of which he does not encourage) Boulez has never written total serialism.

As for works you might enjoy, try Répons. There is only one recording, on Deutsche Grammophon.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on March 27, 2014, 02:54:37 AM
Any recommendations for works similar to "Derive I"? I figure that "Le Marteau sans Maitre" will come up, but I don't really like songs very much.
I would suggest Mémoriale. This is a hauntingly beautiful (and short  ;) ) piece for solo flute and ensemble. If you like it, then you can move on to "...explosante - fixe..." (in it's recorded version, essentially a flute concerto with live electronics, Mémoriale being an arrangement of the section labelled "Originel").

Also, Messagesquisse for solo cello and 8 cellos can be of interest to you...

If I may suggest, do give Dérive II a second chance. The more I listen to this piece (which I also had the luck of hearing live in concert once), the more I like it. I now tend to believe that it is one of Boulez's most accomplished compositions...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on March 27, 2014, 06:34:20 AM
Aren't 'Memoriale' and 'Derive' those little 5 minute works? :P :laugh: Yes,...(titter)... they're wonderful! :'( :laugh:
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on March 27, 2014, 07:35:24 AM
Aren't 'Memoriale' and 'Derive' those little 5 minute works? :P :laugh: Yes,...(titter)... they're wonderful! :'( :laugh:
Try saying that in the Webern thread.  $:)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on March 27, 2014, 09:31:23 AM
I would suggest Mémoriale. This is a hauntingly beautiful (and short  ;) ) piece for solo flute and ensemble. If you like it, then you can move on to "...explosante - fixe..." (in it's recorded version, essentially a flute concerto with live electronics, Mémoriale being an arrangement of the section labelled "Originel").

Also, Messagesquisse for solo cello and 8 cellos can be of interest to you...

If I may suggest, do give Dérive II a second chance. The more I listen to this piece (which I also had the luck of hearing live in concert once), the more I like it. I now tend to believe that it is one of Boulez's most accomplished compositions...

Thanks! I will absolutely give "Derive II" another chance. I only heard the beginning and I gave up when it wasn't going where I wanted it to go  ;D . It's odd that I've been taken by a work by Boulez before a work by Schoenberg/Berg/Webern (all of which I still struggle with now).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on March 27, 2014, 12:41:26 PM
Thanks! I will absolutely give "Derive II" another chance. I only heard the beginning and I gave up when it wasn't going where I wanted it to go  ;D . It's odd that I've been taken by a work by Boulez before a work by Schoenberg/Berg/Webern (all of which I still struggle with now).
Not that odd. The bergs are often thick and creamy, very Tristan. Boulez has brighter lighter textures in the pieces I have sat through. I'll take him over Webern.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 27, 2014, 05:48:25 PM
Concert last month at the Cité de la Musique in Paris by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France conducted by Pascal Rophé; now available on medici.tv (http://www.medici.tv/#!/pascal-rophe-pierre-boulez-orchestre-philharmonique-de-radio-france).

Featured is Le Visage Nuptial.

Premiered in 1946, but reworked in 1989, Le Visage nuptial ("The Nuptial Face") is one of Pierre Boulez's most lyrical pieces. Written after a poem by René Char (excerpt from Fureur et Mystère), this secular cantata for soprano, contralto, women's choir and orchestra is a sensual work which evokes the colourful sonorities of Debussy. Divided in five movements, Le Visage nuptial is made up of contrasting musical parts bearing witness of the different influences that have marked Boulez's artistic path. Laura Aikin and Hilary Summers join forces with Pascal Rophé to perform Le Visage nuptial, a masterpiece wich, according to Dominique Jameux, "holds the 'aura' of works that have taken on mythic status".

The concert begins with French premières of Armonica by Jörg Widmann (with one of the greatest performers of glass harmonica, Christa Schoenfeldinger) and Change by Johannes Boris Borowski.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on March 29, 2014, 12:36:19 PM
Not that odd. The bergs are often thick and creamy, very Tristan. Boulez has brighter lighter textures in the pieces I have sat through. I'll take him over Webern.
Yes, I think that you hit the nail on the head. I've been listening to some Boulez recently and I find much of it way more accessible for me than the 2nd Viennese School. In fact, a lot of it reminds me of Messiaen.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on March 29, 2014, 12:41:46 PM
Yes, I think that you hit the nail on the head. I've been listening to some Boulez recently and I find much of it way more accessible for me than the 2nd Viennese School. In fact, a lot of it reminds me of Messiaen.
Excellent! Yes, Messiaen is certainly a large influence.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 29, 2014, 05:14:12 PM
Yes, I think that you hit the nail on the head. I've been listening to some Boulez recently and I find much of it way more accessible for me than the 2nd Viennese School. In fact, a lot of it reminds me of Messiaen.

I still don't see how anyone couldn't wrap their heads around Berg's Violin Concerto or Schoenberg's Five Pieces for Orchestra for example. I can understand something like Berg's Chamber Concerto or Schoenberg's Variations for Orchestra opposing some problems for listeners, but not the afore mentioned works. Don't give up and keep listening!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on March 30, 2014, 06:23:19 AM
I still don't see how anyone couldn't wrap their heads around Berg's Violin Concerto or Schoenberg's Five Pieces for Orchestra for example. I can understand something like Berg's Chamber Concerto or Schoenberg's Variations for Orchestra opposing some problems for listeners, but not the afore mentioned works. Don't give up and keep listening!

Again, I think that Ken articulated it nicely -- it's very thick music (of course, I don't mean 'thick' in its insulting meaning, haha, but in describing textures). Take a work like "Verklarte Nacht", for instance. I love it, but I have trouble listening to the whole thing because at about 3/4 of the way through, I feel like I'm starting to have to force myself to eat a very fancy and very heavy meal. I'm not sure I can explain it any better, but that's how it makes me feel.

Now, about the Berg violin concerto: it, too, is very thick. However, the music is also hard to follow for me, which isn't true for "Verklarte Nacht". It's like I'm trying to eat a meal that is exquisite, but that I haven't acquired a taste for yet. And I'm full.

I've also found myself to be getting less and less from the later romantics, which is probably why I like Mendelssohn and (recently) Schumann. That being said, I won't give up! Even if I never truly appreciate the aforementioned works (which is unlikely), at least I recognize them as important.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 30, 2014, 06:40:25 AM
Again, I think that Ken articulated it nicely -- it's very thick music (of course, I don't mean 'thick' in its insulting meaning, haha, but in describing textures). Take a work like "Verklarte Nacht", for instance. I love it, but I have trouble listening to the whole thing because at about 3/4 of the way through, I feel like I'm starting to have to force myself to eat a very fancy and very heavy meal. I'm not sure I can explain it any better, but that's how it makes me feel.

Now, about the Berg violin concerto: it, too, is very thick. However, the music is also hard to follow for me, which isn't true for "Verklarte Nacht". It's like I'm trying to eat a meal that is exquisite, but that I haven't acquired a taste for yet. And I'm full.

I've also found myself to be getting less and less from the later romantics, which is probably why I like Mendelssohn and (recently) Schumann. That being said, I won't give up! Even if I never truly appreciate the aforementioned works (which is unlikely), at least I recognize them as important.

If listening becomes a 'chore' then you should stop listening to whatever it is you're listening to and find something else. In time, you will come to appreciate the Second Viennese School. And if you never do, at least you can say you honestly tried. Let me say that one reason you could be having trouble following Berg's Violin Concerto is because you're not familiar with the musical language.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on March 30, 2014, 06:59:07 AM
If listening becomes a 'chore' then you should stop listening to whatever it is you're listening to and find something else.
I wouldn't necessarily call my listening to "Verklarte Nacht" a chore. I love the piece! It's just very thick, harmonically. Again, it's like I'm trying to force myself to finish eating a delicious meal when I'm already full. Ever since someone here compared Messiaen's "Turangalila-Symphonie" to eating ice cream from the carton (which I find to be true and hilarious), I took the food-analogies and ran  :D .

Sometimes listening is a chore for me, though. For example, I will sometimes listen to Stockhausen because I think that it is historically important music, but it does nothing for me. Same with Boulez, but I ended up really liking "Derive" in the process, so it was a gain. I've also been listening to some Haydn symphonies recently. Much of it has flew past me and I've been indifferent, but I have definitely been taken by 88, 89, and 90. Damn 88 is still stuck in my head, three days later  ::) .

In time, you will come to appreciate the Second Viennese School. And if you never do, at least you can say you honestly tried. Let me say that one reason you could be having trouble following Berg's Violin Concerto is because you're not familiar with the musical language.
I don't doubt this at all.  :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 30, 2014, 07:43:10 AM
I wouldn't necessarily call my listening to "Verklarte Nacht" a chore. I love the piece! It's just very thick, harmonically. Again, it's like I'm trying to force myself to finish eating a delicious meal when I'm already full. Ever since someone here compared Messiaen's "Turangalila-Symphonie" to eating ice cream from the carton (which I find to be true and hilarious), I took the food-analogies and ran  :D .

Sometimes listening is a chore for me, though. For example, I will sometimes listen to Stockhausen because I think that it is historically important music, but it does nothing for me. Same with Boulez, but I ended up really liking "Derive" in the process, so it was a gain. I've also been listening to some Haydn symphonies recently. Much of it has flew past me and I've been indifferent, but I have definitely been taken by 88, 89, and 90. Damn 88 is still stuck in my head, three days later  ::) .

Good to hear you enjoy Verklarte Nacht. It is a great work and I've always enjoyed it, but I don't listen to it very often as I would rather listen to something like Five Pieces for Orchestra, the Chamber Symphonies, the concertante works, among others.

I also don't listen to any music that doesn't give me pleasure of some kind. Otherwise, what's the point of listening to music? I don't really care what composer is 'historically important'. What matters to me is I'm enjoying what I'm hearing. That's it. Nothing else.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Henk on March 30, 2014, 08:16:19 AM
Good to hear you enjoy Verklarte Nacht. It is a great work and I've always enjoyed it, but I don't listen to it very often as I would rather listen to something like Five Pieces for Orchestra, the Chamber Symphonies, the concertante works, among others.

I also don't listen to any music that doesn't give me pleasure of some kind. Otherwise, what's the point of listening to music? I don't really care what composer is 'historically important'. What matters to me is I'm enjoying what I'm hearing. That's it. Nothing else.

My victory over MI. :laugh: ;)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on March 31, 2014, 05:28:18 AM
I have just received confirmation form amazon here in Europe that this recent book has shipped, and should be delivered to me in a couple of days  :) :



From the back cover:

"While acknowledging that Pierre Boulez is not a philosopher, and that he is wary of the potential misuse of philosophy with regard to music, this study investigates a series of philosophically charged terms and concepts which he uses in discussion of his music. Campbell examines significant encounters which link Boulez to the work of a number of important philosophers and thinkers, including Adorno, Lévi-Strauss, Eco and Deleuze. Relating Boulez's music and ideas to broader currents of thought, the book illuminates a number of affinities linking music and philosophy, and also literature and visual art. These connections facilitate enhanced understanding of post-war modernist music and Boulez's distinctive approach to composition. Drawing on a wide range of previously unpublished documentary sources and providing musical analysis of a number of key scores, the book traces the changing musical, philosophical and intellectual currents which inform Boulez's work."

Let's see if it offers any interesting insights...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on March 31, 2014, 07:22:26 AM
I AM sorry- but EVERY time I see this Thread bumped, it's, "Did he die today?" What other Boulez news can there be???
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 31, 2014, 07:30:58 AM
Thinking about composing Déploration sur la mort de Boulez . . . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on March 31, 2014, 07:50:42 AM
I AM sorry- but EVERY time I see this Thread bumped, it's, "Did he die today?" What other Boulez news can there be???
Oh my god, that's horrible!  >:( ...

...But, I laughed.  8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on March 31, 2014, 10:58:40 AM
Thinking about composing Déploration sur la mort de Boulez . . . .
A neo-classical piece built on a theme from Honegger would be my approach.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: lescamil on March 31, 2014, 05:52:15 PM
I AM sorry- but EVERY time I see this Thread bumped, it's, "Did he die today?" What other Boulez news can there be???

You are not the only one...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on March 31, 2014, 05:59:07 PM
Thinking about composing Déploration sur la mort de Boulez . . . .
I suppose you could use a similar procedure to Boulez's use of the SACHER chord in recent years....

Random fun fact: If you take the alphabetical positions of B-O-U-L-E-Z and map them onto a twelve-note scale, the resulting short note row is diatonic and even contains a dominant seventh chord:

(eg: Bb-B natural-F-Ab-Db-Bb)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: amw on March 31, 2014, 06:38:56 PM
Hmm...

Schoenberg's name has four repeated notes in it, and starts and ends on the same pitch. No wonder he never tried to subject it to serial transformations.

(D#-B-E-B-C#-A#-A#-C#-D-D#)

Ravel's Minuet on the name of Haydn could have been written on a motive that went more like E-A-A-C-Bb. I am not totally sure how he came up with the one he did use, actually.

Malayalam is a piece by Scelsi.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on March 31, 2014, 10:29:37 PM
He's selling his house in Provence. If you like "concrete" musi... euh Architecture... ;-)

http://www.valeursactuelles.com/guide-immobilier-maison-pierre-boulez-provence
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on April 01, 2014, 05:41:12 AM
He's selling his house in Provence. If you like "concrete" musi... euh Architecture... ;-)

http://www.valeursactuelles.com/guide-immobilier-maison-pierre-boulez-provence
I love modern architecture, but I'm sorry -- that's not modern. That's an atrocity.

It looks like a Soviet-era USSR attempt at modernism.

I do still like "Derive I", though.  :D And, of course, his conducting.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on April 01, 2014, 05:56:26 AM
I love modern architecture, but I'm sorry -- that's not modern. That's an atrocity.

It looks like a Soviet-era USSR attempt at modernism.



Amen!   0:)  That is just double-bug ugly!

Maybe it is nice inside, but...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on April 01, 2014, 06:06:12 AM
He's selling his house in Provence. If you like "concrete" musi... euh Architecture... ;-)

http://www.valeursactuelles.com/guide-immobilier-maison-pierre-boulez-provence

I'd rather have this house of his than that prime example of modernist architecture at its worst.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LzMWjug4L.jpg)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on April 01, 2014, 07:07:26 AM
I suppose you could use a similar procedure to Boulez's use of the SACHER chord in recent years....

Random fun fact: If you take the alphabetical positions of B-O-U-L-E-Z and map them onto a twelve-note scale, the resulting short note row is diatonic and even contains a dominant seventh chord:

(eg: Bb-B natural-F-Ab-Db-Bb)

So THAT's why he's so angry, haha!!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on April 01, 2014, 10:36:52 PM
Amen!   0:)  That is just double-bug ugly!

Maybe it is nice inside, but...

The bathromm is not bad...

http://www.emilegarcin.fr/vente/Maison-darchitecte-Alpes-de-Haute-Provence-/FD66BE33-06E6-47D1-B992-0F897C9E8BFA/MEN-6037-SA.html
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on April 14, 2014, 11:59:21 AM
The program of the Festtage in Berlin for 2015 (March and April) has just been announced (here: http://staatsoper-berlin.de/de_DE/festtage-programm-2014-2015).

Four concerts are billed Hommage à Pierre Boulez. Barenboim conducts the Vienna Philharmonic in the Livre pour cordes and a piece labeled "Originel" (which I presume is the "Originel" from " ...explosante-fixe... ", i.e. Mémoriale). Another concert has pianist Michael Wendeberg playing the three Piano sonatas, Incises and the Notations. The West-Eastern Divan will do Dérive II. Finally, a concert with the Staatskapelle has Barenboim again conducting Le Visage nuptial, the Notations I - IV and, intriguingly, a Notation VI (the orchestral version of which is unknown until now). Or can it be a typo, and it's actually the Notation VII ?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on April 30, 2014, 12:48:12 PM
If you haven’t heard it yet, I’d recommend hearing this 1958 radio broadcast (https://archive.org/details/C_1958_03_XX) where Boulez explains his serialist aesthetic of the time. It’s remarkable how far Boulez’s English has come since then, as in later decades he was able to sound suave and charming in English, but here he can hardly get his point across.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on April 30, 2014, 01:23:33 PM
Does anyone know what the tone row for "Derive I" is? Does it have one? I read that it does, but I can't seem to find it and it doesn't really sound like it has one. Just a lot of trills. Even a far-east folk-like theme in the last minute or two, very briefly. But no tone row?

amw, I suspect you have some idea...  ;)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on April 30, 2014, 03:15:30 PM
Does anyone know what the tone row for "Derive I" is? Does it have one? I read that it does, but I can't seem to find it and it doesn't really sound like it has one. Just a lot of trills. Even a far-east folk-like theme in the last minute or two, very briefly. But no tone row?

amw, I suspect you have some idea...  ;)

I believe it is all the notes of the harmonic scale. I don't recall the exact order though.

 >:D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on April 30, 2014, 04:42:53 PM
Does anyone know what the tone row for "Derive I" is? Does it have one? I read that it does, but I can't seem to find it and it doesn't really sound like it has one. Just a lot of trills. Even a far-east folk-like theme in the last minute or two, very briefly. But no tone row?

amw, I suspect you have some idea...  ;)

It's the six-note Sacher series (Eb-A-C-B-E-D). The trills are a result of the contrast between main notes and grace notes, ultimately related to Boulez's idea of striated and smooth time (which he described as early as in his Penser la musique aujourd'hui) and the form scheme of this work.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on April 30, 2014, 04:47:03 PM
It's the six-note Sacher series (Eb-A-C-B-E-D). The trills are a result of the contrast between main notes and grace notes, ultimately related to Boulez's idea of striated and smooth time (which he described as early as in his Penser la musique aujourd'hui) and the form scheme of this work.
Thank you so much!

Interesting -- it isn't a 12-time row. I'll have to look at what he does with this. My first thought would be to make a "photo-negative" and play the missing six notes in a separate series.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: bwv 1080 on April 30, 2014, 05:01:18 PM
It's the six-note Sacher series (Eb-A-C-B-E-D). The trills are a result of the contrast between main notes and grace notes, ultimately related to Boulez's idea of striated and smooth time (which he described as early as in his Penser la musique aujourd'hui) and the form scheme of this work.

What is the relation to Paul Sacher of the (012457) hexachord?  it does not seem to have any special features
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: amw on April 30, 2014, 05:32:58 PM
amw, I suspect you have some idea...  ;)

I never had patience for all those number games, actually. My ears glaze over as soon as I hear phrases like "pitch class" and "combinatoriality" and "hexachord". And I know ears can't actually glaze over, but shutup.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on April 30, 2014, 05:37:52 PM
I never had patience for all those number games, actually. My ears glaze over as soon as I hear phrases like "pitch class" and "combinatoriality" and "hexachord". And I know ears can't actually glaze over, but shutup.
Oh, I have no formal music theory training. Those big words you threw at me just all make me think of the same thing -- Babbitt. I wouldn't have understood much beyond the simple 12 (or, I guess 6) note row and its usual three transformations.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: amw on April 30, 2014, 05:45:32 PM
Oh, I have no formal music theory training. Those big words you threw at me just all make me think of the same thing -- Babbitt.

which actually shouldn't be surprising as I'm pretty sure he coined all three... hmm.

I do find some of Babbitt's music enjoyable but I would rather stab myself in the face than read his theory texts.
Quote
I wouldn't have understood much beyond the simple 12 (or, I guess 6) note row and its usual three transformations.
Basically. There's not even any reason a note row has to have 12 notes, or that they all be different (Stravinsky's Cantata uses a 9 note row that contains only Cs, Ds, Es and a C#—I know this because he actually pointed it out with brackets in the published score).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on April 30, 2014, 05:50:30 PM
which actually shouldn't be surprising as I'm pretty sure he coined all three... hmm.

I do find some of Babbitt's music enjoyable but I would rather stab myself in the face than read his theory texts.Basically. There's not even any reason a note row has to have 12 notes, or that they all be different (Stravinsky's Cantata uses a 9 note row that contains only Cs, Ds, Es and a C#—I know this because he actually pointed it out with brackets in the published score).
The only Babbitt that I remotely liked was "All Set" for jazz band. Are his theory textbooks boring?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on April 30, 2014, 05:52:13 PM
Oh, I have no formal music theory training. Those big words you threw at me just all make me think of the same thing -- Babbitt. I wouldn't have understood much beyond the simple 12 (or, I guess 6) note row and its usual three transformations.

Those words are nothing more than descriptions of how most serial composers use the series as the underlying raw data for the work much like a tonal composer will not use the entire major or minor scale for his melodies, but segment it into motives and smaller phrases.  A hexachord is just a word to describe a six note segment; trichord is a three note segment, and so on.  Pitch class is something unique to serial music.  And it denotes the idea that a particular note in the series represents not one specific iteration (register or octave) but is one of the "class" of "pitch C" for example.  Combinatorial is a term Babbitt took from set theory, and essentially means that the last six notes of a series mirror (in some form) the first six but do not repeat any of the pitches.  Webern liked to utilize this in his rows.  The advantage of combinatorial series is that the first half of the "O" series can be combined with the last half of one of the others, e.g. the last half of its inversion at one of the transpositions.  This allows a composer to generate many variations of his original series, but all  being related to each other.

Boulez was composer who wished to hide his process and it is almost impossible to find the original series from merely looking at the score.  It is possible and analyses have been done (most famously by Ligeti for Structures 1a, and someone else did a analysis of Marteau Sans Maitre) - but that is not the point, really.

Just listen to the music and don't even think of trying to hear the "series". 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: amw on April 30, 2014, 05:54:32 PM
Are his theory textbooks boring?

Multiply those three words by 50,000 or so... actually that will suffice also to tell you about pretty much every other book on serial techniques. Particularly the Americans who seemed obsessed with turning it into a branch of the hard sciences for a while.

Just listen to the music and don't even think of trying to hear the "series". 

This is my viewpoint also.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on April 30, 2014, 06:00:55 PM
Those words are nothing more than descriptions of how most serial composers use the series as the underlying raw data for the work much like a tonal composer will not use the entire major or minor scale for his melodies, but segment it into motives and smaller phrases.  A hexachord is just a word to describe a six note segment; trichord is a three note segment, and so on.  Pitch class is something unique to serial music.  And it denotes the idea that a particular note in the series represents not one specific iteration (register or octave) but is one of the "class" of "pitch C" for example.  Combinatorial is a term Babbitt took from set theory, and essentially means that the last six notes of a series mirror (in some form) the first six but do not repeat any of the pitches.  Webern liked to utilize this in his rows.

Boulez was composer who wished to hide his process and it is almost impossible to find the original series from merely looking at the score.  It is possible and analyses have been done (most famously by Ligeti for Structures 1a, and someone else did a analysis of Marteau Sans Maitre) - but that is not the point, really.

Just listen to the music and don't even think of trying to hear the "series".
Nice explanation, thanks!

"Structures 1a", I admit, was the piece that really turned me off serialism. Recently I discovered "Derive", though, and have been trying to find more things like it (I didn't like "Derive II", but I need to hear it again).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mandryka on May 01, 2014, 08:19:19 AM
Does anyone know if there's a place online where I can read "Sonate, que me veux-tu?"? I have the LP which Rosen made of the third sonata, transferred to FLAC. I'll upload it to symphonyshare if anyone expresses an interest. I wonder what are people's experiences with the this music, whether people have heard any recordings which are particularly satisfying.

Boulez recorded it in 1958. Is it available anywhere?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on May 01, 2014, 04:09:03 PM
Thank you so much!

Interesting -- it isn't a 12-time row. I'll have to look at what he does with this. My first thought would be to make a "photo-negative" and play the missing six notes in a separate series.

There are six six-note series, each built up by rotating the intervals while always starting with Eb.

Strict twelve-tone rows have been passé for quite a long while :).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on May 01, 2014, 04:38:00 PM
What is the relation to Paul Sacher of the (012457) hexachord?  it does not seem to have any special features

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/Boulez_-_Messagesquisse%2C_Sacher_hexachord.png)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacher_hexachord
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: bwv 1080 on May 01, 2014, 04:45:07 PM
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/Boulez_-_Messagesquisse%2C_Sacher_hexachord.png)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacher_hexachord

Cool, had not heard of it
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on May 02, 2014, 10:00:18 AM
Does anyone know if there's a place online where I can read "Sonate, que me veux-tu?"? I have the LP which Rosen made of the third sonata, transferred to FLAC. I'll upload it to symphonyshare if anyone expresses an interest. I wonder what are people's experiences with the this music, whether people have heard any recordings which are particularly satisfying.

Boulez recorded it in 1958. Is it available anywhere?
Concerning Sonate, que me veux-tu? you'll find excerpts (in English) here: http://www.themodernword.com/joyce/music/boulez_sonata.html (scroll down a bit, and you'll get to it)... I only have the complete text in book form in an old Spanish translation of Points de repère (which I can scan, if that's of any use to you)...

I didn't know Boulez had recorded his Third Sonata in 1958, and actually don't recall such a recording listed in any discography (old or new) of his music. I know he did perform it: Antoine Goléa, in his Rencontres avec Pierre Boulez, mentions a performance in Berlin in 1957 which leads him to say that "everyone present was unanimous about Boulez's extraordinary pianism, his stunning virtuosity", etc., etc., and to conclude that Boulez is (or was--the book is from 1958) "the greatest pianist-composer since Bartok"  ??? (boy, was this Goléa prone to exaggeration!--and Boulez's conducting career hadn't even really taken off at the time  :D ).

The only recorded performance of Boulez as a pianist that I know is that of the world premiere of Structures II from Donaueschingen (from 1961, with Yvonne Loriod).

If you find recordings of Boulez on the piano (particularly that elusive Third Sonata 8) ) please do let me know, Mandryka!  ;) And it's about time they issue the Rosen / Boulez disc on CD (ArkivMusic, are you there?  :D ).

Regards,
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mandryka on May 02, 2014, 07:30:09 PM
Concerning Sonate, que me veux-tu? you'll find excerpts (in English) here: http://www.themodernword.com/joyce/music/boulez_sonata.html (scroll down a bit, and you'll get to it)... I only have the complete text in book form in an old Spanish translation of Points de repère (which I can scan, if that's of any use to you)...

I didn't know Boulez had recorded his Third Sonata in 1958, and actually don't recall such a recording listed in any discography (old or new) of his music. I know he did perform it: Antoine Goléa, in his Rencontres avec Pierre Boulez, mentions a performance in Berlin in 1957 which leads him to say that "everyone present was unanimous about Boulez's extraordinary pianism, his stunning virtuosity", etc., etc., and to conclude that Boulez is (or was--the book is from 1958) "the greatest pianist-composer since Bartok"  ??? (boy, was this Goléa prone to exaggeration!--and Boulez's conducting career hadn't even really taken off at the time  :D ).

The only recorded performance of Boulez as a pianist that I know is that of the world premiere of Structures II from Donaueschingen (from 1961, with Yvonne Loriod).

If you find recordings of Boulez on the piano (particularly that elusive Third Sonata 8) ) please do let me know, Mandryka!  ;) And it's about time they issue the Rosen / Boulez disc on CD (ArkivMusic, are you there?  :D ).

Regards,

This paper by Peter O'Hagen mentions Boulez's 1958 recording

http://tinyurl.com/meyl3y4

I may email him to see if he can send me the recording.

Thanks for the link to the translation of "Sonate que me veux-tu?", which I find really intersting. I did not know he was aware of Ulysses, I did not know about his ideas about meaning. I appreciate your offer to scan the spanish translation - but I don't speak spanish! I may well stump up for a copy in French.

It's an atmospheric  piece of music, at least when Idil Biret plays it ;)



Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on May 03, 2014, 03:00:53 AM
I may well stump up for a copy in French.

FWIW, it's also available in this english translation, which I got at Patelson's for $5 :):



Although for Boulez's own articles, I prefer to read in the original.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mandryka on May 03, 2014, 08:42:58 AM
I'm embarrassed to say I have that book, so I'm sorry for wasting your time.

I've just posted the Rosen recording on symphonyshare. It's my favourite performance after Biret.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Kontrapunctus on May 03, 2014, 10:11:30 AM
I'm hearing Pierre-Laurent Aimard play Boulez's complete piano works in Berkeley on 3/12/2015--should be intense, to say the least! (He's joined by Tamara Stefanovich for "Structures, Book 2, for Two Pianos, Four Hands.")
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Leo K. on June 09, 2014, 11:57:57 AM
I'm embarrassed to say I have that book, so I'm sorry for wasting your time.

I've just posted the Rosen recording on symphonyshare. It's my favourite performance after Biret.

The Rosen recording is fantastic, I agree! I was just listening to the Third Sonata. Such a brilliant work. Aces!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mandryka on July 03, 2014, 08:39:02 AM
My latest Boulez discovery is the collection of essays on Pli selon pli, published by Contrechamps (in French) Excellent for anyone who's interested in the text/music relationship, Boulez's ideas about Mallarmé.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on July 03, 2014, 09:47:31 AM
Activity surrounding Boulez seems awfully quiet this year. Anyone read what he's up to? I haven't seen much.  :(

mmm... I've already got my rant filled post at the ready for whenever TheBigDay arrives. :( i've been listening to Babbitt to soften the blow.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on July 03, 2014, 09:49:35 AM
My latest Boulez discovery is the collection of essays on Pli selon pli, published by Contrechamps (in French) Excellent for anyone who's interested in the text/music relationship, Boulez's ideas about Mallarmé.
Thanks for the tip, Mandryka  :). Is the book it veeeery technical in style, or is it approachable for a broad(er) audience?

Regards,

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on July 03, 2014, 10:42:52 AM
Activity surrounding Boulez seems awfully quiet this year. Anyone read what he's up to? I haven't seen much.  :(
I hope he's doing alright. I'm growing to like him as a composer. I certainly like him more than I did six months ago. Those "Notations" for orchestra are phenomenal, as is "Repons" and "Derive I".

That last piece from "Notations"! What a thrilling ride! ... and people say Boulez is cold and calculating (i.e. me six months ago -- god I was so stupid ;D).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mandryka on July 03, 2014, 11:59:01 AM
Thanks for the tip, Mandryka  :). Is the book it veeeery technical in style, or is it approachable for a broad(er) audience?

Regards,

There's hardly any musical notation in the book, it's not about formal analysis of the music. It's about Boulez's intentions and his understanding of Mallarme.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: 7/4 on July 04, 2014, 03:43:30 AM
(http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn38/microtonaldave/tumblr_n7e044UsjH1t06hqzo1_1280_zpsa35f5580.jpg)

And one of the aspects that I love about Boulez's art and in fact most, all of the composers I hold dear is it's intellectual ferocity.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 04, 2014, 05:16:57 AM
Intellectual ferocity is like wet consideration;  the adjective fails to modify, or have aught to do with, the noun.  Boulez is an intellectual, which is neither good nor bad, but just his character;  and questions of good or bad are determined by other criteria.  Where he has been ferocious, please, let us not unctuously rationalize it as a virtue by lauding it as a pursuit of the intellect.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: 7/4 on July 04, 2014, 01:17:48 PM
cash.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: jochanaan on July 04, 2014, 01:25:32 PM
...intellectual ferocity.
That phrase could just as easily apply to Adolf Hitler! :o
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on July 04, 2014, 02:29:16 PM
Hahaha .. they all seem to be extremely happy in his presence! Wonder what's in the briefcase?
Why, the score to "Repons", of course!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: 7/4 on July 05, 2014, 11:37:05 AM
(http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn38/microtonaldave/1661190_10202851431419913_8250212138348961249_n_zps8fdd9175.jpg)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on July 05, 2014, 12:09:31 PM
(http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn38/microtonaldave/1661190_10202851431419913_8250212138348961249_n_zps8fdd9175.jpg)
Haha! Mahler/Berg hammer!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on July 05, 2014, 02:20:50 PM
The Master has a hammer. 8)
Oh, I didn't even think of that! So I guess you could say that the hammer has found its master. ;D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on July 05, 2014, 04:10:36 PM
That phrase could just as easily apply to Adolf Hitler! :o
JS Bach, apotheosis of ferocity?
Dowland, Flow my ferocious tears?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 05, 2014, 04:48:48 PM
L'après-midi d'une férocité
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on July 05, 2014, 05:51:33 PM
L'après-midi d'une férocité
Das Heftigetemperierte Klavier

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ibanezmonster on July 05, 2014, 06:13:56 PM
cash.
Actually, it's full of dildos.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on July 05, 2014, 06:25:26 PM
Actually, it's full of dildos.
Are you sure? I only see one.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on July 06, 2014, 05:11:08 AM
If anyone remembers back to a few years ago when DG let people ask Boulez questions online, they might recall that it's actually Foucault's hammer....
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: 7/4 on July 06, 2014, 09:31:17 AM
Taka Kigawa, piano
Performing Pierre Boulez's complete solo piano music


Le Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker Street, New York City, New York, 10012, United States
On Monday 25 August 2014 at 18:30


sweet, probably expensive.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on July 06, 2014, 10:03:57 AM
sweet, probably expensive.
Not that expensive according to: https://www.ticketprophet.com/events/9713/orders/new
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on July 06, 2014, 12:03:16 PM
sweet, probably expensive.
How much do they pay?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on July 06, 2014, 12:46:12 PM
Love that one. Would like to hear it performed live one day.

I attended the Carnegie Hall performance some years ago. It works much better live than on CD, which is not surprising, as the various strands and especially those coming from the performers located around the audience are much clearer. That said, Le Marteau, which I also saw live a number of times there truly is the chef d'oeuvre.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on July 06, 2014, 02:39:13 PM
I attended the Carnegie Hall performance some years ago. It works much better live than on CD, which is not surprising, as the various strands and especially those coming from the performers located around the audience are much clearer. That said, Le Marteau, which I also saw live a number of times there truly is the chef d'oeuvre.
Never been lucky enough to see Repons live, but I've been surprised by the difference between my reaction to Pli selon pli live (blown away by it--twice) and on CD both before and after (mostly meh and in accordance with Stravinsky's "pretty monotonous and monotonously pretty").
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: 7/4 on July 06, 2014, 05:22:52 PM
Not that expensive according to: https://www.ticketprophet.com/events/9713/orders/new

$25 seems quite reasonable.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 07, 2014, 03:45:05 AM
Never been lucky enough to see Repons live, but I've been surprised by the difference between my reaction to Pli selon pli live (blown away by it--twice) and on CD both before and after (mostly meh and in accordance with Stravinsky's "pretty monotonous and monotonously pretty").

If it happened twice, it can be no fluke :)

I've not heard it live, and the piece has done a pendulum swing with me.  On last hearing, though, I thought fairly well of it.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on August 02, 2014, 12:35:44 PM
Very interesting interview by Michele Dall'Ongaro, from December 2012:

https://www.youtube.com/v/RqkM5o648zI
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mandryka on August 03, 2014, 07:07:45 AM
Thanks, I've listened to about half of it. It made me wonder whether Cage had ever said anything about Boulez's later music. Of course, Cage was dead when Boulez gave that interview, so that makes a difference.

I was interested to hear about how modern music was infused with trans-national, European, values, partly because I've been reading some things Furtwangler wrote about Brahms, and that comes from the opposite point of view (Brahms good because he captures the essence of German Volk culture.) Also that brief mention of the importance of radio stations for giving people the chance to hear new music,mI wonder what he was thinking of. Radio 3 (The Third Programme I think it was called)  and France Musique - or were there pirate classical music radio stations?

Anyway for the links between music, freedom, Nazis, fall of communism - it's been interesting to hear him.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on August 03, 2014, 09:07:16 AM
Thanks, I've listened to about half of it. It made me wonder whether Cage had ever said anything about Boulez's later music. Of course, Cage was dead when Boulez gave that interview, so that makes a difference.

I was interested to hear about how modern music was infused with trans-national, European, values, partly because I've been reading some things Furtwangler wrote about Brahms, and that comes from the opposite point of view (Brahms good because he captures the essence of German Volk culture.) Also that brief mention of the importance of radio stations for giving people the chance to hear new music,mI wonder what he was thinking of. Radio 3 (The Third Programme I think it was called)  and France Musique - or were there pirate classical music radio stations?

Anyway for the links between music, freedom, Nazis, fall of communism - it's been interesting to hear him.
There was an interview where he discussed Cage and I found it interesting that Boulez thought highly of him, at least for a time. Cage even let him stay in his NYC apartment while Boulez was there! They did have a turbulent friendship later, but who didn't have a turbulent relationship with Boulez :D?

That has kept me from totally dismissing Cage's music. Perhaps there is much there and maybe I'll find it later on.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on August 03, 2014, 09:17:09 AM
but who didn't have a turbulent relationship with Boulez :D?


The ones he spat on from the get-go.

As for Cage, get Berman's prepared piano discs on Naxos. Really.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on August 03, 2014, 09:22:53 AM
There was an interview where he discussed Cage and I found it interesting that Boulez thought highly of him, at least for a time. Cage even let him stay in his NYC apartment while Boulez was there! They did have a turbulent friendship later, but who didn't have a turbulent relationship with Boulez :D?

That has kept me from totally dismissing Cage's music. Perhaps there is much there and maybe I'll find it later on.
Have you tried Sonatas & Interludes ?
E: I notice Ken already recommended it. :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on August 03, 2014, 09:35:09 AM
There was an interview where he discussed Cage and I found it interesting that Boulez thought highly of him, at least for a time. Cage even let him stay in his NYC apartment while Boulez was there!

They were good friends and enthusiastically helped one another in getting their music known across the Atlantic. Cage also visited Boulez in Paris and circulated among Boulez's close friends.

The 'fall out' (if you can call it that) occurs when their view of music and art diverges. Arguably, Cage explored the very foundations of the perception of art and the boundary between art and life, and it became too esoteric for Boulez's vision of precision and critical thought.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on August 03, 2014, 10:15:49 AM
They were good friends and enthusiastically helped one another in getting their music known across the Atlantic. Cage also visited Boulez in Paris and circulated among Boulez's close friends.

The 'fall out' (if you can call it that) occurs when their view of music and art diverges. Arguably, Cage explored the very foundations of the perception of art and the boundary between art and life, and it became too esoteric for Boulez's vision of precision and critical thought.
Or a rival.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on August 03, 2014, 10:31:38 AM
Or a rival.

Nah. Boulez didn't feel that way towards Stockhausen, with whom there was much more overlap, so he wouldn't feel in any way threatened by Cage.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on August 03, 2014, 11:21:14 AM
Nah. Boulez didn't feel that way towards Stockhausen, with whom there was much more overlap, so he wouldn't feel in any way threatened by Cage.
Not much of a rival actually when you look at influence or $ either.
Cage did tend to quarrel with people, because he was pretty blunt.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on August 19, 2014, 04:19:04 PM
Kudos to me that I didn't automatically think... you know! ::)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on August 27, 2014, 06:48:05 AM
Looks like this "all-Boulez, only-Boulez" recital by Mr. Kigawa was very special indeed!  :) Pity New York is so far away from Madrid... :(

I notice (with great pleasure) that , more and more, reviews of Pierre Boulez's music move away from (only) using terms such as "cerebral", "experimental" and "mathematical", to include expressions such "gentleness", "sensual", "delicate", "colorful" and "solemn beauty". Because, for me at least, this is profoundly beautiful music....

Thanks for the reviews, James!

Regards,

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on September 06, 2014, 07:12:10 AM
I have been longing for a new Boulez piece .. it's been too long.  :(

I'm hoping with his 90th birthday, something new will be premiered. Just one last piece. (fingers crossed)

Well, Boulez has been working on some additional orchestrations of the Douze Notations, and in the booklet of the "Complete Works - Work in Progress" box on DG issued last year, Claude Samuel mentioned that some 11 minutes of Dérive 3 were already composed...and who knows, perhaps the Waiting for Godot opera may really be in the making (I know, this is wishful thinking, but....)...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on September 06, 2014, 08:12:10 AM
Well, Boulez has been working on some additional orchestrations of the Douze Notations, and in the booklet of the "Complete Works - Work in Progress" box on DG issued last year, Claude Samuel mentioned that some 11 minutes of Dérive 3 were already composed...and who knows, perhaps the Waiting for Godot opera may really be in the making (I know, this is wishful thinking, but....)...

Well, Boulez has been working on some additional orchestrations of the Douze Notations, and in the booklet of the "Complete Works - Work in Progress" box on DG issued last year, Claude Samuel mentioned that some 11 minutes of Dérive 3 were already composed...and who knows, perhaps the Waiting for Godot opera may really be in the making (I know, this is wishful thinking, but....)...
I'd like to see more of the Notations orchestrated. I think that they make a more-than-worthy (although late) addition to the trio of the Schoenberg/Berg/Webern Funf/Drei/Sechs Orchesterstucke.

And thanks to syprrr, now I always am fearing the worst when I see this thread bumped!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on September 15, 2014, 04:30:46 AM
This debate with Pierre Boulez in Amsterdam some 20 years ago is very interesting. In a very relaxed tone, Boulez talks about his development as a conductor (with concrete examples of Webern--opus 10--and Debussy--Jeux--), his admiration for Ligeti, Carter, Birtwistle, etc.

The sound quality is not excellent, but the video is certainly worth viewing for anyone with an interest in Boulez's work.

http://www.youtube.com/v/xVq3ulNnWn0
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on September 15, 2014, 05:14:55 AM
And thanks to syprrr, now I always am fearing the worst when I see this thread bumped!

mmmmm

I'd LIKE to think that I'd see "it" before I got here- meaning, that the outside world would take notice and I'd see it on the Yahoo header or whatever. But, yea, every time I see this Thread bumped... gulp (or "yaaay" depending on your...)...

btw- a New Work? Come ON people,- it would be so scrubbed and "perfect"- it would sound soooooo 1973- please- no more orchestrations, piano trifles, - "Godot"???? uuugggghhhhh... noNoNOOOO!!!!!!

Unless Boulez Composes a Violin Concerto at 90 I'm just not interested. I just don't believe he's got anything to say that I want to hear. Why can't we just accept that 'Repons' and 'Sur incises' IS WHAT WE GOT? "GOT"- like in past tense. He DID die. oy vey- we're not going to get anything... come on people...

I'll pull for a Violin Concerto, but otherwise, good night Petey! CONDUCT SOME XENAKIS fffs


\sorry for the rant :-[ :-[ :-[
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 15, 2014, 05:21:08 AM
Composing was always just a wing of his larger aim to Propagandize 8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on September 15, 2014, 01:04:58 PM
I just read this biography on Boulez called Composer, Conductor, Enigma. What a character! There was this funny story where Boulez was recalling an argument with Stockhausen about a performance of the latter's Mixtur. Paraphrasing Boulez, "He told me that he still hasn't heard a good performance of it. I told him that this is because it isn't a very good piece." :laugh:

I laughed so hard when I read that.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 15, 2014, 01:24:02 PM
Paraphrasing Boulez, "He told me that he still hasn't heard a good performance of it. I told him that this is because it isn't a very good piece." :laugh:

Let's just hope to god that James doesn't read that. It could destroy his faith in both composers  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on September 15, 2014, 01:28:18 PM
I just read this biography on Boulez called Composer, Conductor, Enigma. What a character! There was this funny story where Boulez was recalling an argument with Stockhausen about a performance of the latter's Mixtur. Paraphrasing Boulez, "He told me that he still hasn't heard a good performance of it. I told him that this is because it isn't a very good piece." :laugh:

I laughed so hard when I read that.

From the Simon Rattle series of 20th C. music LEAVING HOME (it's on Youtube, watch it if you haven't)

When asked by a string player “why do we have all these parts when surely they can't all be heard. We have rehearsed them for hours, we have practiced them for days. Why have you written them if they can't be heard?“, Boulez answered: “It's not that. It's just that if you see a tree, you don't see each individual leaf, but you can certainly see if the leaves aren't there, and I need all of you playing, I need all of the leaves.”
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on September 15, 2014, 01:32:36 PM
From the Simon Rattle series of 20th C. music LEAVING HOME (it's on Youtube, watch it if you haven't)

When asked by a string player “why do we have all these parts when surely they can't all be heard. We have rehearsed them for hours, we have practiced them for days. Why have you written them if they can't be heard?“, Boulez answered: “It's not that. It's just that if you see a tree, you don't see each individual leaf, but you can certainly see if the leaves aren't there, and I need all of you playing, I need all of the leaves.”
I've seen it before -- a very, very good film. Fueled my interest in Messiaen. I remember that quote from Rattle's documentary. There was also the one about Messiaen where he asked to for the orchestra to play "a little more bluish-green" or something like that.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on September 15, 2014, 01:39:14 PM
I've seen it before -- a very, very good film. Fueled my interest in Messiaen. I remember that quote from Rattle's documentary. There was also the one about Messiaen where he asked to for the orchestra to play "a little more bluish-green" or something like that.
Yes, those synaesthetic guidances always crack me up, as if anyone else knows what he is talking about - even if they happen to have that form of synaesthesia, they're hardly likely to see the same colours when hearing the same notes..
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on September 15, 2014, 03:01:04 PM
Yes, those synaesthetic guidances always crack me up, as if anyone else knows what he is talking about - even if they happen to have that form of synaesthesia, they're hardly likely to see the same colours when hearing the same notes..
Last month or so I was with my friend at the piano imitating Messiaen playing a scale of really dissonant chords with my eyes closed, saying things like "Voila, c'est bleu-violet avec un peu rouge, un peu gris..." (I was exaggerating in my impersonation, but there was a similar clip of Messiaen in Rattle's documentary).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on September 15, 2014, 04:42:27 PM
From the Simon Rattle series of 20th C. music LEAVING HOME (it's on Youtube, watch it if you haven't)

When asked by a string player “why do we have all these parts when surely they can't all be heard. We have rehearsed them for hours, we have practiced them for days. Why have you written them if they can't be heard?“, Boulez answered: “It's not that. It's just that if you see a tree, you don't see each individual leaf, but you can certainly see if the leaves aren't there, and I need all of you playing, I need all of the leaves.”

In this case I applaud him for not having a "Hitler Rant" and smackin' the fiddler!! How daaare he... question... a... Composer  (seriously though- what do you mean "Why?")


Composing was always just a wing of his larger aim to Propagandize 8)

I'd muuuch rather hear Spaulding Gray do an hour of Boulezisms than hear another quantum hexachord. ::)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on September 16, 2014, 06:13:03 AM
Sound like the 1970s? ..  You mean the decade where he composed next to nothing and spent probably more time arguing with Stockhausen about Mixtur and talking shit about about Xenakis and how IX should have stayed in Architecture ..? And you can forget the Violin Concerto commission he received from Annie Sophie Mutter decades ago .. he's recently said "it's too late".

 :(


oh come on Petey- just Compose something NICE- maybe some nice melodies- do the "goin' back to Schubert" thing everyone ends up doing. Come on--- ya can't just write a 10 minute Violin Concerto with an impossible melody? oy

"decades ago"

"it's too late"


errrrr.... uhhh.....

It was apparently too late decades ago. :(


I guess when I said "70s" I really meant Berio.---- "Berio, the '70s Boulez"
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 16, 2014, 07:03:54 AM
Professional Gadfly . . . ♫ It's a hard habit to break . . . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on October 11, 2014, 03:42:36 AM
THanks for posting that, James. I didn't know this video, and seeing Boulez at his most didactic is a real pleasure.

I didn't know the Donatoni piece, which is really inetersting (and more so when explained so clearly).

 :) :) :)

Regards,
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on October 12, 2014, 04:18:08 PM
Boulez, 20th Century
56 minutes, 40 seconds - documentary

http://www.youtube.com/v/ddEVRvNdL1I

This is part of the 6-part Boulez XXe siècle, an outstanding and detailed survey about some of the key pieces of the 20th Century. It was this series that turned me on to contemporary music, when it came out. You can watch it in full here (http://medias.ircam.fr/x338e91).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on October 13, 2014, 09:04:01 AM
thought it coulda been today :(
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mandryka on October 14, 2014, 10:30:35 AM
What is a formant?  (as in the 3rd piano sonata.)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on October 14, 2014, 10:34:40 AM
What is a formant?  (as in the 3rd piano sonata.)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_sonatas_(Boulez) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_sonatas_(Boulez))
Quote
Of the unpublished movements (or "formants", as Boulez calls them)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mandryka on October 14, 2014, 11:15:14 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_sonatas_(Boulez)

Yes, I know he called the sections formants, but what is a formant -- did he invent the word? That sounds like a strange thing to do.

I recently heard it in a discussion of Messiaen too.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on October 14, 2014, 11:20:24 AM
Yes, I know he called the sections formants, but what is a formant -- did he invent the word? That sounds like a strange thing to do.

I recently heard it in a discussion of Messiaen too.


Here's what Wikipedia says... (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formant)

Quote
Formants are the distinguishing or meaningful frequency components of human articulation and of singing.

Formants are defined by Gunnar Fant[1] as "the spectral peaks of the sound spectrum of the voice". In speech science and phonetics, formant is also used to mean an acoustic resonance[2] of the human vocal tract. It is often measured as an amplitude peak in the frequency spectrum of the sound, using a spectrogram (in the figure) or a spectrum analyzer, though in vowels spoken with a high fundamental frequency, as in a female or child voice, the frequency of the resonance may lie between the widely-spread harmonics and hence no peak is visible.

In acoustics, it refers to a peak in the sound envelope and/or to a resonance in sound sources, notably musical instruments, as well as that of sound chambers. Any room can be said to have a formant unique to that particular room, due to the way sound may bounce differently across its walls and objects. Room formants of this nature reinforce themselves by emphasizing specific frequencies and absorbing others, as exploited, for example, by Alvin Lucier in his piece I Am Sitting in a Room.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mandryka on October 14, 2014, 11:58:00 AM

Here's what Wikipedia says... (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formant)

Thanks. Much appreciated.

But now the problem is to explain how all that techie stuff makes sense in the context of the sonata.

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on October 14, 2014, 04:18:01 PM
Boulez's proposed the term "formant" to replace the traditional term "movement" in this aleatoric work. Since the sections of the third piano sonata can be placed in the order of the performer's choosing, they do not move the piece forward to a defined end, so the term "movement" was deemed inappropriate. It has nothing to do with acoustics, as North Star misunderstands.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on October 14, 2014, 09:45:42 PM
Boulez's proposed the term "formant" to replace the traditional term "movement" in this aleatoric work. Since the sections of the third piano sonata can be placed in the order of the performer's choosing, they do not move the piece forward to a defined end, so the term "movement" was deemed inappropriate. It has nothing to do with acoustics, as North Star misunderstands.
I did not think that Boulez's usage of the term had necessarily anything to do with that meaning, but Boulez didn't invent the word, just seems to have made up a new meaning for it.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on October 15, 2014, 02:03:39 AM
Formant is French for to shape, form, fix, develop, mold, make etc.
Well, actually, formant as a noun, in all dictionaries I've read, only refers to the concept used in phonetics (mentioned by North Star). As far as I understand it, Boulez uses the word as the participle of the verb former, with the sense(s) that James has mentioned. So, to a certain extent, it is a neologism of sorts...

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on October 15, 2014, 02:25:54 AM
OK, whatever...but the noun formant does (did) not exist in French with the meaning that Boulez clearly uses for it (or in Spanish or Italian, for that matter)...::)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on October 15, 2014, 04:21:36 AM
On a different note, the soon-to-be-opened Philharmonie in Paris will host a "Boulez weekend" in March 2015, to celebrate the composer's 90th birthday. A highlight will be a concert with students of the Paris conservatoire, with world premiers of homages to Boulez by composers such as Betsy Jolas, Bruno Mantovani, Philippe Manoury, Hugues Dufourt, and many more...

Also, an exhibition on Boulez will run from March through June...

http://saison-2015.philharmoniedeparis.fr/weekends/agenda?field_theme_tid=569
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mandryka on October 15, 2014, 07:20:54 AM
Formant. One alternative way of looking at it is that Boulez meant to draw attention to the music as an exploration of resonanaces, there's an awful lot of pedal directions in the score. I just listened to Rosen playing it, listening out for the resonances - this may well be a good way into the music.

Has anyone here studied the score? I wonder if there are any special, unusual, pedal effects.

When he was writing Pli selon Pli, he was interested in the idea of a form which was continually fresh and being formed in performance. This was something he and Stockhausen thought was special about a Gamelan concert they heard. So the idea of music as something in perpetual formation, rather than fitting into an existing preestablished structure, is a very Bolezian idea. So I'm quite attracted to the idea that he chose "formant" to suggest something "forming"

The question is proving to be quite a fruitful one.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mandryka on October 15, 2014, 08:10:49 AM
In his discussion of Messiaen's Catalogue d'oiseaux, Harry Holbreich defines the notion of a formant as "sound-objects, bird song, a complex of colours or of rhythms, of course never resembling each other from one appearance to the next, taking the place of the old idea of themes."
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: torut on October 15, 2014, 05:45:03 PM
In Par volonté et par hasard, Boulez told something similar to what CRCulver posted. The interviewer questioned about the term formant used for the third sonata because that surprised him. Boulez contrasted the term formant with another term développant, the former being uniform but movable and the latter being non-uniform and possibly interfered each other. He didn't explain why he used present participles. They are related to the structure, and he didn't say anything about the sound spectrum or resonances.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 20, 2014, 04:19:05 AM
In Par volonté et par hasard, Boulez told something similar to what CRCulver posted. The interviewer questioned about the term formant used for the third sonata because that surprised him. Boulez contrasted the term formant with another term développant, the former being uniform but movable and the latter being non-uniform and possibly interfered each other. He didn't explain why he used present participles. They are related to the structure, and he didn't say anything about the sound spectrum or resonances.

Interesting, thank you.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on October 20, 2014, 08:10:10 AM
I just had a bowel formant. Please call a doctor!! ???
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 27, 2014, 07:27:13 AM
I think you've got an excellent point there, Così.... It seems that if Boulez attacks something we like, then he's an unremitting ass. But Boulez's proselytizing is the result of a thoroughly intellectual approach to the art of music, and to the need (undiminished to this day) to put accross a certain way of looking at this art.

I don't think it is necessarily that.  Stravinsky expressed coy opinions about many composers, and while I do not share his dislike of Vivaldi (e.g.), one writes such remarks off.
 
But I think, in the first place, that a thoroughly intellectual approach to music is of itself fundamentally wrong-headed; and that Boulez has been disingenuous to some degree or another in many of his musical fatwas over the decades.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 27, 2014, 07:29:30 AM
I didn't know anything about Boulez' behaviour and character before. In general though I dislike ideologies and their aggressive disciples. So many things were considered "the latest", "the only possible way, 'nowadays'", and history has passed over it ... It is so unwise and immature, and lacking respect for the other. I have no problem if someone passionately dislikes something, but I passionateley dislike it myself if someone proclaims his beliefs to be "the right way, and the only way".

Yes, the whole "clique mindset" is activist, and inartistic.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cosi bel do on October 27, 2014, 07:45:51 AM
Well, first let's not lose all that has been said already :

Well, a lot of people don't like Richard Strauss. Me, I'd happily give Boulez the finger.

For some reason I thought that you liked Boulez... Didn't you say that you enjoy the piano sonatas?

These were actually the works that turned me off of his music for a long time.

I'd give Bach the finger if he were like Boulez as a person.

Oh, I see what you mean. Well, he's gotten better... I was talking to the former conductor at my university last year about Boulez and he said that he's met him a few times and comes across as very friendly.

Some of his old quotes are (unintentionally) hilarious, though. My favorite is the one I mentioned earlier about Stockhausen: "He still complains that he hasn't heard a good recording of his Mixture. I told him that its because it is not a very good piece." Then there's always the brothel music one directed at Messiaen.

That's not a very nice thing to say about our dear Bouboule :(

...who's pen may have been very sharp, but personally is extremely well-mannered and pleasant. I had the chance to briefly exchange some words with him; as a teenager--me, not him  ;)--in Bayreuth in 1979, and then more recently in the nineties in Madrid and in a on-line conversation in the now extinct Deutsche Grammophon forum, and he was charming...

Yes. I guess he's actually very French : a little egocentrical, with sharp ideas and a will to express them, but well-mannered, polite and (as far as I know) quite humane.

Who organizes riots to suppress music he doesn't like.
If he had had the power he's have been a second Zhdanov.

Yeah, at least according to Ross's book, when he was younger he was a manipulative little &%$#.  As I recall, he would vindictively attack Stravinsky behind his back for not being radical enough and selling out progressive ideals, and then turn around and kiss his ass because he needed him on a bill with "good" (i.e.. more "modern") composers so as to get funding and sell tickets.  Whats more surprising is he later he built up his rep by conducting the Stravinsky oeuvre.   Not particularly admirable.
    But then conductors, like generals, are often unattractive when studied closely.  Best to just measure them by what they produced.

Well, he was 20 years old, and he led a riot against the neoclassical programs (with Stravinsky works, but that was a secondary question) of the first concerts of contemporary music in Paris after the Libération.
So, 2 things :
- first, I think anyone i entitled to a few mistakes or excessive acts at such a young age, and such "mistakes" are certainly preferable to those of an old Cortot ;
- furthermore, I don't think his position, at such a time, was entirely uncalled for : for years so much music had been banned as entartete and, when it was possible again to play it, the fact that some neoclassical Stravinsky was programmed could not only be conceived as timid, but might have fueled the feeling that it was also kind of a forced choice, when American troops were still everywhere around.

I therefore think these accusations are really utterly ridiculous and insulting for a man who has always resisted political establishment (refusing to conduct in Paris Opera for the rest of his life after Barenboim was unfairly sacked) but used it also when it was useful for others (to fund the permanent Ensemble InterContemporain in Paris, for instance). A man who defended the works of so many composers (including Stravinsky) at times and in places when it was not always easy to play them, and fought at the same time for low ticket prices and free educative concerts. Nobody is perfect, and Boulez is not the only one who did such things, but he is certainly among the best models for younger conductors.

Well, Ross's statements are not quite exact (and, AFAIK, Ross is not really much of a Boulez fan). Boulez never made a secret of his distaste for anything neoclassical (including Stravinsky's music of the 30s and 40s). Simultaneously, he has always acknowledged his admiration for the "Russian" works (Sacre, Les Noces, etc., etc.).  Igor Stravinsky was fully aware of this, but yet maintained a cordial relationship with the junior composer that had started on a very good note at a dinner party in NYC (organized by Virgil Thomson, IIRC) in the late 40s . There were lots of disagreements (most notably, after the disatrous Paris première of Threni), but still, both men respected and, I'd say, were fond each other until Stravinsky's death. This might be difficult to assess completely, of course, because our knowledge of late Stravinsky is somewhat distorted (for lack of a better word) by Robert Craft--and it does seem there was no love lost between Craft and Boulez from the late 1950s onwards.

I for one can perfectly understand the"angry young man" Boulez (in the immediate post-WW II period) vehemently attacking what was considered the musical "establishment", in order to publicize his ideas and promote a (then) new and radical aesthetics. And the main symbol of that establishment were Stravinsky's works of the 30s and 40s, which were given in the infamous concert in 1945 or 1946--conducted by Manuel Rosenthal and booed by members of the "younger generation" (apparently Boulez himself was not present that evening, but he has said he would have booed if he had been  :D ).

Well, Boulez is within his rights to express his musical distastes with scorn and disdain (which is a practice he has not particularly grown out of);  but I am under no obligation to admire him for that practice (weakness, I should say).
 
Also (probably predictably, as I am both a composer and a conductor) I am loth to generalize about either conductors or composers based on Boulez as an individual.  I appreciate the efforts here to think the best of Boulez;  I just wonder how many misdemeanors we must wink at, over the long years.

Yes, I don't admire Boulez at all as a person. He's an amazing musician, but his personal likes and dislikes never interested me. At the end of the day, he's not doing himself any favors by expressing these dislikes however. I think a musician of his caliber should be a professional and knowing just the way he treated Dutilleux in his younger days alone is enough for me, like Ken, to give him the finger, but I can restrain myself of course. :)

Again, massive disrespect mainly based on rumors. For a long time, Boulez made a point not talking about Dutilleux, not even pronouncing his name, because he didn't feel like criticizing a colleague but didn't share much with him on a musical ground. But this changed in the 80s and Boulez frequently acknowledged his respect for the late compositions by Dutilleux. If not friends, they both had developed a deep respect for each other and mutually appreciated their contributions.

Anyone is entitled to see himself as a member of the "anti-boulezian" tendency. But let's stop pretending there are musical reasons under these postures, when everyone knows on which ground this opposition lies, really.

I think you've got an excellent point there, Così.... It seems that if Boulez attacks something we like, then he's an unremitting ass. But Boulez's proselytizing is the result of a thoroughly intellectual approach to the art of music, and to the need (undiminished to this day) to put accross a certain way of looking at this art.

So, I may enjoy a Verdi opera thoroughly, but can understand Boulez when he says Verdi is "stupid, stupid, stupid!"  :D. For many reasons (I'm originally Venezuelan, I'm a bit of a francophile, and I really admire Marcel Proust), I have a weak spot for Reynaldo Hahn; so, when I read in an interview, that Boulez had said "Reynaldo Hahn died just one year after taking over the directorship of the Paris Opera, thank God"  ::), it kind of hurt, but I can appreciate Boulez not having any time to lose  with the Reynaldo Hahn's of this world. And there's many more examples...

I've read somewhere that Boulez is a hypocrite because he was very polite to Shostakovitch when he met him (in Moscow), even if he despises his music...What did people expect? For him to spit on good old Dmitri? Really...

Sorry! André is right...we're going way off-topic here. Aplogies for that  :-[

I didn't know anything about Boulez' behaviour and character before. In general though I dislike ideologies and their aggressive disciples. So many things were considered "the latest", "the only possible way, 'nowadays'", and history has passed over it ... It is so unwise and immature, and lacking respect for the other. I have no problem if someone passionately dislikes something, but I passionateley dislike it myself if someone proclaims his beliefs to be "the right way, and the only way".

I will never forget a little experience at school: I had newly discovered a composer I had never heard of before, and when I talked about it to my teacher his answer was "But he is so un-progressive/backward!". Oh, I thought (a pity I didn't say it then :-), that's how you judge, it's not about what he means to you, or what your student is enthusiastic about, it is about compliance with "the received way". I found this so shallow.

PS: I'm not very keen on this composer, Werner Egk, any more :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on October 27, 2014, 07:52:27 AM
I personally feel that Boulez's legacy will not be one of fondness but rather one that is looked back upon as wishing he would have taken a less aggressive approach to criticizing music he didn't enjoy and for being a bit more humble about music in general. I certainly don't think his music has made much of an impact, but his work as a conductor is quite noteworthy and deserves, at least, some reverence.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 27, 2014, 07:57:25 AM
Well, first let's not lose all that has been said already :

Thanks for your efforts.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brian on October 27, 2014, 08:00:26 AM
I personally feel that Boulez's legacy will not be one of fondness but rather one that is looked back upon as wishing he would have taken a less aggressive approach to criticizing music he didn't enjoy and for being a bit more humble about music in general. I certainly don't think his music has made much of an impact, but his work as a conductor is quite noteworthy and deserves, at least, some reverence.

I don't think Boulez's "legacy" will be negative criticism of others' music. We certainly remember the feud between Wagner and Brahms, or the bitter contempt Bartok had for Shostakovich, but we do not remember these things as essential parts of their legacy. Bartok is a great example - laughter at Shostakovich is written right into the score of the Concerto for Orchestra, where it has been made immortal and unforgettable. Bartok's contempt is thus much more permanent, long-lasting, and outspoken than any words Boulez may have said in his youth. But I hope that there is no listener who loses respect of Bartok for doing this.

This is especially true because of the changes which came to Boulez in maturity, well captured in the posts by ritter and Cosi bel do. Well captured also in his great recordings of Stravinsky, Ravel, Debussy, Mahler, etc. With a critic and thinker like Boulez, the act of recording that music says something very important about his artistic point of view.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on October 27, 2014, 08:05:02 AM
I don't think Boulez's "legacy" will be negative criticism of others' music. We certainly remember the feud between Wagner and Brahms, or the bitter contempt Bartok had for Shostakovich, but we do not remember these things as essential parts of their legacy. Bartok is a great example - laughter at Shostakovich is written right into the score of the Concerto for Orchestra, where it has been made immortal and unforgettable. Bartok's contempt is thus much more permanent, long-lasting, and outspoken than any words Boulez may have said in his youth. But I hope that there is no listener who loses respect of Bartok for doing this.

This is especially true because of the changes which came to Boulez in maturity, well captured in the posts by ritter and Cosi bel do. Well captured also in his great recordings of Stravinsky, Ravel, Debussy, Mahler, etc. With a critic and thinker like Boulez, the act of recording that music says something very important about his artistic point of view.

Certainly his actions have spoken louder than his words.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on October 27, 2014, 08:13:44 AM
I don't think it is necessarily that.  Stravinsky expressed coy opinions about many composers, and while I do not share his dislike of Vivaldi (e.g.), one writes such remarks off.
 
But I think, in the first place, that a thoroughly intellectual approach to music is of itself fundamentally wrong-headed; and that Boulez has been disingenuous to some degree or another in many of his musical fatwas over the decades.
Why would we be more lenient on good old Igor than on good old Pierre? Stravinsky was extremely influential in his day, and had some very unpleasant things to say about Vivaldi, and Mahler, and Wagner, and...actually, I've had access to an interview from the thirties in which he dismisses all German music (with the exception of Bach). Wasn't he doing that to put across his aesthetic views? And I rank Stravinsky--including much of his neoclassical music-- and Wagner at the very top of my own personal pantheon (in case there's any doubt  ;) ).

What I don't understand is why "a thoroughly intellectual approach to music is of itself fundamentally wrong-headed"? Aren't we being as intolerant with Boulez as we say he is with others?  ??? I understand many not sharing that view, but one cannot deny that Boulez is a very, very eloquent proselytizer and that he argues his postions rather successfully... Excessive perhaps? Of course, but he is a man with a mission, and as such a necessary and irreplaceable figure of music of the past 65 years!  :)

It is clear that I cannot be impartial in this: Boulez has accompanied my love of music since I'm about 15, when my father gave me as a present his Parsifal from Bayreuth (at the time my lifelong admiration for Wagner was starting). Then I heard (of all places, in the inflight entertainment system of an Air France flight from Paris to Caracas  ??? ) parts of Le Marteau, and was fascinated...And then he opened the doors of Stravinsky, Debussy, Ravel and many more to me...For that, I can only thank him 'til the end of my life. I consider Pierre Boulez one of the strongest intellectual (yes, that is the word) influences on me (even if there's much of his theoretical oeuvre that is way beyond my level of comprehension). And his recordings and the numerous occasions I've seen him live I will always cherish... :)

Cheers,,

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on October 27, 2014, 08:15:29 AM
Boulez is, alas, one of the greatest conductors ever in his chosen repertoire. I think he had(has) an immense talent. Talent is no excuse for being a shit, and shouldn't ward off "the finger". Wagner had even greater talent and left an astonishing artistic legacy. Wagner is one of the greatest and most influential creative geniuses in history.  But I'd give him the finger, and I bet Ritter, Cosi and others would too. Conclusion: Boulez's art is irrelevant to the question.
Boulez worked to punish those composers (and audiences!), the "USELESS" and "STUPID STUPID STUPID" ones, whose music and taste did not fit his ideology of what music should or must be.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on October 27, 2014, 08:19:35 AM
I certainly don't think his music has made much of an impact, but his work as a conductor is quite noteworthy and deserves, at least, some reverence.
I do hope you give Boulez's music another chance...it may be difficult (but you know, "no pain, no gain"  ;) ), but once you've made the effort to appreciate it, the intense (almost hedonistic) and profound beauty of his soundworld just bowls you over... I think it is a bit daring to say his music has not made much of an impact, frankly... :-X
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cosi bel do on October 27, 2014, 08:19:57 AM
Thanks to everyone for this very interesting discussion of Boulez. It's actually increased my respect for Boulez. (And also made me very happy, not for the first time, that Cosi bel do has chosen to return to the forum.)

Thanks  8)
I'm happy if it has given a little balance to Boulez's image :)

I didn't know anything about Boulez' behaviour and character before. In general though I dislike ideologies and their aggressive disciples. So many things were considered "the latest", "the only possible way, 'nowadays'", and history has passed over it ... It is so unwise and immature, and lacking respect for the other. I have no problem if someone passionately dislikes something, but I passionateley dislike it myself if someone proclaims his beliefs to be "the right way, and the only way".

Well, I think Boulez must not dislike entirely the reject or even hatred expressed towards him. I don't think you leave such a long-lasting impression without finding a little pleasure in it. I seems to me he likes controversy and is not afraid being disliked. And, frankly, in the times he lived in, a young adult during 2nd World War, a conductor and composer with radical left beliefs but working in the West and not an admirer of the soviet system, I guess this attitude is quite honourable.
That said, he is only a musician, and in such a profession as in any you can find all types of behaviours, and not always pleasant ones. But even in his expressions of distaste, at least Boulez never appeared petty as far as I know, and never seemed to act in order to preserve his own personal interests, as illustrate the fact that he never wanted anything to do with the Opéra de Paris anymore, or repeatedly criticized the French political milieu as a whole as very poorly cultured and deeply ignorant of the arts. His postures (strong, radical, extreme...), his will to express clear opinions without bowing before authorities make of him something of a musical Jean-Paul Sartre.

About his legacy, he will certainly be remembered as a conductor more than a composer, but let's face it, there are not many composers from the 2nd half of the last century who are better known than the most famous conductors. I'd say none of them, actually. But among composers, I'm not sure Boulez will be entirely forgotten. Or this means a lot of music of the same period will also be...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 27, 2014, 08:20:41 AM
It is clear that I cannot be impartial in this:

I don't require that you be impartial, that you be (nor pretend to be) purely intellectual here.

Perhaps I am lenient to Stravinsky because he composed a great body of work, and much of it is of surpassing excellence, and some few pieces from their midst were landmark works.

Boulez gave us ready and sharp opinions . . . and did a little composing.  Someone would have done that boy a service if early on they'd said, "Shut up and play yer guitar."
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on October 27, 2014, 08:25:05 AM
I don't require that you be impartial, that you be (nor pretend to be) purely intellectual here.

Perhaps I am lenient to Stravinsky because he composed a great body of work, and much of it is of surpassing excellence, and some few pieces from their midst were landmark works.

Boulez gave us ready and sharp opinions . . . and did a little composing.  Someone would have done that boy a service if early on they'd said, "Shut up and play yer guitar."

Stravinsky's musical pronouncements are all over the map. Some seem frankly stupid. But one thing there never were was part of a an effort to suppress other people's music.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cosi bel do on October 27, 2014, 08:25:28 AM
Boulez is, alas, one of the greatest conductors ever in his chosen repertoire. I think he had(has) an immense talent. Talent is no excuse for being a shit, and shouldn't ward off "the finger". Wagner had even greater talent and left an astonishing artistic legacy. Wagner is one of the greatest and most influential creative geniuses in history.  But I'd give him the finger, and I bet Ritter, Cosi and others would too. Conclusion: Boulez's art is irrelevant to the question.
Boulez worked to punish those composers (and audiences!), the "USELESS" and "STUPID STUPID STUPID" ones, whose music and taste did not fit his ideology of what music should or must be.

I don't think I would give the finger to Wagner, no, I don't see why I should judge a man of the 19th century with my 21th century spirit and values. I'm sure I wouldn't agree on everything with Beethoven, Bach or Josquin Desprez either...

But I sure respect more Boulez as a person as I would have respected Cortot, or Karajan, or Mengelberg, or many other musicians I can still admire as musicians but who have, in my opinion, not been entirely innocent when considering their personal contribution to history.
And stop describing Boulez as something he is not. He never punished anyone, and never banned any composer from concerts as a musical director. There are just many works he wouldn't conduct himself. I don't think a musician should have an obligation to perform any piece of music.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cosi bel do on October 27, 2014, 08:27:11 AM
Stravinsky's musical pronouncements are all over the map. Some seem frankly stupid. But one thing there never were was part of a an effort to suppress other people's music.

Well, again, Boulez did not do anything like that either.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 27, 2014, 08:32:47 AM
Stravinsky's musical pronouncements are all over the map. Some seem frankly stupid. But one thing there never were was part of a an effort to suppress other people's music.

That is fair.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on October 27, 2014, 08:36:53 AM
Well, again, Boulez did not do anything like that either.

Of course he did. Cosi bel do, let me quote Cosi bel do:
Quote
he led a riot against the neoclassical programs
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on October 27, 2014, 08:41:54 AM
I think that Boulez’s music will last for at least as long as there’s an Ensemble Intercontemporain. In recent years, as his own conducting has declined, his ensemble works have been taken up by Mälkki, Mantovani and Pintscher. His piano works have got several new recordings in recent years. Quatuor Diotima is touring his Livre pour cordes. I think his legacy will do fine, at least for a while.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 27, 2014, 08:42:59 AM
I think that Boulez’s music will last for at least as long as there’s an Ensemble Intercontemporain. In recent years, as his own conducting has declined, his ensemble works have been taken up by Mälkki, Mantovani and Pintscher. His piano works have got several new recordings in recent years. Quatuor Diotima is touring his Livre pour cordes. I think his legacy will do fine, at least for a while.

Few though his works be, he is at the head of his class.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on October 27, 2014, 08:46:13 AM
 
Well, again, Boulez did not do anything like that either.
Exactly...it would appear that Boulez had intended (and, moreover, achieved  :o ) to wipe all music he didn't like off the map...that is nonsense  >:(. When he was most vociferous in transmitting his views and "message" (the mid-sixties, when his conducting career really started to take off), Shostakovitch was being performed all over the world, Britten's War Requiem was the best selling classical record in the UK for years,  the repertoire of opera houses (those that had to be "blown up"  :D ) was still mainly Puccini, Verdi, Ponchielli, Gounod, etc., and the daily bread-and-butter of most symphony orchestras around the world was Brahms and Tchaikovsky...But there was one man who said: "music is much more than this, music must be much more than this" and didn't take the easy route of furthering his conducting career by performing the war horses (which he disliked), but rather worked to open the eyes (or rather, the ears) of many to another, very rich world... And I, at least, am grateful to Boulez for this... 8)

Funnily, when asked the cliché question in an interview: "Whom from the past would you have wanted to have dinner with?", his answer was "Richard Wagner"  :D Birds of a feather, I guess...  ;)

Of course he did. Cosi bel do, let me quote Cosi bel do: "he led a riot against the neoclassical programs"
He was 20 years old at the time, and virtually unknown...You make it sound as if, as the grand seigneur of contemporary music, he had sent a parcel bomb form his office at IRCAM (which would not be founded for another 30 years or so) or something like that  ::)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brian on October 27, 2014, 08:55:29 AM
If we were all assessed, at the ends of our careers, based on the stupid things we said and did at the age of 20, we would all be doomed to shame and disgrace everlasting.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 27, 2014, 09:00:44 AM
If we were all assessed, at the ends of our careers, based on the stupid things we said and did at the age of 20, we would all be doomed to shame and disgrace everlasting.

That's true.

Have I missed something?  Because my impression is that Boulez has remained gadflyish well beyond any question of youthful indiscretion.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 27, 2014, 09:06:11 AM
Quote from: Boulez
History is much like the guillotine. If a composer is not moving in the right direction he will be killed, metaphorically speaking.

There is no offense in this, to be sure;  but the idea of there being one right direction is so . . . quaint.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brian on October 27, 2014, 09:13:29 AM
That's true.

Have I missed something?  Because my impression is that Boulez has remained gadflyish well beyond any question of youthful indiscretion.
Ken is making the charge that Boulez actively suppressed music he disliked and tried to restrict artistic freedoms, which is very different from being gadflyish.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 27, 2014, 10:02:37 AM
I think that is overstating the case.  I don't think that is overstating what he wishes he might do, but we are not (unlike Boulez in his wilder days) the Thought Police  ;)
 
American composers in New York and environs may have thought that his appointment as M.D. of the NY Phil would have proven something of an opportunity for local talent;  the point was raised that a musician should not be obliged to perform music he does not like, which I think something of an impractically idealist notion.  But certainly Boulez only advanced the music of contemporaries whose work he favored.  Heck, we might say the same of Alex Ross in his best-selling book.
 
To repeat, there are aspects of his career where I wish I could think better of him than it seems to me that the facts justify.  But I think of him more as petty and tawdry than as guilty.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on October 27, 2014, 10:19:30 AM
Well, I hope we at least agree that Alex Ross is no Pierre Boulez  :D... we can like or dislike Boulez as an artist and as a thinker, but he undoubtedly is one of the crucial figures in music since WW II. I really can't see Alex Ross's claim to fame (if there is one) being remotely in the league of Boulez's... This is like comparing Eduard Hanslick to Richard Wagner... ;)

On the other issue, I really don't understand how someone with views  as strong as Boulez's could be expected to advance the music of the contemporaries whose work he didn't favour  ::)... those contemporaries could seek their own advocates (and there were plenty of advocates--some as famous as Boulez, if not more so). I don't know, this is as if someone had asked Stravinsky to conduct the prelude from Die Meistersinger in his appearances with the NYPO, or something like that,,, :D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brian on October 27, 2014, 10:24:51 AM
I really can't see Alex Ross's claim to fame (if there is one)
If I may briefly interject, Alex Ross's claim to fame is that he writes about music with admirable clarity and explanatory power. Most people who write about music do so in a messy or confused way, or simply have no idea how to take the sounds and describe them in words. Ross is exceptionally good at this, one of the best describers of sound ever. He also speaks with passion about music he likes.

He would be a good GMGer.  8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on October 27, 2014, 10:27:20 AM
There is no offense in this, to be sure;  but the idea of there being one right direction is so . . . quaint.

I am reminded of Rachmaninov, only 2 years older than Schoenberg, being ignored and even mocked in his later years as a fossil for not having gone the right way, i.e. away from tonality!

I have not read everything here today, but WOW!  8)  Some great stuff!

Boulez seemingly became more open-minded in his later years, e.g. his Mahler cycle on DGG, and the Szymanowski recordings.  Would he have ever considered conducting these composers back in the 1950's?  :o :o :o  To be sure, he conducted early Schoenberg (e.g. Gurrelieder) in the 1970's, 20 years after criticizing Schoenberg for not following "total serialism."

Perhaps that marked the beginning of his maturity?  0:)

 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on October 27, 2014, 10:27:50 AM
If I may briefly interject, Alex Ross's claim to fame is that he writes about music with admirable clarity and explanatory power. Most people who write about music do so in a messy or confused way, or simply have no idea how to take the sounds and describe them in words. Ross is exceptionally good at this, one of the best describers of sound ever. He also speaks with passion about music he likes.

He would be a good GMGer.  8)
Fair enough!  ;)  I've taken exception to many of the views expressed by Ross (surprise, surprise  :D ), but agree that he's done a formidable job in "explaining" modern music to a wider audience...

Cheers,
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cosi bel do on October 27, 2014, 11:09:36 AM
On the other issue, I really don't understand how someone with views  as strong as Boulez's could be expected to advance the music of the contemporaries whose work he didn't favour  ::)... those contemporaries could seek their own advocates (and there were plenty of advocates--some as famous as Boulez, if not more so). I don't know, this is as if someone had asked Stravinsky to conduct the prelude from Die Meistersinger in his appearances with the NYPO, or something like that,,, :D

One could even say the same thing about Bernstein. After all, he never conducted Messiaen's Turangalila symphony (or any other Messiaen score) after creating it (on Stokowski's insistence)... Should we say Bernstein tried to destroy Messiaen's music ?

Boulez seemingly became more open-minded in his later years, e.g. his Mahler cycle on DGG, and the Szymanowski recordings.  Would he have ever considered conducting these composers back in the 1950's?  :o :o :o  To be sure, he conducted early Schoenberg (e.g. Gurrelieder) in the 1970's, 20 years after criticizing Schoenberg for not following "total serialism."

Perhaps that marked the beginning of his maturity?  0:)

And still, he conducted and recorded some Haendel and Beethoven in the 1960s...
No man is all black or all white, even in his most radical postures. Even Furtwängler conducted some Mahler and Böhm some Schoenberg...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on October 27, 2014, 11:14:17 AM
I don't think Boulez's "legacy" will be negative criticism of others' music. We certainly remember the feud between Wagner and Brahms, or the bitter contempt Bartok had for Shostakovich, but we do not remember these things as essential parts of their legacy. Bartok is a great example - laughter at Shostakovich is written right into the score of the Concerto for Orchestra, where it has been made immortal and unforgettable. Bartok's contempt is thus much more permanent, long-lasting, and outspoken than any words Boulez may have said in his youth. But I hope that there is no listener who loses respect of Bartok for doing this.
Bitter contempt? For the 7th symphony, yes, but not for Shostakovich as a whole. I don't take that as a malicious thing at all and it certainly wasn't Bartok's character to do so in such a way. Aside from the 7th, Bartok thought highly of Shostakovich.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 27, 2014, 11:20:37 AM
On the other issue, I really don't understand how someone with views  as strong as Boulez's could be expected to advance the music of the contemporaries whose work he didn't favour  ::)... those contemporaries could seek their own advocates (and there were plenty of advocates--some as famous as Boulez, if not more so). I don't know, this is as if someone had asked Stravinsky to conduct the prelude from Die Meistersinger in his appearances with the NYPO, or something like that,,, :D

The difference there is that Stravinsky was an occasional guest, and the understanding is that he conducts his own work.  Where Boulez was appointed the music director of a major US orchestra;  that's not really the place where it is suitable for a European composer to make the band his private fiefdom.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 27, 2014, 11:25:40 AM
One could even say the same thing about Bernstein. After all, he never conducted Messiaen's Turangalila symphony (or any other Messiaen score) after creating it (on Stokowski's insistence)... Should we say Bernstein tried to destroy Messiaen's music ?

Was Messiaen a New Yorker, and Bernstein refused to direct the NY Phil in the work?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on October 27, 2014, 11:31:59 AM
Boulez seemingly became more open-minded in his later years, e.g. his Mahler cycle on DGG, and the Szymanowski recordings.  Would he have ever considered conducting these composers back in the 1950's?

Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that Boulez was conducting Mahler as early as the 1960s. It was his adoption of Bruckner and, a decade later, Janacek that really showed that the man had mellowed.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cosi bel do on October 27, 2014, 11:40:31 AM
Was Messiaen a New Yorker, and Bernstein refused to direct the NY Phil in the work?

I'm not sure that's really relevant. Is the NYP supposed to perform mainly music composed by New Yorkers ? In this case it would have been a good idea not to hire a non-NY (and even non-American !) conductor in the first place...
And anyway, what compositions are we talking about ? I mean, surely, all these numerous composers who were "banned" from NY by Boulez must have composed masterpieces that have since been recognized as such ?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 27, 2014, 11:44:04 AM
I'm not sure that's really relevant. Is the NYP supposed to perform mainly music composed by New Yorkers?

I'm not sure your counter-question is relevant.

I mean, surely, all these numerous composers who were "banned" from NY by Boulez must have composed masterpieces that have since been recognized as such ?

First, I am not using the term "banned."  Just saying that I have read your question, and that although I answer I disagree with part of your premise  ;)

Yes, a number of composers in the New York area, for whose work Boulez had no time, are highly regarded in the music world.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on October 27, 2014, 11:58:39 AM
Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that Boulez was conducting Mahler as early as the 1960s. It was his adoption of Bruckner and, a decade later, Janacek that really showed that the man had mellowed.
In an interview he once stated that his first contact with Mahler was a visit of Bruno Walter to Paris in the early or mid-50s. He heard Das Lied von der Erde and recalled thinking (about the beginning of Der Abschied): "do-re-do-si-do, he's done it twice, he won't do it a third time, will he?" and then added "my reaction was so stupid"  :D. Later Hans Rosbaud introduced him to the Ninth symphony in Baden-Baden, and his perception of Mahler started to change. I don't know when he started conducting Mahler, but by the early 70s he was doing so regularly with the BBC SO (and at the Proms). The Bruckner thing was more a one-off, I think (has he ever conducted anything beside the Eighth and the Ninth and, if so, how often?). Janacek clearly was a late  discovery (and a selective one at that, I might add)...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cosi bel do on October 27, 2014, 12:01:30 PM
And conducting Bruckner was, for him, a kind of tribute to Klemperer, as I recall from what I've read him say about it.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on October 27, 2014, 12:12:10 PM
The difference there is that Stravinsky was an occasional guest, and the understanding is that he conducts his own work.  Where Boulez was appointed the music director of a major US orchestra;  that's not really the place where it is suitable for a European composer to make the band his private fiefdom.
Well, then let's say its like expecting Toscanini to have programmed Mahler regularly at the NBC  ;) .

I really don't see why Boulez is considered to have turned the NYPO into his private fiefdom....he surely didn't conduct what he didn't like (well, I know there was Brahms once at least--some people will be able to say: " I saw Boulez do Brahms, and I lived to tell it"  ;D ), but that is natural in any M.D., and it may be interesting to see the orchestra's programming during those years. I'm sure Tchaikovsky, and Copland, and...you name it, were presented by guest conductors...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on October 27, 2014, 01:34:07 PM
If we were all assessed, at the ends of our careers, based on the stupid things we said and did at the age of 20, we would all be doomed to shame and disgrace everlasting.
Indeed. But with Boulez the stance persisted, while the tactics changed. Whenever he could he tried to suppress other people's music if it did not fit his ideology.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on October 27, 2014, 01:38:52 PM
Exactly...it would appear that Boulez had intended (and, moreover, achieved  :o ) to wipe all music he didn't like off the map...that is nonsense  >:(. When he was most vociferous in transmitting his views and "message" (the mid-sixties, when his conducting career really started to take off), Shostakovitch was being performed all over the world, Britten's War Requiem was the best selling classical record in the UK for years,  the repertoire of opera houses (those that had to be "blown up"  :D ) was still mainly Puccini, Verdi, Ponchielli, Gounod, etc., and the daily bread-and-butter of most symphony orchestras around the world was Brahms and Tchaikovsky...But there was one man who said: "music is much more than this, music must be much more than this" and didn't take the easy route of furthering his conducting career by performing the war horses (which he disliked), but rather worked to open the eyes (or rather, the ears) of many to another, very rich world... And I, at least, am grateful to Boulez for this... 8)

Funnily, when asked the cliché question in an interview: "Whom from the past would you have wanted to have dinner with?", his answer was "Richard Wagner"  :D Birds of a feather, I guess...  ;)
 He was 20 years old at the time, and virtually unknown...You make it sound as if, as the grand seigneur of contemporary music, he had sent a parcel bomb form his office at IRCAM (which would not be founded for another 30 years or so) or something like that  ::)

The claims keep shifting.
He never did that.
He was young when he did that.
After he was young he was being intellectual when he did that.
When he wasn't being an intellectual but a music director he was entitled to do that when he did that.
Hey, his music is great so it doesn't matter he did that.

Bottom line: he did that. A lot. For a long time. I don't ask anyone else give him the finger, but this is why I do.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Brian on October 27, 2014, 01:41:38 PM
Indeed. But with Boulez the stance persisted, while the tactics changed. Whenever he could he tried to suppress other people's music if it did not fit his ideology.
Okay so give some examples of trying to suppress other people's music. I'm not a hardcore Boulezian; I've learned a lot in this conversation. So, I really want to know the examples, just out of curiosity.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on October 27, 2014, 01:44:02 PM
I am reminded of Rachmaninov, only 2 years older than Schoenberg, being ignored and even mocked in his later years as a fossil for not having gone the right way, i.e. away from tonality!

I have not read everything here today, but WOW!  8)  Some great stuff!

Boulez seemingly became more open-minded in his later years, e.g. his Mahler cycle on DGG, and the Szymanowski recordings.  Would he have ever considered conducting these composers back in the 1950's?  :o :o :o  To be sure, he conducted early Schoenberg (e.g. Gurrelieder) in the 1970's, 20 years after criticizing Schoenberg for not following "total serialism."

Perhaps that marked the beginning of his maturity?  0:)
Perhaps it marked the beginning of his market savvy. He has become very rich.
But there's a logic here. If he became more open minded when he was older, then he was less open-minded
When he was younger, no?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on October 27, 2014, 01:52:09 PM
Indeed. But with Boulez the stance persisted, while the tactics changed. Whenever he could he tried to suppress other people's music if it did not fit his ideology.
Repeating this notion that he tried to "surpress" any music, does not make it true, Ken...Of course, Boulez expressed his (often negative) opinions on many composers in no uncertain terms, and refused to conduct what he thought was  not worthwhile...but I'm sure he didn't give a hoot if the Orchestre National de France, for instance, was playing Dutilleux or Tchaikovsky in the Salle Pleyel on any given night...

And the awe he inspired in most of his colleagues (e.g. John Adam's referring to him as "a master with a very small hammer"  ;D --the things one has to read sometimes  ::) ) is certainly a sign that they could not be indiffrent to his thought... I repeat: that he said many things that one or the other of us didn't want to hear or didn't like hearing, doesn't mean he did not have the right (and, I'd say, the duty, as an artist and theorist of his caliber) to say them...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on October 27, 2014, 02:41:06 PM
Perhaps it marked the beginning of his market savvy. He has become very rich.
But there's a logic here. If he became more open minded when he was older, then he was less open-minded
When he was younger, no?


Well, it seems that way, but it was mentioned that e.g. his Mahler interest perhaps goes back to the 1960's, so - maybe - he was more accepting of other earlier composers than he let on.  ???

See:

Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that Boulez was conducting Mahler as early as the 1960s. It was his adoption of Bruckner and, a decade later, Janacek that really showed that the man had mellowed.

A Boulez Bruckner cycle!   0:)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Abuelo Igor on October 27, 2014, 05:03:51 PM
Okay so give some examples of trying to suppress other people's music. I'm not a hardcore Boulezian; I've learned a lot in this conversation. So, I really want to know the examples, just out of curiosity.

I remember reading some time ago an interview with the late Jean Françaix in which he said that his music stopped being performed in Paris after "a certain gentleman" started to be important there. It is not incontrovertible evidence, and it could just be an embittered old man speaking, but the perception has always existed that you wouldn't get state support, or, for that matter, performances of your music, if you didn't "toe the line" that was largely attributed at the time to this certain monsieur's policies. I also read somewhere that the first time an orchestral work by Dutilleux was performed at one of the main concert venues in Paris was during a tour of the CBSO, led by Sakari Oramo. I remember wondering how that was posible, and the thought came into my mind of the famous story about Boulez turning his back on Dutilleux in the 50s because he had written a symphony, or something like that.

I heard somewhere that he had had some kind of falling out with Jean Barraqué, who was his contemporary and, so to speak, composed "on the same side of the fence". Back in the day, both he and Boulez were serious contenders in the French avant-garde, but today Barraqué is half-forgotten. It's true that he committed suicide in 1973, but all the works that made Boulez's reputation and are considered classics today date from before that year. I don't know if Boulez, despite having conducted some of Barraqué's music during his Domaine Musical days, has done much in subsequent years to keep alive the memory of his colleague.

There is also the urban legend that one of the conditions Boulez demanded in his recording contract with Columbia was that the Robert Craft recordings of Schoenberg be kept permanently out of print, so that he would become the absolute reference. Again, it's all hearsay, but I'm still waiting for a CD reissue of those old vinyl sets, so, as the Italians say, "se non è vero è ben trovato".
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: amw on October 27, 2014, 06:20:57 PM
The claims keep shifting.
He never did that.
He was young when he did that.
After he was young he was being intellectual when he did that.
When he wasn't being an intellectual but a music director he was entitled to do that when he did that.
Hey, his music is great so it doesn't matter he did that.
Keep knocking down those strawmen, you're doing great.

I don't think one can argue that Boulez tried to 'suppress' any music, apart from e.g. the Trois psalmodies, quartet for four Ondes Martenot, Symphonie concertante... >.> It might help to think of musical trends as akin to fashion trends. Boulez did much to make serialism fashionable for a while, at least in certain circles: fashionable to write, to praise, or to mock depending on one's inclinations. (Stravinsky did all three.) Sort of like, say, sneakers. Suddenly everyone's wearing sneakers and, even if you think they're ugly and will never match your shoes for style, you might be tempted to try them on just to see what they're like. Or you might feel a bit lonely because no one's commenting on your shoes anymore, they're not cool enough. But in a short time, sneakers won't be such the rage anymore. There'll be some new kind of shoe, maybe crocs or something, and that's what everyone will be talking about instead. And so forth. And if you don't like any of the new kinds of shoes, you can just keep wearing your old ones until they become 'retro' or 'vintage' or something and you feel part of the fold again.

Similarly... well, like it or not, the things Boulez and Stockhausen and Leibowitz etc were saying in the 1950s and early 60s evidently struck a chord with a lot of people. Maybe it was a tonic chord and they felt they'd come home to the true aesthetic, maybe it was a jangly dissonant chord that really ruffled their feathers, but either way, serialism was in fashion. Then look at the 70s and early 80s. Boulez, Stockhausen and Leibowitz have retreated to conducting, whatever the hell planet Stockhausen lives on, and conducting, respectively. Most of the other Darmstadt composers (Ligeti, Kagel, etc) have moved on to new aesthetics (like those sneakers with wheels and flashing lights in. I used to love those). They're all 'establishment' now. The new avant-garde, the composers who are all the rage, who'd never be caught dead in a bowtie or a music faculty, are people like Glass and Reich and Riley. Are you going to argue that the minimalists were trying to 'suppress' the serialists, that Bang on a Can hates freedom by refusing to program any Babbitt or Wuorinen etc? Be reasonable. Boulez didn't do worse to Françaix than Glass did to Boulez, insults aside*: made him appear unfashionable. Not the worst fate in the world.

* yeah ok, Boulez insults lots of people, I'll give you that. So he's a Dorothy Parker wannabe. I think everyone is, secretly.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on October 27, 2014, 06:22:22 PM
I think there's a gradual change between the Darmstadt-era Boulez, who was essentially projecting a non-stop "my hammer's bigger than your hammer" battle with Stockhausen and Nono, and the Boulez of the last 30 years. His views may not have changed much, and the catty remarks never totally stopped, but the more recent Boulez doesn't seem to have felt the need to constantly go to war with the rest of the planet. Perhaps he became more at peace with himself, and more willing to accept his own failings? Certainly it's easy to find anecdotes involving musicians who've worked with him in the last 20 years and who seem to think very warmly of him.

The near-20-year-period between Marteau and Rituel during which he didn't "finish" a single work (even Pli selon pli got rewritten again and again) seems to point to a certain lack of confidence; perhaps conducting suited him better than composition, because you can't go back and rewrite a concert you've already given. It's certainly easy for me to believe that obsessively tinkering with works he'd already finished may have deprived us of some significant compositions.

I've a feeling he probably will be remembered more as a conductor than a composer; but I do think the best of his works (amongst which I would number Marteau, Pli selon pli, Rituel and sur Incises) have qualities enough to ensure that they won't be entirely forgotten.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on October 27, 2014, 06:30:11 PM
Well, then let's say its like expecting Toscanini to have programmed Mahler regularly at the NBC  ;) .

I really don't see why Boulez is considered to have turned the NYPO into his private fiefdom....he surely didn't conduct what he didn't like (well, I know there was Brahms once at least--some people will be able to say: " I saw Boulez do Brahms, and I've lived to tell it"  ;D ), but that is natural in any M.D., and it may be interesting to see the orchestra's programming during those years. I'm sure Tchaikovsky, and Copland, and...you name it, were presented by guest conductors...

Exactly. If you actually look at the Philharmonic archives to see what Boulez conducted as MD, his performances included the Meistersinger Prelude (10 times), Till Eulenspiegel (6), the Schumann 4th (4), the Schubert C major (3), Pictures at an Exhibition (9), Mendelssohn's Italian (6), the Mahler 9th (10), Mathis der Maler (2), the Dvorak Cello Concerto (2), Beethoven's 7th (10), Beethoven's 2nd (14), excerpts from Berlioz's Romeo (25!); and some Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Brahms symphonies and concertos, and Prokofiev piano concertos. I couldn't afford many performances back in those days, but I distinctly remember him doing the Schumann Scenes from Faust. Of course there were also the usual suspects like Bartok, Berg, Debussy, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Webern, but comparatively little of his own work, and naturally plenty of guest conductors to handle the Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. Whatever Boulez's feelings towards any of this music might have been, this is hardly using the NY Phil podium as a private fiefdom.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: amw on October 27, 2014, 06:39:37 PM
It's certainly easy for me to believe that obsessively tinkering with works he'd already finished may have deprived us of some significant compositions.
Yes, as far as Boulez-the-composer goes, I feel like each revision he makes to a piece makes that piece less interesting, and in general he sort of screwed himself over with the hardline insecure hypermasculine attitude of his 20s etc, after which he evidently felt he couldn't just turn around and write a piece like Dérive 2 that was hardly serial at all and actually sounds quite a bit like Dutilleux, because he'd lose face. (And I think that sort of thing is much more what he 'wanted' to write than things like the 3rd Sonata, but that's conjecture.) His deadly sin is definitely pride, or maybe sexual repression (that is one of the seven deadly sins, right?). If he'd been humbler, he probably would have written more music, admitted he was wrong more often, insulted fewer people and probably been a good deal less influential. So we get what we get: a conductor who composed, was controversial and influenced musical fashions. Maybe that'll make him the Wilhelm Furtwängler of 2064. Who knows.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on October 27, 2014, 06:41:55 PM
Schumann Scenes from Faust
I'm not sure if I'm remembering correctly, but didn't he do quite a few other 19th-century rarities? I know he programmed Liszt's Legend of St Elizabeth in one of his early seasons.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: kishnevi on October 27, 2014, 06:43:21 PM

There is also the urban legend that one of the conditions Boulez demanded in his recording contract with Columbia was that the Robert Craft recordings of Schoenberg be kept permanently out of print, so that he would become the absolute reference. Again, it's all hearsay, but I'm still waiting for a CD reissue of those old vinyl sets, so, as the Italians say, "se non è vero è ben trovato".
The Craft recordings have been reissued on Naxos (same as his Stravinsky recordings and should be readily available as individual CDs or in the form of two sets(Vol. 1 and Vol. 2)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on October 27, 2014, 07:05:57 PM
The Craft recordings have been reissued on Naxos (same as his Stravinsky recordings and should be readily available as individual CDs or in the form of two sets(Vol. 1 and Vol. 2)

Have they been reissued, or did Craft re-do the works in his old age? Sony did reissue Craft's Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, in a blazing white-hot performance with he CSO, but though the younger Craft was rarely given much rehearsal time, he did some splendid work for Columbia in the 1960s, such as his Pierrot Lunaire, Erwartung, Der Wein, and more. It's fashionable to dismiss his Webern set, but I don't know any better rendition of the Bach Ricercare, just for one.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on October 27, 2014, 07:09:32 PM
I'm not sure if I'm remembering correctly, but didn't he do quite a few other 19th-century rarities? I know he programmed Liszt's Legend of St Elizabeth in one of his early seasons.

Correct, in September 1971.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on October 28, 2014, 12:10:51 AM
I don't think one can argue that Boulez tried to 'suppress' any music, apart from e.g. the Trois psalmodies
Do you mean the Messiaen Trois Petites Liturgies? I know he didn't like the tonal music of 1940s-Messiaen, but how did he try to suppress it?

Very interesting post, too!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on October 28, 2014, 12:45:50 AM
Do you mean the Messiaen Trois Petites Liturgies? I know he didn't like the tonal music of 1940s-Messiaen, but how did he try to suppress it?

Very interesting post, too!
No, I think he means the Trois psalmodies for piano, an early work (1945) by Boulez that  the composer withdrew from his catalogue. Actually, all the works amw mentions are by Boulez himself (all withdrawn or lost)...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 28, 2014, 02:46:23 AM
Well, then let's say its like expecting Toscanini to have programmed Mahler regularly at the NBC  ;) .

I really don't see why Boulez is considered to have turned the NYPO into his private fiefdom....

Let's call that phrase a mediæval-tinged overstatement, and say that I took my cue from the gentleman whose remark mentioned Madame Guillotine.

At bottom, I agree completely that (a) Art is not served if the musician performs music which he does not himself like; and (b) the fault really belongs to the New York Philharmonic for hiring such a fastidious music director.

I shall say, too, that it is to his credit that he saw light sufficiently, in spite of his avowed and enduring distaste (his shtick still relies in part on the ritual hand-wringing over those people -- those benighted people -- who persist in a desire for music dating before 1952) that he consented to conduct (and ultimately found it to some degree congenial) 19th-c. music. But that is not really what I had in view.

From their inception, American orchestras have always been primarily an organ for presenting European music.  That in itself is morally neutral, of course. Under Lenny's direction, the NY Phil adopted a more consistent mission of presenting the work of American composers.

If the combination of that culturally important precedent, with the appointment of one of the world's leading avant-garde composers as the orchestra's music director, gave the younger generation of US composers an (I think, understandable) hope, the reversion of the New York orchestra to a "no Americans need apply" club was, in any sober judgment, a major disappointment.

I don't think it would have been a matter of expecting Boulez magically to convert the band into a new music ensemble. I think it was only the natural expectation that a living composer would not roll back the advances made under Bernstein's directorship.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Abuelo Igor on October 28, 2014, 03:53:00 AM
The Craft recordings have been reissued on Naxos (same as his Stravinsky recordings and should be readily available as individual CDs or in the form of two sets(Vol. 1 and Vol. 2)

Have they been reissued, or did Craft re-do the works in his old age?

It is my understanding that the Naxos series re-issues newer recordings he made in the 90s for Koch Classics. His original recordings for Columbia, apart from the disc of orchestral transcriptions referred to above, remain in limbo. You can find the original vinyl sets on Amazon.com, but some of them fetch, let us say, interesting prices...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 28, 2014, 03:58:11 AM
. . . Sony did reissue Craft's Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, in a blazing white-hot performance with he CSO, but though the younger Craft was rarely given much rehearsal time, he did some splendid work for Columbia in the 1960s, such as his Pierrot Lunaire, Erwartung, Der Wein, and more. It's fashionable to dismiss his Webern set, but I don't know any better rendition of the Bach Ricercare, just for one.

By curious chance, a fellow composer proudly showed me his boxed LP of the Webern set just the day before yesterday.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on October 28, 2014, 04:08:33 AM
Let's call that phrase a mediæval-tinged overstatement, and say that I took my cue from the gentleman whose remark mentioned Madame Guillotine.
...yes, the guillotine, while we triocoteuses placidly continue to knit next to the scaffold....  :D

I think your post puts things very much in perspective, Karl.  :) I can understand that US composers felt let down by Boulez, given the expectations his appointment had raised...but I also think he himself had done nothing to raise such expectations, and can therefore not be accused of "betraying" anyone.

The issue is, Boulez is blamed for many sins, of action and omission. If he attacked composers and works which he disliked (which he certainly did--the Shostakoviches and Henzes and so forth...) he was being destructive. If he didn't perform the works of others (Jean Barraqué was mentioned above), once again, he was being mean (one could extend this sin of omission to the work of Maderna, but Boulez gave some excuse or other for not preforming him after his death). But the we have the case of Elliott Carter, who was hugely promoted by Boulez, and we cannot deny that the frenchman's contribution to the acceptance of many major names of music into the standard repertoire (we need not go much further than Webern) is huge. Some people tend to highlight the negative aspects of his behaviour, some--includiung myself--tend to stress the positive facets of it. It seems both "sides" cannot agree, but one thing is for sure: still today, almost 40 years after it ended, Boulez's tenure at the NYPO is being discussed (passionately, at times). Not a mean feat... ;)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 28, 2014, 04:18:26 AM
Aye, Carter (unquestionably a first-rate composer) is conspicuous by his singularity, there   8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 28, 2014, 04:26:54 AM
I think your post puts things very much in perspective, Karl.  :) I can understand that US composers felt let down by Boulez, given the expectations his appointment had raised...but I also think he himself had done nothing to raise such expectations, and can therefore not be accused of "betraying" anyone.

I agree;  betrayal is not at all the right word.  And of course, I agree that (for all the intellectual unfairness which Boulez has committed over the years) it were unfair to make out the whole of the disappointing development to be his fault, somehow.  I certainly do not hate Boulez;  there is music he has made which requires no defense, and that is all that will matter over time;  and if I find that I cannot much admire him as a person, an impartial observer would own that that is but a reasonable perspective.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on October 28, 2014, 04:28:58 AM
Aye, Carter (unquestionably a first-rate composer) is conspicuous by his singularity, there   8)
And then there was Crumb's Star Child...a stunning work (but I've never read any comments by Boulez on what ¡he thought of this music  ??? )

It is my understanding that the Naxos series re-issues newer recordings he made in the 90s for Koch Classics. His original recordings for Columbia, apart from the disc of orchestral transcriptions referred to above, remain in limbo. You can find the original vinyl sets on Amazon.com, but some of them fetch, let us say, interesting prices...
Well, there's also the Gesualdo oddity, the Monterverdi  Vespers coupled with some Bach cantatas,  and a disc of Mozart (including the Gran Partita)... But yes (apart from Stravinsky, of course), none of Craft's core repertoire...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Abuelo Igor on October 28, 2014, 04:37:02 AM
Well, Naxos did license the Craft Webern from 1957, so I guess there's some hope there, but Naxos hasn't been the cheapest choice available for some time now. I think I would really spring for a "Complete Robert Craft recordings for Columbia Records" box set from Sony, that could be had for a song not very long after release. Well, let's dream on...

(apart from Stravinsky, of course)

I know that folk wisdom credits Craft for most of the hard work behind the later recordings released under Igor's name, but, listening to the rehearsal excerpts included on the Sony set, Stravinsky didn't strike me as a conductor who couldn't communicate to the musicians exactly what he wanted.

OK, off-topic over. Back to Pierre.  :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on October 28, 2014, 05:54:58 AM
OK, off-topic over. Back to Pierre.  :)
OK, slightly more on-topic, and to come back full circle, so to speak, what oddly enough has been reissued on CD (albeit in an obscure, difficult to find label), is Craft's recording of Le Marteau sans maître  :D :

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0002/998/MI0002998364.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 28, 2014, 05:57:07 AM
I hope I may give that a listen at some point.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on October 31, 2014, 06:27:33 PM
Those remarks, though sharp as they are have a good dose of mythology. The "USELESS" sound bite is a typical example. Deeper reading into the mindset and motivation of the composer would show that his approach is one that concerns itself with the historicism and the philosophy of history he adopted from Souvtchinsky and Adorno--mostly reflecting that there is a dialectical relationship between history and the individual, in which history challenges the individual and the individual is charged with facing that challenge and overcoming it. Boulez's articles from the late 40s onwards often express the duality between evolution and revolution in the way music progresses, and his views are much more towards the idea of evolution rather than revolution, even if that evolution is punctuated with periods of instability and discontinuity.

It is in this context that he saw serialism as a historic necessity, since it responded to the conflicts within both twelve-tone and neo-classical composition. It is worth noting that "serialism" here is understood much more broadly than the more narrow categories of "integral serialism" or "strict twelve-tone row serialism", which in reality had a very brief lifespan--the composers toyed with the idea and soon rejected it once they realized it was far too restrictive and inexpressive. The "USELESS" epithet is effectively about those who refused to acknowledge that serialism was a natural historical outcome in this concept of continuous evolution, whom he accused of holding an anti-historical position since they preferred to think of serialism as random dabbling with formulas and processes. The contributions of those composers to the dialectical and historically-conscious advancement of music were, in that sense, useless.

The notion that Boulez held theory up at all costs is misguided. His "process" is more of a rigorous method whereby every result, every note, rhythm and dynamic value, every figure is questioned by the composer at the moment of writing (hence the concept of écriture, which he and others expanded upon) and the artistic, expressive and intentional value of every sign is thoroughly considered as it is laid down. The act of writing becomes an integral part of the act of composing--the composer is certainly not copying or following what a mechanistic, formulaic or automatic process is telling him to do. This painstaking artisanal activity explains the low output of the composer; the unwavering dialectical approach explains why his works are revised numerous times, and casts away any doubts about his confidence--all his works, at all stages of "completion" are valid representations of the vision of the work of art he intended to create. They are simply different iterations, different perspectives over the same object, which might have the characteristic of being inherently in flux. Boulez's take on the concept of the open work and the aspects he experimented with in e.g. Pli selon pli, Rituel and the Third Sonata provides additional insight into this facet of his ideas and philosophy.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: kishnevi on October 31, 2014, 06:49:01 PM
Perhaps that "painstaking artisanal activity" is in fact holding theory up at all costs?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: NorthNYMark on October 31, 2014, 06:54:03 PM
Many thanks, Petrarch, for this remarkably insightful post. Whatever one thinks of Boulez or his music, this helps better to understand his outlook and motivations.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on October 31, 2014, 07:07:22 PM
Many thanks, Petrarch, for this remarkably insightful post. Whatever one thinks of Boulez or his music, this helps better to understand his outlook and motivations.
Precis: dogmatic narrow-minded asshole.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on November 01, 2014, 12:03:33 AM
Many thanks, Petrarch, for this remarkably insightful post. Whatever one thinks of Boulez or his music, this helps better to understand his outlook and motivations.
+1 ... great post indeed, that sheds much light on the thought of an undisputably gigantic figure of music  :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 01, 2014, 05:25:36 AM
Those remarks, though sharp as they are have a good dose of mythology. The "USELESS" sound bite is a typical example. Deeper reading into the mindset and motivation of the composer would show that his approach is one that concerns itself with the historicism and the philosophy of history he adopted from Souvtchinsky and Adorno--mostly reflecting that there is a dialectical relationship between history and the individual, in which history challenges the individual and the individual is charged with facing that challenge and overcoming it. Boulez's articles from the late 40s onwards often express the duality between evolution and revolution in the way music progresses, and his views are much more towards the idea of evolution rather than revolution, even if that evolution is punctuated with periods of instability and discontinuity.

It is in this context that he saw serialism as a historic necessity, since it responded to the conflicts within both twelve-tone and neo-classical composition. It is worth noting that "serialism" here is understood much more broadly than the more narrow categories of "integral serialism" or "strict twelve-tone row serialism", which in reality had a very brief lifespan--the composers toyed with the idea and soon rejected it once they realized it was far too restrictive and inexpressive. The "USELESS" epithet is effectively about those who refused to acknowledge that serialism was a natural historical outcome in this concept of continuous evolution, whom he accused of holding an anti-historical position since they preferred to think of serialism as random dabbling with formulas and processes. The contributions of those composers to the dialectical and historically-conscious advancement of music were, in that sense, useless.

The notion that Boulez held theory up at all costs is misguided. His "process" is more of a rigorous method whereby every result, every note, rhythm and dynamic value, every figure is questioned by the composer at the moment of writing (hence the concept of écriture, which he and others expanded upon) and the artistic, expressive and intentional value of every sign is thoroughly considered as it is laid down. The act of writing becomes an integral part of the act of composing--the composer is certainly not copying or following what a mechanistic, formulaic or automatic process is telling him to do. This painstaking artisanal activity explains the low output of the composer; the unwavering dialectical approach explains why his works are revised numerous times, and casts away any doubts about his confidence--all his works, at all stages of "completion" are valid representations of the vision of the work of art he intended to create. They are simply different iterations, different perspectives over the same object, which might have the characteristic of being inherently in flux. Boulez's take on the concept of the open work and the aspects he experimented with in e.g. Pli selon pli, Rituel and the Third Sonata provides additional insight into this facet of his ideas and philosophy.

Your entire post well taken.  The Respectful Opposition points out that, where there may be error, it is a matter of exaggeration, not of being outright mistaken  8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on November 01, 2014, 07:11:32 AM
Perhaps that "painstaking artisanal activity" is in fact holding theory up at all costs?

Which theory would that be?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on November 01, 2014, 07:20:54 AM
There, let me fix that for you:

Precis: dogmatic narrow-minded asshole. [Citation needed] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citation_needed)

Gladly, we can all take your point and see that what you have to say on the subject of music is much broader than your pithy dislikes of Boulez--and not confuse your entire view of music with a bunch of narrow-minded allegations and attempts to suppress Boulez's music (Boulez delenda est, as you proclaimed for a while in your avatar).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on November 01, 2014, 07:35:18 AM
where there may be error, it is a matter of exaggeration, not of being outright mistaken  8)

Absolutely.

To really appreciate the mellowing out of the maître one only has to see him in action in his masterclasses in conducting, in the Boulez XXe siècle documentaries, or go through the reports of positive, warm interactions a variety of people in the milieu had with him. This of course doesn't mean he wasn't acidic and controversial, which is undeniable, but it differentiates between person and persona.

And I wonder if the "certain gentleman in Paris" would indeed be Boulez, since he moved to Baden Baden in the late 50s.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on November 01, 2014, 07:44:18 AM
I just noticed: Where I mention Rituel in my post I really meant to mention Éclat. The latter is a much better example of tackling the aesthetics of the open form.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on November 01, 2014, 07:54:42 AM
There, let me fix that for you:

Gladly, we can all take your point and see that what you have to say on the subject of music is much broader than your pithy dislikes of Boulez--and not confuse your entire view of music with a bunch of narrow-minded allegations and attempts to suppress Boulez's music (Boulez delenda est, as you proclaimed for a while in your avatar).
Citations? When I said Boulez and crew expressed contempt for audiences you asked for one. I supplied one, and you said you already had it. So I am assuming you know the relevant facts.

Ideology does not justify bad behavior.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on November 01, 2014, 08:00:00 AM
Absolutely.

To really appreciate the mellowing out of the maître one only has to see him in action in his masterclasses in conducting, in the Boulez XXe siècle documentaries, or go through the reports of positive, warm interactions a variety of people in the milieu had with him. This of course doesn't mean he wasn't acidic and controversial, which is undeniable, but it differentiates between person and persona.

And I wonder if the "certain gentleman in Paris" would indeed be Boulez, since he moved to Baden Baden in the late 50s.

If he mellowed out then logically there was a period when he wasn't mellow.
Person and persona? I should overlook George Wallace's 'persona' as governor because it was insincere politicking, he really wasn't that bigoted?

I am talking about actions.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on November 01, 2014, 08:30:02 AM
... He is a great musician.
Well, perhaps not as great as Henri Sauguet, don't you think?  :D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: kishnevi on November 01, 2014, 08:35:30 AM
Which theory would that be?
The theory you describe in some detail in the rest of that last paragraph.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: kishnevi on November 01, 2014, 08:48:43 AM
He isn't describing "a theory" .. more Boulez's ongoing creative process, and his extremely self-critical nature.
It is both process and theory, which is why it is fair to say he upholds theory at all costs.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on November 01, 2014, 12:14:59 PM
The theory you describe in some detail in the rest of that last paragraph.

No, what I describe is a method.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on November 01, 2014, 12:38:29 PM
Citations? When I said Boulez and crew expressed contempt for audiences you asked for one. I supplied one, and you said you already had it. So I am assuming you know the relevant facts.

Ideology does not justify bad behavior.

Ah contempt, that ultimate sin. Pillory him!

If there truly was generalized contempt for audiences he wouldn't have been so keen to bring contemporary music to the public through the Petit Marigny and the Domaine Musical.

But I suspect you are basing your criticism on some sarcastic comment about intolerant audiences... Webern did it, Varèse did it, Stravinsky did it. If that wasn't the case, there wouldn't be riotous premieres.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on November 01, 2014, 12:39:16 PM
No, what I describe is a method.

Method. So in other words when Jeffrey calls it a process and a theory, he's right.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on November 01, 2014, 12:42:13 PM
Method. So in other words when Jeffrey calls it a process and a theory, he's right.

Nothing like self-imposed blinders to make an argument. Grab a dictionary.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on November 01, 2014, 12:46:47 PM
Nothing like self-imposed blinders to make an argument. Grab a dictionary.
I have noticed that while Jeffrey and I talk about Boulez, you talk about ... me.


Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on November 01, 2014, 12:49:20 PM
Jeffrey knows shit about Boulez & his music (obviously). You fall into that camp also.

And another who can summon nothing better than name-calling.

Here's a tip. If we are debating topic X and your "points" are about me, you've lost.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on November 01, 2014, 12:52:15 PM
And another who can summon nothing better than name-calling.

Here's a tip. If we are debating topic X and your "points" are about me, you've lost.

(* chortle *) (sorry Karl! ;))

My, we are self-centered aren't we?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on November 01, 2014, 12:57:36 PM
(* chortle *) (sorry Karl! ;))

My, we are self-centered aren't we?
I guess so. When someone addresses me directly, as both you and James did, I assume they are talking to me. I've struggled with that all my life.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on November 01, 2014, 01:01:22 PM
I guess so. When someone addresses me directly, as both you and James did, I assume they are talking to me. I've struggled with that all my life.

Must be a new practice in rhetoric and debate: If you address your interlocutor, you are talking about him; if you talk about him you lost the debate; ergo, you must not ever address your interlocutor otherwise the debate is "lost". I'll keep that in mind, thanks for the insight.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on November 01, 2014, 01:30:43 PM
From a distance far from bullet range, I will make a completely benign comment (while listening to Le Marteau..., I might add): Like him or not, the idea that Boulez (or anyone) can create such controversy even here on GMG surely must say much about his legacy.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on November 01, 2014, 01:46:03 PM
From a distance far from bullet range, I will make a completely benign comment (while listening to Le Marteau..., I might add): Like him or not, the idea that Boulez (or anyone) can create such controversy even here on GMG surely must say much about his legacy.
Indeed, EigenUser! A gigantic figure in the history of music...

Boulez Le Marteau sans Maitre.

I enjoy it so far, but not as much as some of his other work I've heard. I still need to hear Pli Selon Pli.


This work grows on you...it offers IMHO a unique sound world, one that in its complexity is full of poetry and sensuousness...no one who has listened to the final movement, "Bel édifice et les pressentiments", double ,  can say there's no lyricism in Boulez...the way the music disintegrates, with the humming lines of the mezzo, the flute and the percussion...simply spellbinding! And in live concert, the effect is even stronger...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on November 01, 2014, 01:55:56 PM
Nothing like self-imposed blinders to make an argument. Grab a dictionary.
Catch one!

Quote from: OED
Method, noun
a. More generally: a way of doing anything, esp. according to a defined and regular plan; a mode of procedure in any activity, business, etc.

That reads pretty close to applying a theory methodically, as a process.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on November 01, 2014, 02:15:03 PM
Catch one!

That reads pretty close to applying a theory methodically, as a process.

Indeed, hence my question, which theory? The point was that there is no one particular theory, but something always evolving, as it suits the aesthetic needs and vision. The idea that Boulez follows the "one true theory to rule them all" is a misconception.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 01, 2014, 03:30:05 PM
Le marteau is great;  no one can take that away from him  8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on November 01, 2014, 07:27:46 PM
From a distance far from bullet range, I will make a completely benign comment (while listening to Le Marteau..., I might add): Like him or not, the idea that Boulez (or anyone) can create such controversy even here on GMG surely must say much about his legacy.
Indeed. Nor you can you write the history of Soviet music and ignore Zhdanov. A titan for sure.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: kishnevi on November 01, 2014, 09:39:07 PM
No, what I describe is a method.
Perhaps I am led astray by the impersonal tone you used:  you kept referring to "the composer" and not to "Boulez".  But as written you describe both Boulez's personal process but also a general theory of how musical composition works.
[I am referring to the last paragraph of reply 884.   Cut and paste is near impossible on this tablet, which is why I am not directly quoting you.]
But:
Indeed, hence my question, which theory? The point was that there is no one particular theory, but something always evolving, as it suits the aesthetic needs and vision. The idea that Boulez follows the "one true theory to rule them all" is a misconception.
The idea that "something is always evolving, etc." is itself a theory.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on November 02, 2014, 01:01:13 AM
This thread is proving very enlightening... :o

We have learned that, apart from being a horrible person, Boulez is dogmatic and narrow-minded because he applies a method of composing to his own work that involves extreme laboriousness and self-criticism. But no, that is upholding theory at all costs...

Furthermore, his stature is similar to that of Zhdanov, who I didn't know had made achievements akin to composing Le Marteau sans maître or conducting the Ring in Bayreuth.

And the last word on Boulez are the comments of an embittered second-rate and half-forgotten composer (who is being quoted without apparently having heard much--if any--of his music)...

Wow, I've really reassessed my opinion on Boulez after reading all this irrefutable evidence... :D

Regards,
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: amw on November 02, 2014, 01:28:06 AM
Hey, Zhdanov wasn't that bad. He just wanted to get Soviet composers to write nice, tuneful music that people could enjoy, instead of all that gloomy overdone stuff like the Shostakovich 4th. Whereas Boulez tried to force everyone to listen to awful music that no one could ever like (except a tiny group of pseudo-intellectual poseurs who don't actually enjoy the music but think it makes them appear more sophisticated) and to destroy all the composers who wrote music that people actually wanted to listen to. All in pursuit of his own personal fame, because of his own inability to write proper music, he decided no one else should be able to either! My toddler could write better 'compositions' than Le marteau sans maître, but thanks to Boulez keeping the real composers down for a century and more, all the new music audiences go "Wow! Such innovative! Much complex! Very technique!"; either because they're brainwashed fools, or because they know that if they admit it's all rubbish and they'd rather hear some Ludovico Einaudi, Boulez will ensure they are fired from their jobs, become a laughingstock in their social circles, are abandoned by their lovers usw. Meanwhile take the case of my old professor at Slippery Rock University, Bob Williams, none of whose 174 symphonies have received more than a single performance in spite of any one of them containing more musical substance than all the combined œuvre of Boulez, Stockhausen, Cage, and the guy who wrote the 'Exorcist' soundtrack. And let's not even talk about Boulez's connections with the CIA. They're hardly comparable, Zhdanov just destroyed a few careers, Boulez is trying to destroy musical taste itself. The very concept of music is under attack, even worse than the war on Christmas, and with the tacit approval of world governments. WAKE UP, SHEEPLE!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on November 02, 2014, 01:31:29 AM
I keep reassessing (after this additional irrefutable evidence)  ??? ...

 :D :D :D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: amw on November 02, 2014, 01:36:25 AM
Boulez also took my parking spot. It was clearly marked with my name on it. I don't know if it was really Boulez but the car had IRCAM licence plates and a handicapped sign even though Boulez is clearly not handicapped. What a prick.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on November 02, 2014, 01:45:51 AM
Boulez also took my parking spot. It was clearly marked with my name on it. I don't know if it was really Boulez but the car had IRCAM licence plates and a handicapped sign even though Boulez is clearly not handicapped. What a prick.
Your forgetting the role he played in the collapse of Lehman Brothers..I read somewhere that was all his doing...

Any good recordings of Bob Williams' symphonies you can recommend, amw?   ;D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Abuelo Igor on November 02, 2014, 03:11:21 AM
Boulez is an incredible musician with a secure place in history, but you must admit that he cuts a terrific villain figure, even if, much as it happens with Spielberg among film aficionados, he is frequently made into a scapegoat for everything some people don't like about the current state of the art and that is, with some reason or without it, attributed to his supposedly all-powerful influence. I am clearly fascinated by the complexity of his character: he has done a lot of good for music as conductor and composer, but I cannot summon much sympathy for him in his public, political persona. I guess I'm with Karl there: music in general wouldn't be the same without him, more for better than for worse, but I find him less than unimpeachable in some respects.

I cannot help but see him as an embodiment of the intolerant and sectarian mindset that has been plaguing the new music scene for the last 50 years of so, and as a ruthless careerist that, much as Truffaut did in the cinema, has reaped the benefits of his image as an intellectually fierce enfant terrible to get rid of the competition and become a respected figure of the establishment. But, reviewing his accomplishments, you get the frequent impression that it was worth it and that he probably had more talent and better ideas than much of the competition. And, anyway, for a "Composer discussion" thread, all the hate shown here has precious little to do with his composing. He clearly has that "man I love to hate" appeal.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on November 02, 2014, 04:39:09 AM
Am I the only one appalled by Ken B's comparison of Boulez to George Wallace (an openly racist figure and supporter of racial segregation) and Zhdanov (who represented a state that persecuted musicians). Boulez might have been rude, and he may have had some influence on which composers could get state support in Paris, but he never did anything to stop other kinds of music from being written. There was no state crackdown on composers exploring Neo-classical or Neo-Romantic music, and both of those styles continued to be performed across France.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cosi bel do on November 02, 2014, 06:05:19 AM
You're not, CRCulver. Most people here are reasonable and admire Boulez for his wonderful achievements, even if some do not like his music, and/or his conducting or at least some of his recordings. This is not the point. There are 2 or 3 crazy conspirationists who think their opinion has some value. What they're saying is, as I already said, unappropriate, insulting and quite ridiculous. But who is really going to argue endlessly with them ?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on November 02, 2014, 06:28:59 AM
Am I the only one appalled by Ken B's comparison of Boulez to George Wallace (an openly racist figure and supporter of racial segregation) and Zhdanov (who represented a state that persecuted musicians). Boulez might have been rude, and he may have had some influence on which composers could get state support in Paris, but he never did anything to stop other kinds of music from being written. There was no state crackdown on composers exploring Neo-classical or Neo-Romantic music, and both of those styles continued to be performed across France.
I did not compare Boulez to Wallace. I compared the excuse-making for Boulez to the excuse-making for Wallace.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: kishnevi on November 02, 2014, 07:06:44 AM
Wallace himself did eventually say segregation was wrong and apologized for his acts.
Zhdanov helped destroy lives and families. The worst you can say about Boulez does not come close to that (well, except for taking parking spaces) and therefore the excuses, so called, are not comparable.

He may have stifled some careers, but that is speculative, and he helped impose an arid orthodoxy that led music into an intellectual dead end and killed off popular interest in "classical" music, but he was far from alone in that.

And like all other composers his personal flaws have nothing to do with the musical value of his compositions. 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 02, 2014, 07:11:49 AM
I have no quarrel or disdain for anyone who admires or enjoys Boulez's music. I think the ongoing conversation from the opposing side, which seems like nothing more than opportunist gut-busting, really need to pack it up and move it out. This thread shouldn't be a place where people trash a composer, but rather point out the good things he/she have done throughout their career. Make no mistake about it, Boulez is a master musician and the fact that he's still raising eyebrows, including blood pressure, speaks volumes of the kind of influence he as had on the current state of classical music.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on November 02, 2014, 07:13:11 AM
He may have stifled some careers, but that is speculative, and he helped impose an arid orthodoxy that led music into an intellectual dead end and killed off popular interest in "classical" music, but he was far from alone in that.

Considering that even during Boulez's heyday, the vast majority of new music being written was tonal, and Boulez's avant-garde was a fairly small niche that most classical audiences never got a chance to hear, blaming him for the decline of popular interest in classical music is very off the mark. There were cultural and market forces at work much, much vaster than the impact of a Darmstadt ideologue.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: kishnevi on November 02, 2014, 07:25:27 AM
Considering that even during Boulez's heyday, the vast majority of new music being written was tonal, and Boulez's avant-garde was a fairly small niche that most classical audiences never got a chance to hear, blaming him for the decline of popular interest in classical music is very off the mark. There were cultural and market forces at work much, much vaster than the impact of a Darmstadt ideologue.

Indeed?
Thinking back to my younger days (the 70s and 80s) I can not remember hearing about or hearing a single piece of new music which which was not avant garde, except for film scores.  Admittedly that was after Boulez's enfant terrible days...not sure what you consider his heydey....
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on November 02, 2014, 07:42:38 AM
Wallace himself did eventually say segregation was wrong and apologized for his acts.
Zhdanov helped destroy lives and families. The worst you can say about Boulez does not come close to that (well, except for taking parking spaces) and therefore the excuses, so called, are not comparable.

He may have stifled some careers, but that is speculative, and he helped impose an arid orthodoxy that led music into an intellectual dead end and killed off popular interest in "classical" music, but he was far from alone in that.

And like all other composers his personal flaws have nothing to do with the musical value of his compositions.
It's a reductio Jeffrey. The argument was advanced that Boulez should not be blamed as a person for actions taken as part of a persona. That is a bad argument. An easy way to see this is to apply it in another case. It fails for Wallace, doesn't it? That is my point.  It fails.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on November 02, 2014, 07:43:25 AM
Indeed?
Thinking back to my younger days (the 70s and 80s) I can not remember hearing about or hearing a single piece of new music which which was not avant garde, except for film scores.  Admittedly that was after Boulez's enfant terrible days...not sure what you consider his heydey....

Yes, indeed. High modernism had a very limited impact in northern Europe, with a handful of composers exploring e.g. 12-tone music, but everyone else was writing the post-Sibelius Romanticism or Neo-Classicism that is still strongly associated with the region. Nonetheless, the majority of listeners lost interest in new music and is content with the old standard repertoire.

When it comes to the United States, Naxos's American Classics series can acquaint you with a large number of tonal composers who rejected the avant-garde. These are the composers that provincial America gets to hear, since it would be rare for an avant-garde work to be played outside of metropolitan orchestras. But in spite of pursuing maximum accessibility and memorable "tunes", they failed to interest most classical listeners.

In the former Soviet Union, whose contribution to 20th-century classical music tends to be overlooked, the avant-garde was a small crowd facing harrassment from authorities, and most composers were writing in a populist vein. Nonetheless, most classical listeners lost interest in new music and are content with the old standard repertoire.

In England, you had prominent figures like Britten rejecting the avant-garde, and many of Britain's modernists ended up going to the continent, so British audiences got a very limited chance to hear them. And yet, audiences lost interest in new music. Even Britten is a tough sell for many listeners.

Even when composers were keenly interesting in pleasing subscriber audiences, they simply haven't managed to draw a large following. Classical music had started moving to a museum culture in the first half of the 20th century, and radio broadcasting offered a steady diet of new pop music that made it seem like the vital force for new music in our time. By the time Boulez came along with some firebrand comments, all of the cultural shift was already well in place.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: kishnevi on November 02, 2014, 07:52:36 AM
As far as the US goes, I think it was more a case of provincial America never getting a chance to hear them.  Or in fact, to know that they existed.
And I think 1)the love of the intellectual class for the avantgarde had far more influence on what audiences did get to hear than you give it credit for
And
2)if this particular topic is to be continued, it needs its own thread so Pierre can have his own thread back.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: NorthNYMark on November 02, 2014, 10:25:58 AM
Indeed?
Thinking back to my younger days (the 70s and 80s) I can not remember hearing about or hearing a single piece of new music which which was not avant garde, except for film scores.  Admittedly that was after Boulez's enfant terrible days...not sure what you consider his heydey....

I had a very different  experience.  As a teenager in the '80s, I remember feeling somewhat inundated with Philip Glass and the like, but never once heard of composers like Carter, Wuorinen, etc. (which I certainly would have preferred).  To this day, I feel like Americans are far more likely to have heard minimalism and other "accessible" forms of composition than anything remotely avant-garde (in fact, if you were to ask them, I suspect that a lot of people think that Glass is the height of avant-garde), and they have still pretty much walked away from contemporary classical music.  Outside of bigger metropolises, avant-garde works are all but impossible to encounter. From what I can tell, they have almost nothing to do with the public's lack of interest in modern classical music.  Most younger (and even middle-aged) people, in my experience, at least, find classical music "boring" rather than too difficult.

What is amusing about this discussion is that it is the same in jazz--people blame the avant-garde of the late '60s for killing off popular interest in jazz, while few of the people who reject jazz have ever even heard that stuff, because audiences were already walking away in droves (and toward rock and r&B) well before the avant-garde really took off, to the extent that it ever even did.  Similarly, the problem with the waning popularity of classical has more to do with competing forms of music and entertainment than it does with people being frightened of the avant-garde.  It's not as if there is any dearth of opportunities to hook people with pops performances--they just don't really get hooked that way.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Jo498 on November 02, 2014, 01:19:59 PM
Classical music is by now a niche, modern classical (since about 1900) a smaller one and avantgarde smaller still. But all three have a committed audience. I do not think there is anything but a few anecdotes to "prove" the fatal influence of the Darmstadt/Donaueschingen crowd to non-avantgarde 20th century music. Someone like Britten did very well, although he may have been ignored or even despised by the avantgarde.

It may be true that the part of the audience who goes to  a concert to hear a Bruckner symphony might be more estranged by pli selon pli than by a symphony of Malcolm Arnold. But it does not really care for the Arnold either, it wants Bruckner and Beethoven and Brahms.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cosi bel do on November 02, 2014, 01:46:25 PM
Classical music is by now a niche, modern classical (since about 1900) a smaller one and avantgarde smaller still. But all three have a committed audience. I do not think there is anything but a few anecdotes to "prove" the fatal influence of the Darmstadt/Donaueschingen crowd to non-avantgarde 20th century music. Someone like Britten did very well, although he may have been ignored or even despised by the avantgarde.

It may be true that the part of the audience who goes to  a concert to hear a Bruckner symphony might be more estranged by pli selon pli than by a symphony of Malcolm Arnold. But it does not really care for the Arnold either, it wants Bruckner and Beethoven and Brahms.
I'd like to know when Classical music has NOT been a niche. I mean, it's not like if in previous centuries the average european peasant went to the opera every once in a while check the latest Lully or Mozart production. And it's not as if there was an alternative to that, at that time there was not much classical music on TV, or radio, or CD or whatever recorded media that did not exist.
The public for classical music has NEVER been as huge as now. Of course, depending on the economic context and other factors, the audience decreases in some countries, but it still globally increases to levels never known previously. And of course there are records, now available at the lowest prices ever.
Classical music might be a niche now, but it has never been so big a niche...

About "modern classical (since 1900)" I'd even disagree more. 20th century music is probably the best served on programs. Of course you hear a lot of Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, but still, if you combine composers by century, 20th century is surely ahead. I mean even in the recent stats topic (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,23709.0.html), you see that among the 10 most played composer, 5 are 20th century composers and represent more performances than 18th or 19th century ones.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: amw on November 02, 2014, 02:02:01 PM
the love of the intellectual class for the avantgarde had far more influence on what audiences did get to hear than you give it credit for

yes the intelleKKKtual classes push $to¢khau$en to fulfill their NAZI ZIONIST lizardman agenda george rochberg knew the truth which is why the CIA assassinated him with fluoride in the drinking water!!!

NorthNYMark is a communist sympathizer planted by the illuminati to discredit the REAL AMERICAN philip glass whose achievements in toppling the khmer rouge were SUPPRESSED FROM MSM by the boulezbians and their secret leader lyndon b. johnson, check out my profile for TRUE youtube videos proving this

[anyway... I revisited Structures Ia-c after a long time of not being impressed with it and found that, while I'm still not super impressed, I do prefer it to quite a lot of Boulez's post-1970 work. the severe, stripped-down aesthetic definitely seems to appeal more than the later neo-Ravel stuff, though it's not quite as much my 'thing' as Ustvolskaya or late Xenakis]
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Jo498 on November 02, 2014, 02:29:53 PM
With "now" I did not mean to contrast the last 100 years with the 18th century. But I do think that classical music was more central to mainstream western culture between the late 19th century and the 1960s or so.

In any case my main point is the last one. I do not think that avantgarde music is bad for "moderate modern music". Hardly anyone will avoid Arnold because of Boulez' diatribes about "useless" composers not keeping up with the historical necessity of avantgarde composing and those who prefer Bruckner often do not care for neither Arnold's nor Boulez' music.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on November 02, 2014, 02:33:40 PM
yes the intelleKKKtual classes push $to¢khau$en to fulfill their NAZI ZIONIST lizardman agenda george rochberg knew the truth which is why the CIA assassinated him with fluoride in the drinking water!!!

NorthNYMark is a communist sympathizer planted by the illuminati to discredit the REAL AMERICAN philip glass whose achievements in toppling the khmer rouge were SUPPRESSED FROM MSM by the boulezbians and their secret leader lyndon b. johnson, check out my profile for TRUE youtube videos proving this

[anyway... I revisited Structures Ia-c after a long time of not being impressed with it and found that, while I'm still not super impressed, I do prefer it to quite a lot of Boulez's post-1970 work. the severe, stripped-down aesthetic definitely seems to appeal more than the later neo-Ravel stuff, though it's not quite as much my 'thing' as Ustvolskaya or late Xenakis]

Ok, then here's a simple scenario. For reasons we have discussed orchestras have limited space for new music. If there are, for whatever reason, subsidies (or prestige amongst a certain set) to be had for programming composer X and those like X over Y and those like Y, then X will be programmed. If X turns off audiences, the space for modern music will shrink, or fail to grow. The need for subsidies will lead to more X or more like X. Eventually the well will be poisoned, audiences will learn to avoid modern music.
So the decision about subsidies and pushing X has had an effect on Y.
It need not be subsidies, it could be prestige. It could be a combination.
The net result is the loss of interest in modern music because X has been pushed at the expense of Y.
That is pretty much what had happened by the 70s.

It did not need to. Orchestras in the 50 s played a lot of modern music to paying audiences.

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on November 02, 2014, 02:36:28 PM
All forms of the fine arts enjoyed great prestige 100 years ago. This includes classical music. The decline in that prestige and influence seems undeniable to me, but it is not attributable to any one effect.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: amw on November 02, 2014, 02:48:42 PM
Ok, then here's a simple scenario.
Which isn't particularly accurate:

- the audience for 'modern' music was not smaller in the 70s than it was in the 50s; in fact Henry Pleasants' famous polemic The Agony of Modern Music dates from the 50s and claims classical music has been 'dead' since the 20s
- the music 'pushed' by orchestras was not more avant-garde in the 70s than it was in the 50s
- the bulk of contemporary music performed by orchestras since the 1930s or so has always been neoromantic, neoclassical or impressionist
- prizes, awards, other big publicity things etc have tended to go to conservative composers (with occasional nods to 'firebrands' once they've settled down and become establishment), see for instance the history of the Pulitzer Prize for Music

you can also go back to the previous page and read: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,5453.msg844426.html#msg844426 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,5453.msg844426.html#msg844426), http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,5453.msg844530.html#msg844530 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,5453.msg844530.html#msg844530)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on November 02, 2014, 05:23:52 PM
Perhaps I am led astray by the impersonal tone you used:  you kept referring to "the composer" and not to "Boulez".  But as written you describe both Boulez's personal process but also a general theory of how musical composition works.

[I am referring to the last paragraph of reply 884.   Cut and paste is near impossible on this tablet, which is why I am not directly quoting you.]
But:The idea that "something is always evolving, etc." is itself a theory.

I describe how it works for Boulez. Extrapolating from there and applying it to everyone, or assuming it is a description of how it should be was certainly not my intention--how could it be, if some of the other composers very dear to me compose with wildly different methods?

The "something always evolving" would be, at most, my theory about Boulez's method, but I fail to see how the word can be applied. Would you say dialectics is a theory?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: kishnevi on November 02, 2014, 08:30:41 PM
I describe how it works for Boulez. Extrapolating from there and applying it to everyone, or assuming it is a description of how it should be was certainly not my intention--how could it be, if some of the other composers very dear to me compose with wildly different methods?

The "something always evolving" would be, at most, my theory about Boulez's method, but I fail to see how the word can be applied. Would you say dialectics is a theory?

Thanks for clarifying.  I misunderstood you, and thought you were describing Boulez's ideas of how composition occurs for all composers.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on December 07, 2014, 11:27:01 AM
Thanks for posting that, James  :) ...it's quite a loving roundup of the (partial) recorded legacy of this great musician. It is a wonderful set....
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cosi bel do on December 15, 2014, 08:39:28 AM
The Philharmonie is a huge, organic structure rising up in the Parc de la Villette, the arts and science park built just inside the boulevard périphérique on the site of the old Paris meat market and abattoirs. It is the latest and, sadly, possibly the last major manifestation of the energy and willpower of Pierre Boulez, composer, conductor and the godfather of music in France. For more than half a century, Boulez has used his influence to get concert halls built, ensembles founded and music research centres established. At 89, he is now in poor health, but his spirit is everywhere throughout this project. The neighbouring Cité de la Musique (which will come under the management of the Philharmonie and will be renamed Philharmonie 2) opened in 1995 and realised Boulez’s dream for a flexible concert hall fit for the 21st century: wired for electronic sound, capable of changing shape and layout to accommodate contemporary works such as his own spatial masterpiece, Repons, and incorporating a museum and education spaces. But, with 900 seats, the Cité was too small for big symphony orchestras, and Boulez was soon planning a bigger version.

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/dec/12/tale-of-two-cites-philharmonie-de-paris-social-divide#img-4

http://www.philharmoniedeparis.fr/fr.



If I may, the project dates back to when Mitterrand cam to power in 1981 (Boulez was among his supports from the arts milieu). The original project was to build in La Villette 3 classical music venues : an opera hall, an big concert hall and a smaller one, and the new Conservatoire. In the end, the new opera was built at La Bastille (and a concert hall was also planned there but never completed, only the doors exist until today, and it has been converted in a rehearsal venue), and only the Conservatoire and the smaller concert hall, plus a very tiny one, and a museum of instruments, were built in La Villette (with Portzamparc as architect, one of the sore losers of La Bastille).
Then Pleyel was renovated in the 2000s, and frankly nobody really thought a new concert hall was needed. But more than Boulez, it is Laurent Bayle, who manages the (public owned) Cité de la musique who succeeded in putting this project on the political agenda, even if there was clearly not a lack of venues in Paris (in fact, to ensure the success of the Philharmonie, Pleyel shall be rented for a long term lease by la Cité de la musique who owns it, but with a clause excluding all classical concerts, which is the subject of a current judicial procedure).

This project is a very complex story involving politicians, artists, the architect (Jean Nouvel), and it has been the subject of an excellent article by the famous(ish) journalist Claude Askolovitch in the French edition of Vanity Fair, a very nicely written piece that makes it look like a 21st volume to Zola's Rougon-Macquart saga. Read it (and try Google translate if needed), it is really good.

http://www.vanityfair.fr/actualites/france/articles/symphonie-inacheve-le-chantier-de-la-philharmonie-de-paris-qui-les-rend-tous-fous/14613

For the moment, bookings are really dramatically low. There are special offers and reduced prices on almost all concerts, and all categories. It is more and more certain than most concerts there will be more than half empty, and the Mayor of Paris has clearly demanded that there is less classical music and more pop and "urban" (hip-hop) music there (La Villette being also the place where "Le Zénith" stands, the biggest pop music venue in the Paris area), just as they already transformed Le Châtelet (owned by the city) in a place for Broadway-inspired musicals, instead of the ballet and opera productions one could see there in the 90s. The story isn't finished...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cosi bel do on December 15, 2014, 12:44:00 PM
It is a very beautiful venue ..

Well, let's wait for it to open before (positive or negative) feedback :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cosi bel do on December 15, 2014, 01:12:22 PM
Yes, I know, but it is still difficult to get the true definitive impression. For instance, I find that on these latest photos it seems more like a shoebox hall than I would have thought on the virtual designs.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on December 15, 2014, 01:38:28 PM
I still think it looks outstanding.
James,
I'm thinking that you can justify spending public funds on it if there really are great works, but it's hard to justify if you think art is just a sham....
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on December 15, 2014, 01:59:38 PM
I do hope this project is a success..should there be any problems with the plumbing, the electrical wiring or whatever, we all know who's going to get all the blame....that's right: P.B.!  ::) :D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on December 15, 2014, 08:25:58 PM
The Philharmonie is a huge, organic structure rising up in the Parc de la Villette, the arts and science park built just inside the boulevard périphérique on the site of the old Paris meat market and abattoirs. It is the latest and, sadly, possibly the last major manifestation of the energy and willpower of Pierre Boulez, composer, conductor and the godfather of music in France. For more than half a century, Boulez has used his influence to get concert halls built, ensembles founded and music research centres established. At 89, he is now in poor health, but his spirit is everywhere throughout this project. The neighbouring Cité de la Musique (which will come under the management of the Philharmonie and will be renamed Philharmonie 2) opened in 1995 and realised Boulez’s dream for a flexible concert hall fit for the 21st century: wired for electronic sound, capable of changing shape and layout to accommodate contemporary works such as his own spatial masterpiece, Repons, and incorporating a museum and education spaces. But, with 900 seats, the Cité was too small for big symphony orchestras, and Boulez was soon planning a bigger version.

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/dec/12/tale-of-two-cites-philharmonie-de-paris-social-divide#img-4

http://www.philharmoniedeparis.fr/fr.



"Let us  build a great auditorium, und zen ve vil flood our country with third virld muslims so ze kanst liebe our avant garde"
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on December 17, 2014, 10:26:03 AM
The upcoming DG Boulez looks good ..

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/91hUL2SIEaL._SL1500_.jpg)
Looks very attractive :) (but in this case, I own 100% of its contents   ;D )...

For those interested, it's on pre-order in Italy (the usual page  ;) ) at €90....
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: kishnevi on December 19, 2014, 06:32:31 AM
For S&G value only
..http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,19487.msg855216.html#msg855216
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mandryka on December 30, 2014, 02:18:14 AM
Good find, James, that seems less hard sounding than the DG recording, and maybe more flowing. I enjoyed it more. Thanks.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mandryka on December 31, 2014, 08:59:45 AM
People in Europe will no doubt be thrilled to know that Boulez's first recording of Pierrot Lunaire, originally on Adès and with Maria Bergmann, is now available from Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Better than his other Pierrots IMO. As far as I know it hasn't been released in the States.

And members of symphonyshare who like Pierrot will be pleased to know thay Robert Craft's first recording for Columbia, with Bethany Beardslee, is now available on mp3. An outstanding performance in every way.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on December 31, 2014, 09:57:44 AM
People in Europe will no doubt be thrilled to know that Boulez's first recording of Pierrot Lunaire, originally on Adès and with Maria Bergmann, is now available from Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Better than his other Pierrots IMO. As far as I know it hasn't been released in the States.

And members of symphonyshare who like Pierrot will be pleased to know thay Robert Craft's first recording for Columbia, with Bethany Beardslee, is now available on mp3. An outstanding performance in every way.
Thanks for the information, Mandryka! For those in America, if it's of any help, just let you know that that first Boulez Pierrot had been issued in this set...



...and was once again made available (in 2014) by Wergo:



I must relisten to it (I've listened more to the Christine Schäfer recording on CD; I saw her live here in Madrid--under Cambreling--and she was superb!).

Let's hope we get a Robert Craft Original Jacket collection on Sony sometime soon!  :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on December 31, 2014, 11:39:10 AM
Yet another label joins the 90th birthday celebrations of PB:

(http://cdn.tower.jp/za/l/85/825646190485.jpg)
Pierre Boulez: The Complete Erato Recordings (14 CDs)

announced in France and Japan for February / March...

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: 7/4 on January 01, 2015, 08:31:24 AM
Yet another label joins the 90th birthday celebrations of PB:

(http://cdn.tower.jp/za/l/85/825646190485.jpg)
Pierre Boulez: The Complete Erato Recordings (14 CDs)

announced in France and Japan for February / March...

I'd like a copy of that box. This is all his music, instead of him conducting performances of other composers work, right?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: petrarch on January 01, 2015, 08:57:18 AM
I'd like a copy of that box. This is all his music, instead of him conducting performances of other composers work, right?

According to this, it isn't:

https://groups.google.com/d/msg/rec.music.classical.recordings/CcOoK4gJ6zE/lsGkut898QEJ

The last few CDs on the box seem to match this (very worthwhile) one:

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: not edward on January 01, 2015, 09:03:07 AM
I'd like a copy of that box. This is all his music, instead of him conducting performances of other composers work, right?
It's mostly Boulez as conductor rather than as composer--including some recordings that don't feature him at all--and most of what's there has had wide circulation already.

I found this listing, which looks similar to the one petrarch posted:

[CD1] Stravinsky: Pulcinella; Song of the Nightingale
[CD2] Stravinsky: Nightingale; Four Russian Songs; 3 Pieces for String Quartet; Madrid; Four Etudes for Orchestra
[CD3] Stravinsky: Soldier's Tale; Concertino
[CD4] Schoenberg: Pelleas et Melisande; Variations for Orchestra
[CD5] Schoenberg: Violin Concerto; Piano Concerto
[CD6] Messiaen: Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum; Couleurs de la Cite Celeste
[CD7] Berio: Sinfonia; Eindrucke; Xenakis: Jalons
[CD8] Donatoni: Tema, Cadeau; Ligeti: Etudes, Book 1; Horn Trio
[CD9] Kurtag: Messages of the Late Mrs R.V.Troussova; Birtwistle: ...agm...; Grisey: Modulations
[CD10] Carter: Oboe Concerto; Esprit rude/esprit doux; A Mirror on Which to Dwell; Penthode
[CD11] Dufourt: Antiphysis; Ferneyhough: Funerailles I & II; Harvey: Mortuos plango, Vivos voco; Holler: Arcus
[CD12] Boulez: Pli selon pli
[CD13] Boulez: La visage nuptial; Le soleil des eaux; Figures, Doubles, Prismes
[CD14] Boulez: Sonatina, Piano Sonata No 1, Memorial, Dialogue de l'ombre double; cummings ist der Dichter
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: 7/4 on January 01, 2015, 09:19:32 AM
Ah...if I have the last three, I don't need a box!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on January 10, 2015, 09:17:19 AM
Just seen this one too .. which brings together the 2 previous Le Domaine Musical boxes into 1.


Something didn't add up, as the previous Domaine Musical boxes, combined, amounted to 9 CDs (including the bonus CD in box 1, Boulez's first recording of Le Marteau with Marie-Thérèse Cahn and the interview with Boulez by Claude Samuel). This set's 10th CD includes the Canzoni 3 & 5 from the Sacrae Symphoniae of Gabrieli, and Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments, all conducted by Rudolf Albert, and Boulez himself conducting Jean-Claude Eloy's Equivalances...

http://musique.fnac.com/a7948091/Divers-Le-domaine-musical-10-CD-Capbox-Tirage-Limite-CD-album#ficheResume
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Abuelo Igor on January 11, 2015, 04:32:29 AM
This is actually the most interesting for me in all the recent spate of Boulez box sets, as I don't own a single CD of the whole lot. I might get the Erato one, though, despite the repeats, as it includes some Stravinsky recordings I've been desperate to find for a long time.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on January 21, 2015, 04:22:46 PM
"Open"? Nonsense on stilts.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 22, 2015, 04:38:54 AM
Ah, the Glory Days ... when turd in the punchbowl was a Career Path!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on January 22, 2015, 05:14:33 AM
A heartfelt tribute from the Cleveland Orchestra and musicians associated to it:

https://www.youtube.com/v/h9wH-4p53FY

https://www.youtube.com/v/prijib0JVzQ

https://www.youtube.com/v/_eu52_kH8Q8

https://www.youtube.com/v/xhjrIgw-bTM
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on February 22, 2015, 12:27:48 PM
Actes Sud and the Philharmonie de Paris will release a 256-page catalogue of the exhibition scheduled to start next month to commemorate Boulez's 90th birthday:

(http://www.actes-sud.fr/sites/default/files/couv_jpg/9782330047962.jpg)

Further info (in French): http://www.actes-sud.fr/catalogue/arts/pierre-boulez
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: knight66 on February 22, 2015, 09:47:51 PM
To mark his 90th, the  March BBC Music mag has a good set of articles on Boulez, it covers all the major areas of his output separately, composer, conducter etc.

Mike
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on February 26, 2015, 06:31:43 AM
The Chiacgo Symphony Orchestra's Beyond the Score series has made available for viewing the taping of the the world premiere of A Pierre Dream: A Portrait of Pierre Boulez, a sort of concert / happening, with stage elements by Frank Gehry, video projections by Mike Tutaj and artistic supervision Gerard McBurney. Pablo Heras-Casado conducts members of the CSO in excerpts from many of Boulez's work.

A Pierre Dream: A Portrait of Pierre Boulez (http://csosoundsandstories.org/beyond-the-score-a-pierre-dream/?utm_source=mail2&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NewsRelease%3AChicagoSymphonyOrchestraCelebratesPierreBoulez%E2%80%99s90thBirthday)

In about an hour and a half, a fascintaing traversal of Boulez's creative output is made. Very worthwhile, IMHO!  :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on February 27, 2015, 05:03:11 AM
This book is now available as a reasonably priced softcover

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on February 28, 2015, 02:38:55 PM
(http://www.ensembleinter.com/media/images/concerts/EIC.png)

The concert given at Paris's new Philharmonie on February 3, in which the Ensemble Intercontemporain, conducted by Matthias Pintscher and with Marisol Montalvo as soprano soloist, performed Pli selon pli, can be watched on the Arte TV channel's webpage through July 3rd. The second work on the program is Varèse's Amériques...

http://concert.arte.tv/fr/lensemble-intercontemporain-interprete-boulez-et-varese-la-philharmonie-de-paris#_
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on February 28, 2015, 04:39:53 PM
(http://www.ensembleinter.com/media/images/concerts/EIC.png)

The concert given at Paris's new Philharmonie on February 3, in which the Ensemble Intercontemporain, conducted by Matthias Pintscher and with Marisol Montalvo as soprano soloist, performed Pli selon pli, can be watched on the Arte TV channel's webpage through July 3rd. The second work on the program is Varèse's Amériques...

http://concert.arte.tv/fr/lensemble-intercontemporain-interprete-boulez-et-varese-la-philharmonie-de-paris#_

Thanks for posting this link.  I am watching/listening as I type.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on March 01, 2015, 09:54:08 AM
Hope you enjoy(ed) it, sanantonio! This is one of te few major Boulez compositions I've bever seen in concert in its entirety (only the Improvisations sur Mallarmé 1 & 2, conducted by Peter Eötvös last year), and I still regret having missed it when Boulez toured it accross Europe (but, alas, not to Spain) in 2011.

Marisol Montalvo's reaction at the end (during the applause), a sort of mixture of relief, exultancy, sense of accomplishment, and disbelief, is rather touching (and the way one of the--female--violinists of the EIC in the second row watches her, with a face that seems to ask "what is this all about?", is quite funny  ;D ). In any case, singing the whole piece without a score is quite a tour de force, I'd say, and her impassioned delivery of the vocal part seems to me a novel but very valid approach to this stunning music. Brava!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 01, 2015, 10:40:33 AM
Hope you enjoy(ed) it, sanantonio! This is one of te few major Boulez compositions I've bever seen in concert in its entirety (only the Improvisations sur Mallarmé 1 & 2, conducted by Peter Eötvös last year), and I still regret having missed it when Boulez toured it accross Europe (but, alas, not to Spain) in 2011.

Marisol Montalvo's reaction at the end (during the applause), a sort of mixture of relief, exultancy, sense of accomplishment, and disbelief, is rather touching (and the way one of the--female--violinists of the EIC in the second row watches her, with a face that seems to ask "what is this all about?", is quite funny  ;D ). In any case, singing the whole piece without a score is quite a tour de force, I'd say, and her impassioned delivery of the vocal part seems to me a novel but very valid approach to this stunning music. Brava!

I was enjoying it quite a bit until for some reason my internet connection froze up and it stopped about half way through.  I will try to get it going again.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MishaK on March 12, 2015, 12:09:37 PM
Anyone in Chicago can come hear the Aimard/Stefanovich Boulez program at 3pm on Sunday March 15 at Symphony Center. I'm going.

http://cso.org/TicketsAndEvents/EventDetails.aspx?eid=6672

And members of the CSO will be performing Derive 2 on the 23rd:

http://cso.org/TicketsAndEvents/EventDetails.aspx?eid=6525
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on March 12, 2015, 12:17:59 PM
Anyone in Chicago can come hear the Aimard/Stefanovich Boulez program at 3pm on Sunday March 15 at Symphony Center. I'm going.

Same program at Carnegie Hall next day at 7:30 pm.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on March 12, 2015, 12:35:07 PM
Hope you enjoy(ed) it, sanantonio! This is one of te few major Boulez compositions I've bever seen in concert in its entirety (only the Improvisations sur Mallarmé 1 & 2, conducted by Peter Eötvös last year), and I still regret having missed it when Boulez toured it accross Europe (but, alas, not to Spain) in 2011.

Nor to America. Considering that to some ardent Boulezophiles this is his magnum opus, a real shame. I remember hearing it was performed complete once in New York many decades ago, I think under Arthur Winograd, but I've never seen it scheduled, and I've heard Marteau, Repons, Sur Incises, both Derives, all the piano music and more live here. But I've glad to have had the link (from another source); it was a stunning performance in excellent HD quality, and I was able to download it and make a DVD for myself.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on March 14, 2015, 07:27:17 AM
On Thursday, March 26th (the birthday), there will be a brief recital in NY at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by pianist Conor Hanick including some of Boulez's works. Times: 1pm and 3pm, free with museum admission.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on March 16, 2015, 04:15:11 AM
For people interested in Boulez's early works, some VERY RARE pieces like 3 psalmodies for piano and a "mystery" sonata movement  have been broadcasted on France Musique radio for the first time since decades...

The program can be podcasted and is called: Le Mitan des musiciens

http://www.francemusique.fr/emission/le-mitan-des-musiciens/2014-2015/pierre-boulez-maurice-jarre-faces-b-03-16-2015-13-00

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on March 16, 2015, 08:18:50 AM
For people interested in Boulez's early works, some VERY RARE pieces like 3 psalmodies for piano and a "mystery" sonata movement  have been broadcasted on France Musique radio for the first time since decades...

The program can be podcasted and is called: Le Mitan des musiciens

http://www.francemusique.fr/emission/le-mitan-des-musiciens/2014-2015/pierre-boulez-maurice-jarre-faces-b-03-16-2015-13-00
Thanks for this, Joaquimhock ! Finally the withdrawn Psalmodies are available...I must confess I hade never even heard of that sonata movement...and I see that, in the same program, we also have the chance to listen to Boulez as a virtuoso of the Ondes Martinot... :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Joaquimhock on March 17, 2015, 04:12:19 AM
In today's program (dedicated to Boulez's early works all the week long) Renaud Machart explained that this "mouvement de sonate" was an intermediary version of sonata N°1

He also broadcasted the very rare Oubli signal lapidé for choir.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: MishaK on March 19, 2015, 03:23:09 PM
Agree with Tommasini. Matches my experience at their Chicago performance last Sunday.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on March 21, 2015, 01:20:29 AM
A glowing tribute by George Benjamin in The Guardian:

I once asked a group of young composers I was teaching whether there was any modern music they didn’t like. More than half of them mentioned Pierre Boulez. I was initially shocked that they could reject such a supreme musical creator of our time, but the fiercely polemical character of the man may have been the reason for their antipathy. After all, it was Boulez who once declared, without a trace of irony, that any composer who did not acknowledge the necessity of Schoenberg’s 12-tone system was “useless”, and who wrote caustic articles such as “Schoenberg Is Dead”, criticising the Austrian composer’s approach just months after his death in 1951.

Many young composers read his writings, but they don’t always know his music. And yet what you might not guess from the polemics is the sheer beauty of his compositions.

Messiaen, who taught Boulez, would say of him that, underneath it all, he was simply a poet. Messiaen also believed it would take a long time for the wider public to really understand Boulez’s music, because it has a very particular and original sensibility.

I knew of Boulez well before I studied with Messiaen in the late 1970s. Growing up in the UK, I watched his superb documentaries on BBC2, directed by Barrie Gavin. Boulez was the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s chief conductor in the early 70s and together they presented a sequence of inspiring programmes about modern music. Works by Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Ives, Bartók, Stravinsky, Varèse, Messiaen and Boulez himself were performed, analysed and contextualised. It was the kind of programming that is so sadly missing today, and it had a huge impact on me as a teenager. I also remember hearing him conduct Berg’s Violin Concerto and the Rite of Spring with the National Youth Orchestra at the Festival Hall, London, and at the Proms where he placed a new Ligeti work alongside his own music.

Messiaen would talk with pride of his former student, describing him as a formidable and immense talent, though when young “he was like a flayed lion”. Boulez was indeed a very angry young man.

He attacked anything in sight, including those who had taught him, such as René Leibowitz, a Schoenberg disciple who was largely responsible for introducing serialism to Paris. At one point, Boulez even turned against Messiaen, who had done so much to encourage and help him, and it was five years before their relationship was restored.

Boulez grew up in Nazi-occupied France. He was 20 when the second world war ended. The continent had to make itself anew. Messiaen used to describe travelling home on the Metro with Boulez after classes. Boulez would say “Who’s going to put music right? It’s in such a terrible state.”

And Messiaen would reply: “You.” He considered himself from his earliest days to have an almost Napoleonic mission regarding music and its cultural role. His ambition was not only to compose, but to change the attitude of the public, institutions in France and – later – the wider western world with regard to modernism. He initially pursued this aim with a heightened form of ideological dogmatism. The works of the Second Viennese School, and composers such as Bartók and Varèse, were not played at all in Paris in the late 40s; that they are now part of the international concert repertoire is in large part due to Boulez.

As a conductor, his approach to the early modernist masterpieces has had a tremendous impact on the way they are considered by younger conductors and heard by audiences. He made stupendous recordings of hundreds of pieces of music – among them works by his illustrious contemporaries Carter, Ligeti, Kurtág, Stockhausen, Berio and Birtwistle – and has inspired and helped generations of younger composers.

Through the power of his personality, the scale of his reputation and his considerable personal charm, Boulez has made big things happen, way beyond the confines of manuscript paper. Paris’s new concert hall, the Philharmonie de Paris, owes its existence to him, as does the rest of the Cité de la Musique, his own group the Ensemble Intercontemporain and IRCAM, the musical research institution attached to the Pompidou Centre.

In his own music, however, he moved away from serialism, the great rallying cry of his youth, and over the years has further distanced himself from the concept, now viewing it with scepticism. For me, his best compositions are not the ones from his early years but the works in which the foundations of his earlier idiom are treated much more freely and with greater fantasy. I believe that only when he accepted he was fundamentally a French composer did he find his true voice.

Le Marteau sans maître (1953-57) was a breakthrough. It is a work in which you can also hear the profound influence of extra-European music, above all from Asia and Africa. This radically alters the sonority and the music’s sense of time and direction, as well as its expressive viewpoint and ethos. Boulez was by no means the first French composer to be open to, and ravished by, eastern music – it had already had a transformative effect on the father of modern music, Debussy, and on succeeding generations – but he took it a stage further, and the curious marriage between his already transforming serial universe and the extra‑European world produced a unique style.

For me, his quasi-symphonic portrait of Mallarmé, Pli selon pli – completed in the early 60s – is a greater masterpiece, and the decades that followed produced gem after gem: Eclat/Multiples, Cummings Ist der Dichter, … explosante-fixe … , Sur Incises ... There is no better postwar piece written for orchestra than Notations, his five hyper-elaborate orchestral canvases, all based on very simple serial pieces he wrote for the piano in his early 20s. Arguably the most important composer-conductor since Mahler, Boulez knows the orchestra more intimately than any of his colleagues, and these short, dazzling showpieces have an intoxicating exuberance and elegance.

Boulez has only published around 30 works in his lifetime, the last about a decade ago. The first time we spent an evening together, in the mid-1980s, I asked him if he had any advice for me. He said: “No, except for one thing: write, just make sure you write lots of music.”

Now aged 90, looking back, he perhaps feels he would have liked to have written more. But I suspect he has not had the easiest of relationships with his muse. This is a man with a vastly refined and critical mind. His intelligence is so questioning and extreme, and his aural imagination so sensitive and acute, that composing must have been a taxing experience. The world today doesn’t need huge numbers of pieces, as it did in, say, Haydn’s time. What are needed, surely, are essential statements, singular and unique works. And these he has provided, without question.

With his conducting and recording, his work with orchestras and institutions in Paris, London, New York and Lucerne, Boulez found a balance that worked for him. He loved conducting, and cherished the contact he has had with the Cleveland and Chicago Symphony Orchestras in the USA, as well as the BBC and London Symphony Orchestras here. His closeness and devotion to the Ensemble Intercontemporain, is such that they resemble family. And then there is his revelatory Wagner interpretation in the centenary Ring at Bayreuth. He has achieved more than most achieve in three lifetimes.

Ultimately I think Boulez is a great optimist, despite the shadows that coloured his early years. In the end what he believes is simple: today’s music has to be different from the music of the past.

That’s a natural thing. Western music continues to evolve and transform


http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/mar/20/george-benjamin-in-praise-of-pierre-boulez-at-90

There's also a a link in The Guardian to archival material from the paper, starting in the early 50s: here (http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/mar/20/george-benjamin-in-praise-of-pierre-boulez-at-90)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: NJ Joe on March 21, 2015, 07:43:12 AM
Review: Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich in All-Boulez Program
By ANTHONY TOMMASINI
MARCH 17, 2015

(http://static01.nyt.com/images/2015/03/18/arts/18AIMARD/18AIMARD-master675.jpg)
Tamara Stefanovich and Pierre-Laurent Aimard on Monday night at Zankel Hall.
Credit Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times


Pierre Boulez emerged in the late 1940s in Paris as a combative modernist, the brash new leader of the avant-garde. By 1952 he declared that any musician who had not felt the “necessity of the dodecaphonic language” was “of no use.” Despite subsequent decades of winning over mainstream classical music audiences through his work as a conductor with lucid, colorful performances of everything from Wagner operas to Mahler symphonies, Mr. Boulez, who turns 90 on March 26, has never shaken his early reputation for writing pieces of off-putting complexity.

I wonder if those who feel this way might have had an epiphany from the Boulez program on Monday night at Zankel Hall. The masterly French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, along with a former student, the brilliant Yugoslav-born pianist Tamara Stefanovich, offered a rare chance for an immersion in some of Mr. Boulez’s most fiendishly difficult pieces. Between them they played the complete solo piano works, including the three seminal sonatas, as well as Book II of “Structures” for two pianos. In these dazzling, rhapsodic and nuanced performances, Mr. Boulez’s thorny pieces came across as radical, yes; extreme, for sure; but stunningly inventive and supremely musical.

Before playing “Douze Notations,” a set of 12 miniatures that Mr. Boulez wrote in 1945 when he was 20, Mr. Aimard, a close associate of the composer, explained that the piano was Mr. Boulez’s main instrument for exploration of new compositional challenges. Yet the “Notations” are like character pieces, he said, a quality Mr. Aimard conveyed in his vibrant performance, full of restless energy and myriad shadings. For all the bursts of steely chords and spiraling pointillist flights, echoes of Messiaen, Stravinsky and Schoenberg came through.

In this context, the Piano Sonata No. 1, from 1946, which Mr. Aimard played next, one heard the young Mr. Boulez taking a leap into audacious originality. More jarring than the skittish streams of 12-tone rows and whatnot is the rhythmic radicalism of the sonata. For all the breathless intensity, there is little sense of pulse here. The music unfolds in organic gestures, all fits and starts and stops. Yet Mr. Aimard drew captivating lyricism from the music as well. A gesture would begin with clanking clusters and splintering lines, then trail off into delicate curlicues with crucial lingering notes .

Ms. Stefanovich then played the Sonata No. 2 (completed in 1948), a monumental work in four movements, one of the hardest pieces ever written. Here the young Mr. Boulez was taking on Beethoven, writing a tradition-bashing answer to the challenge of the mighty “Hammerklavier” Sonata. Ms. Stefanovich’s performance was staggeringly brilliant, especially the frenzied, explosive climax of the final fast movement.

Mr. Aimard returned for the Sonata No. 3 (completed in 1957), music that alternates between musical assertions and pensive ruminations. Ms. Stefanovich then played “Incises,” composed in 1994 for a piano competition, a work she aptly described as a “21st-century neurotic toccata.” For once Mr. Boulez gives us a piece with streams of repeated notes and pulsing rhythmic riffs. Mr. Aimard also played “Une Page d’Éphéméride,” a short work that Mr. Boulez was asked to write in 2005 as part of an album for young pianists. Being Boulez, though, he clearly had in mind aspiring pianists who already had considerable technique.

Finally, these two Boulez champions performed Book II of “Structures” (completed in 1961), in which the pianists play with significant independence from each other, according to their in-the-moment choices. Even the sequence of events is not predetermined. By reputation this is a piece of formidable complexity, both for performers and listeners. Yet in this arresting, at times impish performance, it sounded delightful.



Can someone recommend available recordings of these works?

Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on March 21, 2015, 08:00:54 AM
I agree with James's recommendations (and it's good to see that Jumppanen's Third sonata gets the credit it's due IMHO).

You may consider, in any case, going for this, NJ Joe:


It's available in Europe for about half the price AmUS is quoting. You get the Aimard First, the Pollini Second and the Jumpannen Third, plus (almost) all of Boulez's other music in authorative perfromances...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: NJ Joe on March 21, 2015, 08:13:17 AM
I agree with James's recommendations (and it's good to see that Jumppanen's Third sonata gets the credit it's due IMHO).

You may consider, in any case, going for this, NJ Joe:


It's available in Europe for about half the price AmUS is quoting. You get the Aimard First, the Pollini Second and the Jumpannen Third, plus (almost) all of Boulez's other music in authorative perfromances...

Yes I have been strongly considering this, and didn't realize it contained the piano sonatas.  I'd say now it's a definite purchase.

Thanks!

EDIT:  Well it does say complete works now, doesn't it? For some reason I was thinking complete works for orchestra.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on March 21, 2015, 08:27:38 AM
Yes I have been strongly considering this, and didn't realize it contained the piano sonatas.  I'd say now it's a definite purchase.

Thanks!

EDIT:  Well it does say complete works now, doesn't it? For some reason I was thinking complete works for orchestra.
Unless shipping to the US is prohibitively expensive, try here (http://www.amazon.it/Complete-Works--Ltd--Pierre-Boulez/dp/B00BLDHPZS/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1426953390&sr=1-3&keywords=boulez)

It is "complete", if you disregard he withdrawn or unpublished works (Polyphonie X, Trois Psalmodies for piano, Oubli Signal Lapidé for choir, the incidental music, etc.). Many of these works can be listened to in France Musique's webpage, as Joaquimhock pointed out a couple of days ago.

For people interested in Boulez's early works, some VERY RARE pieces like 3 psalmodies for piano and a "mystery" sonata movement  have been broadcasted on France Musique radio for the first time since decades...

The program can be podcasted and is called: Le Mitan des musiciens

http://www.francemusique.fr/emission/le-mitan-des-musiciens/2014-2015/pierre-boulez-maurice-jarre-faces-b-03-16-2015-13-00
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on March 22, 2015, 07:54:24 PM
this thread gets more suspenseful with each post,... always wondering "did I miss it?" "is he still with us?"

i Mean can we just not talk about B until... "it" happens, so I don't have to hold my breath every time I click on here, hmm?


Must admit .. I do not care for any of Boulez's other solo (or duo) piano compositions outside of the Piano Sonatas.

what don't you like about the 2 piano piece,... Structures? You like BAZ's 2 piano piece (Kontarsky)?


I still like

Amaird (Erato) = No.1
Pollini = No.2
Jumpy = No.3
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on March 23, 2015, 12:22:43 AM
this thread gets more suspenseful with each post,... always wondering "did I miss it?" "is he still with us?"
Me, too. And it's all because you mentioned it last year!

I wonder if he will publish anything else, but I hear he is not well. Has he conducted recently?

BTW James, thanks for the BBC link. They have some great stuff!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 23, 2015, 03:09:03 AM
Quote from: George Benjamin
Boulez has only published around 30 works in his lifetime, the last about a decade ago. The first time we spent an evening together, in the mid-1980s, I asked him if he had any advice for me. He said: “No, except for one thing:  write, just make sure you write lots of music.”

Now aged 90, looking back, he perhaps feels he would have liked to have written more. But I suspect he has not had the easiest of relationships with his muse. [...]

[...] In the end what he believes is simple: today’s music has to be different from the music of the past.

That’s a natural thing. Western music continues to evolve and transform.

As always, one smiles at the central irony of this artist's life:  “... what he believes is simple: today’s music has to be different from the music of the past.”

And — apparently unable to follow his own advice (“just make sure you write lots of music”) — he's painted himself intellectually into a corner, with the result that the last music he published was “about a decade ago.”

An irony which, of course, casts question on the value of his firm pronouncements. (And again, the difference between their being of interest, and of use.)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on March 23, 2015, 03:14:30 AM
 8)
Quote from: A. Page
[Boulez] came to give a composer's workshop at the Conservatoire I studied at. I was pleasantly surprised by him.
The first question to him (asked by me) was: " You have been quoted as saying that the idea of a great English composer is a genetic impossibility, are we wasting our time?"

Hilarity and applause ensued. " The only time you seem to be wasting" he replied " is in reading my old interviews."
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 23, 2015, 03:49:40 AM
Hah!

(Accountability was never Boulez's friend.)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 25, 2015, 05:04:42 AM
LOL

It's come full circle:  the puffery with which Wagner has been traditionally honored is now an attribute of Boulez:  "there's no such thing as indifference to him!  You hates him if you don't love him!  And, and, that means, yes, by God, that he is ALL IMPORTANT !!!"

Quote
The fact is: No one can escape Boulez, whether it is as a follower or rebel.

This thread would be so much more fun if it were less The Mickey Mouse Club.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 25, 2015, 05:11:35 AM
LOL

It's come full circle:  the puffery with which Wagner has been traditionally honored is now an attribute of Boulez:  "there's no such thing as indifference to him!  You hates him if you don't love him!  And, and, that means, yes, by God, that he is ALL IMPORTANT !!!"

This thread would be so much more fun if it were less The Mickey Mouse Club.

How can you argue with this statement?

"It is not enough to deface the Mona Lisa because that does not kill the Mona Lisa. All art of the past must be destroyed." — Pierre Boulez

Leaving only his music, until that is, he is part of the past.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 25, 2015, 05:19:53 AM
How can you argue with this statement?

"It is not enough to deface the Mona Lisa because that does not kill the Mona Lisa. All art of the past must be destroyed." — Pierre Boulez

As tireless self-promotion, the statement is inspired  8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 25, 2015, 05:54:44 AM
Ah yes, right on cue .. the usual gang of idiots has arrived.

I agree, Boulez did make an idiotic statement.  One of many.  But why don't you cut and paste another glowing tribute, in an even larger font.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 25, 2015, 05:58:44 AM
It's part of his unintended humor.  Those who disagree with him are perforce idiots!  How could it be otherwise?

Say, is James a commentator on Fox News, do you suppose?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 25, 2015, 06:00:39 AM
And, considering how slight the chances are of Boulez completing another composition anytime soon, face it:  James's self-spoofing keeps the interest in this thread!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on March 25, 2015, 06:30:36 AM
Ladies & Gentlemen...

Is it really necessary to vent our little (and at times even petty) disagreements in this thread? For many, Pierre Boulez is anathema, and a destrucuive force in music. For others (including myself), he has been a man that has broadened horizons in music (and even outside music) and has been a constant company in our music-loving lives for many years.

The man turns 90 tomorrow, and this is a reason for many of us to rejoice. Do we need to turn this into a Boulez-bashing thraad just now? There's lots of music I don't care for, but I wouldn't dream of going into, for instance, the Shostakovich thread to write how unbelivebly ugly I think Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk is...

Not liking Boulez is perfectly legitimate...But I do think he's being used in some posts as a pawn to settle other scores that have nothing to do with him or his work...

Cheers,
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 25, 2015, 06:33:52 AM
It's not Boulez I dislike, I treasure his music, while ignoring his many excessive statements.  No, the unfortunate distraction taking up so much space in this thread is his fanboy.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 25, 2015, 06:36:55 AM
It's not Boulez I dislike, I treasure his music, while ignoring his many excessive statements.

Ditto.

Ladies & Gentlemen...

Is it really necessary to vent our little (and at times even petty) disagreements in this thread? For many, Pierre Boulez is anathema, and a destructuive force in muisc. For others (including myself), he has been a man that has broadened horizons in music (and even outside music) and has been a constant company in our music-loving llives for many years.

The man turns 90 tomorrow, and this is a reason for many of us to rejoice. Do we need to turn this in a Boulez-bashing therad just now? There's lots of music I don't care for, but I wouldn't dream of going into, for instance, the Shostakovish thread to write how unbelivebly ugly I think Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk is...

Not liking Boulez is perfectly legitimate...But I do think he's being used in some posts as a pawn to settle other scores that have nothing to do with him or his work...

I am open to being shown how any of my posts today have been "bashing Boulez," neighbor.

There's only one party here bashing, and he is The Pro-Boulez Front.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on March 25, 2015, 08:34:58 AM
I agree, Boulez did make an idiotic statement.  One of many.  But why don't you cut and paste another glowing tribute, in an even larger font.

And your point is what? So he made a statement. Lots of composers make statements. Some are pretty idiotic too. What matters in the long run are Boulez's contributions to composition and conducting.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 25, 2015, 08:41:57 AM
And your point is what? So he made a statement. Lots of composers make statements. Some are pretty idiotic too. What matters in the long run are Boulez's contributions to composition and conducting.

I agree 100%.  Just tweaking James.   Right; a useless pursuit.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 25, 2015, 08:58:34 AM
. . . What matters in the long run are Boulez's contributions to composition and conducting.

Agree completely.  I wished simply to point out the 2-D disingenuousness of Mark Swed's "Boulez influences you, even if you do nothing like what he does" gambit.  Well, and yes, I found it funny, because that's just what your pickled-in-the-Kool-Ade Wagnerite says about his idol.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 25, 2015, 10:44:27 AM
http://www.universaledition.com/boulez-90
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 25, 2015, 10:46:07 AM
Quote
But Bruckner’s influence is surprising, since Bruckner wasn't part of French musical culture – at least not while you were growing up.

Boulez: Bruckner wasn’t even performed at all, and even as late as when Karajan brought along a symphony by Bruckner when he came on tour with the Berlin Philharmonic, the reaction in some of the papers was, "why did he bring this monster?" And even Messiaen – though you can imagine that there are some very strange ties between the universe of Messiaen and the universe of Bruckner – Messiaen said, "oh, Bruckner, that’s a lot of bridges." Now in French, when you have a transition from one section to another one, you call that a bridge. And for Messiaen, Bruckner’s music was simply one of transition after transition after transition. And that’s very strange, and the French are indeed sometimes complete strangers to ways of musical thinking that are not native to their own practice. Even in the case of Mahler: now he’s very popular, but France was that last country to rediscover him. England and the States were much more open to the influence of Mahler [than] the French were.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on March 26, 2015, 01:17:06 AM
Happy 90th birthday! Joyeux anniversaire! Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!

(http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Salzburg+Festival+Pierre+Boulez+Receives+Award+WA0uvaw_xV4l.jpg)
With deep gratitude for all the joy Pierre Boulez has given to many of us for many, many years.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 26, 2015, 02:18:28 AM
I could say something like "20th century is just too easy at this point .. and everything usually is weighted toward the 1st half of the century give or take a year. I don't think [Pierre Boulez] has assimilated the masters of the 2nd half much."

But I won't.


 ;D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 26, 2015, 02:32:59 AM
I could say something like "20th century is just too easy at this point .. and everything usually is weighted toward the 1st half of the century give or take a year. I don't think [Pierre Boulez] has assimilated the masters of the 2nd half much."

But I won't.


 ;D

It's a notion worth considering, though  8)

Happy birthday, maître! (Put that marteau down ....)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 26, 2015, 02:34:06 AM


Christ .. I saw that one coming last week.

Was it at a very early age that you had your sense of humor removed?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: springrite on March 26, 2015, 02:39:25 AM
It's a notion worth considering, though 8)

Happy birthday, maître! (Put that marteau down ....)

Well, happy birthday, with a marteau-shaped birthday cake!

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 26, 2015, 02:50:45 AM
It's a notion worth considering, though 8)

Happy birthday, maître! (Put that marteau down ....)

Hear, hear!  Happy Birthday. 

Another notion worth considering is how Euro-centric is his list. 

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on March 26, 2015, 02:59:34 AM
Happy birthday to Boulez

Another notion worth considering is how Euro-centric is his list.
And the only living composer on the list is Boulez. . .
But it's not a list of the ten greatest pieces, just ten great pieces. And it's all music he knows intimately, has performed, and comes or is part of the tradition he comes from.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 26, 2015, 03:01:26 AM
Come on! You know your stuff or what?

First, that is the birth place of western art music/composition, it was imported to the States much, much later.

Second, his oft stated favorite American composer was Elliott Carter.


I think it shows how trivial these kinds of lists are.  Boulez is an important composer/musician, but his list is just another pointless list of works that are fetishized at the expense of all the other well crafted and worthwhile music that has been written in the vast amount of space not included in any list of ten works.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 26, 2015, 03:38:06 AM
I think it shows how trivial these kinds of lists are.  Boulez is an important composer/musician, but his list is just another pointless list of works that are fetishized at the expense of all the other well crafted and worthwhile music that has been written in the vast amount of space not included in any list of ten works.

Why, you almost talk as if Boulez had merely human limitations and prejudices!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Christo on March 26, 2015, 05:04:33 AM
Pointless? Central-Europe is the cultural center of classical music and it's birth place, wake up please.
Central-Europe is nowadays generally defined as 'Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania' and a few neighbours. So, I tend to agree with your Central-European preferences.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 26, 2015, 05:05:28 AM
Pointless? Central-Europe is the cultural center of classical music and it's birth place, wake up please.

And I'd say that is a pretty damn great list. Like you know any better!


It is a arguably a very good list.  However, you missed my point entirely, which was not that I had a problem with his specific choices.  Rather my criticism was towards the idea of compiling a list in the first place.  It is akin, IMO, to attempting to capture the entire history of the 20th century with ten headlines.  And for Boulez, only European newspapers at that.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 26, 2015, 05:09:08 AM
There's something wonderfully (if only mildly) amusing about a native speaker of English, in this "Cultural Policing" context, employing both a superfluous hyphen and the wrong form of its:

Quote from: The only guy here who has it together musically, face it
Central-Europe is the cultural center of classical music and it's birth place, wake up please.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 26, 2015, 05:16:24 AM
I suppose the eradication of the fallacies only begins with . . . at this point, does Classical Music have a "center"?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on March 26, 2015, 05:18:49 AM
I suppose the eradication of the fallacies only begins with . . . at this point, does Classical Music have a "center"?
When did it have? I have a feeling that this is always posthumous creation, the winners writing the history of the cultural wars. . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 26, 2015, 05:23:39 AM
When did it have? I have a feeling that this is always posthumous creation, the winners writing the history of the cultural wars. . .

Exactly.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on March 26, 2015, 05:46:29 AM
Guys, it's PB's birthday! Stop arguing! Go and listen to Eclat or something...

*In a scolding tone* Karl, stop firing up James! James, stop catching on fire!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on March 26, 2015, 05:53:30 AM
Guys, it's PB's birthday! Stop arguing! Go and listen to Eclat or something...

*In a scolding tone* Karl, stop firing up James! James, stop catching on fire!

I will honor his birthday in the most appropriate way. I will try to have other composers' music suppressed.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 26, 2015, 05:56:23 AM
I wonder if Boulez enjoys The Simpsons . . . .

I will honor his birthday in the most appropriate way. I will try to have other composers' music suppressed.

(* dries a tear of chauvinistic pride *)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on March 26, 2015, 06:35:08 AM
I wonder if Boulez enjoys The Simpsons . . . .
I'm sure he does. They made fun of Philip Glass in an episode (the one when Springfield got a concert hall and orchestra). People start leaving after the first 8 notes of Beethoven's 5th (because "that's the important part!") and Marge yells out "Wait -- don't go! Next up we have Philip Glass!" They all run out screaming (including the musicians).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 26, 2015, 07:08:58 AM
Well, and Tippett enjoyed Wonder Woman, so who would fault Pierre for digging The Simpsons?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: springrite on March 26, 2015, 07:14:42 AM
Well, and Tippett enjoyed Wonder Woman, so who would fault Pierre for digging The Simpsons?

Lest not forget Herr Henning and South Park...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 26, 2015, 07:40:01 AM
Lest not forget Herr Henning and South Park...

Get Smart
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: springrite on March 26, 2015, 07:58:40 AM
Get Smart !

Doh!

Missed it by THAT MUCH!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 26, 2015, 09:31:34 AM
Not quite and it's what we do .. separate the best from the rest. Welcome to reality.

Who's we?  My reality is one where people discover the best from the rest for themselves.  I am not going to apply my taste to limit their selections.  Once you create a list and open a door to that small group of works, often you are closing them off to a much greater world of music.  What I prefer is for people to simply enjoy the process of discovery.  If I ever try to do anything it is to encourage them to take the journey and find new music for themselves that no one has proselytized to them as "the best".
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 26, 2015, 09:32:59 AM
Separating the best from the rest:  that's why I have no time for James's opinions, come to think of it.  There's a proper application of the principle.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: chadfeldheimer on March 26, 2015, 10:00:05 AM
When did it have? I have a feeling that this is always posthumous creation, the winners writing the history of the cultural wars. . .
I guess the last few dozen post's belong to a battle of the cultural war you're speaking of.  ;)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 26, 2015, 10:03:48 AM
Come on, wake up seriously. Lists by minds like Boulez do not inhibit exploration they often encourage more of it. i.e. I liked that piece let me explore more from this composer etc. ... .. .. then the branching out begins. They are often reference points to more, not FINAL endpoints.

This is his list:

I. Edgard Varèse, Ameriques
II. Alban Berg, Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6
III. Igor Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring
IV. Béla Bartók, Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta
V. Anton Webern, Six Pieces for Orchestra
VI. Luciano Berio, Sinfonia
VII. Karlheinz Stockhausen, Gruppen
VIII. Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 6
IX. Arnold Schönberg, Erwartung
X. Pierre Boulez, Repons

Here we are 15 years into the 21st century, and he is talking about Mahler.  Several of those works are from not just the first half of the 20th century, but the first quarter.  Much of the best new music has nothing to do with any of those composers. Other than for some vague idea of his understanding of music history, I am not very interested in the works Pierre Boulez considers the most important, or why. 

Maybe you think this kind of list will inspire people to find new music, but for me all it does is drag down the discussion with the weight of the past.  Instead of trying to point people to "the best" of the last 100 years, just point them to something that is being done, today.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 26, 2015, 10:05:57 AM
I guess the last few dozen post's belong to a battle of the cultural war you're speaking of.  ;)

Ken was joking;  and, typically, our certain someone doesn't get that it's a joke  8)

I will honor his birthday in the most appropriate way. I will try to have other composers' music suppressed.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 26, 2015, 10:40:10 AM
This is his list:

Allow me to add dates—

I. Edgard Varèse, Ameriques (1918–1921; revised 1927)
II. Alban Berg, Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6 (1913-1915)
III. Igor Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring (1912-13)
IV. Béla Bartók, Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta (1936)
V. Anton Webern, Six Pieces for Orchestra (1909–10, revised 1928)
VI. Luciano Berio, Sinfonia (1968)
VII. Karlheinz Stockhausen, Gruppen (1955–57)
VIII. Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 6 (1903–04)
IX. Arnold Schönberg, Erwartung (1909)
X. Pierre Boulez, Répons (completed 1984?)

So:

* 6 out of 10 works from the first quarter of the XX-c.
* 7 out of 10 works from the first half of the XX-c. (and elsewhere, James sneers at GMG-ers who are "stuck in" the first half of the XX-c.)
* Of the remaining three works, he wrote one, and the other two were written by close friends (that's bad tone when anyone else does it, but when one of James's idols does it, it's just another aspect of his genius)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on March 26, 2015, 11:31:18 AM
Ken was joking;  and, typically, our certain someone doesn't get that it's a joke  8)

Actually I picketed the DSO. They were about to perform Shostakovich! Thankfully my sirens are loder than their strings. The 10th was averted!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: snyprrr on March 26, 2015, 04:45:09 PM
so... much... text,.. so,... sleepy,...I..I...I....
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: springrite on March 26, 2015, 04:47:34 PM
so... much... text,.. so,... sleepy,...I..I...I....

You don't have to read it, you know.


OK, time to listen to pli selon pli … no text...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Robert on March 26, 2015, 04:58:26 PM
The Sensuous Radical: Pierre Boulez at 90
MARCH 26, 201512:49 PM ET

(http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/03/25/boulez-d7320281aceb451c588b0fdecff04206f60de482-s800-c85.jpg)

Once there was a young firebrand whose revolutionary ideas forever changed the shape, feel and sound of classical music. No, we're not talking about Beethoven. We're talking about Boulez. Pierre Boulez, the French composer and conductor, turns 90 years old today.

The young Boulez was a rebel, even a rabble-rouser right after World War II, both in his music and in his musical philosophy.

"I see music as a kind of continuity, like a big tree," Boulez told NPR in 2000. "Of course there are many branches, many different directions. I think music is in constant evolution, and there is nothing absolutely fixed and rigidly determined."

But there was one thing fixed in Boulez's mind: the need to shake music up. Early on, he and some like-minded buddies disrupted a Stravinsky concert, complaining about the composer's neoclassical style. Later, Boulez declared that one solution to opera's problems would be to blow up the opera houses.

"In Britain we had this phrase 'angry young man,'" says Paul Griffiths, author of the book Modern Music and After. "Boulez was very decisive about how things should go for himself at a very early age and rejecting anything that stood in his way or that seemed to be backpedaling on the way to the future."

The young Boulez was disillusioned after the war. How could European culture spawn such carnage? Music, like Europe, Boulez thought, would have to be rebuilt. But first he had to tear it down.

"The only way to assert himself," Griffiths says, "was to be against everything else, to push through barriers and through destruction to bring about something new."

What Boulez created was a new emphasis on sound, color and the very building blocks of music.

"This music is as seductive as any on the planet," says St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Music Director David Robertson. The conductor spent most of the 1990s in Paris leading Boulez's Ensemble Intercontemporain. He's quick to point out the sensual side of Boulez's music, as in Notation No. 1 for orchestra, which began its life as a piano miniature in 1945.

"When Notation No. 1 enters," Robertson notes, "you have this different layering of the instruments between the harps and the violins in such a way that it's almost as though we're laying out different types of silk fabric that interweave. And they are not clearly folded. They are being draped on the musical landscape."

You may not be able to hum Notation No. 1, but Griffiths feels that's not the point.

(http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/03/25/boulez2_wide-398672b6d1ae49ac2879f4cba025dc794b3b8183-s800-c85.jpg)

"You have to change your idea of what melody and harmony are," Griffiths says. "The thing is, we're all brought up with this huge education in the harmonic system that governed Western music for so long. And that music has taught us how to listen to that music and it hasn't taught us how to listen to other music."

Other music from other countries, for instance, or the 12-tone style of music developed by Arnold Schoenberg in the 1920s, which inspired Boulez. There's a little of both, Griffiths says, in Boulez's 1955 breakthrough Le Marteau sans maître (The Hammer Without a Master).

"He forms a completely new kind of chamber ensemble," Griffiths says. "It now sounds standard because it has become almost the norm. But then it was completely new." Think of ensembles like eighth blackbird today.

In Marteau there's a singer and a percussionist, plus flute and viola. Then a guitar which hints at Spain, a vibraphone that evokes Indonesian music and a xylophone that conjures up African music.

"It's a kind of world music long before we were talking about world music, but re-formed in completely his own way," Griffiths says.

The piece was evocative, and even something of a hit for Boulez, but it was also complicated. Early on, the composer was the only one who understood his music well enough to conduct it. And that's how Boulez backed into a second career as a conductor, leading major orchestras in London, New York, Chicago and Cleveland, conducting a width swath of classical music from Handel to the contemporary British composer George Benjamin (who has returned the favor).

By transforming himself into an all-purpose conductor, Boulez could cushion concerts with audience favorites while introducing contemporary pieces.

It's another Boulez innovation still influencing the concert experience today, according to Griffiths: "The conductors from the next generation, and the generation after that, like Esa-Pekka Salonen or Simon Rattle, are able to do a much wider repertoire with much more new music than was possible before Boulez was on the podium."

Over the years, the angry young man has mellowed a bit, but not completely. Boulez has harsh words for composers today who look only to the past and write pretty melodies.

"I find that's lazy, especially," Boulez says. "They don't try to revive anything. They just copy, and copy badly, and that's really for me the worst of sins, when you're not imaginative at all, when you are just complacent with yourself."

And when quizzed about the ferocity of his opinions, Boulez is still rapier quick: "I'm not ferocious at all. I am defining what I think. If you call that ferocity, ferocity is a very cheap way of living."

But no one will accuse Boulez of living cheaply, especially Robertson. "There is no B.S. in anything that he is doing," Robertson says, "either on the page or conducting."

At 90, Boulez remains a protean force for new music through his own compositions and institutions that he founded, the Ensemble Intercontemporain and the high-tech experimental music lab, IRCAM, in Paris. And, for a younger generation of artists, such as Robertson, Boulez is still a beacon, a musical thinker, a provocateur, a pioneer charting new ground.

"It's that real singular devotion to the music which I think will be his greatest legacy," Robertson says. "There are relatively few people who have this impact on the world, and Pierre is definitely up there among the major personalities of the 20th and 21st centuries."

James,
I hate to bring this up. But this article reminds me a bit about that John Coltrane discussion we had. He was also sick and aging,  You said he put his Sop Sax away. Do you thing that Boulez would put his Baton away??  Inquiring minds want to know.....
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 27, 2015, 02:07:40 AM
so... much... text,.. so,... sleepy,...I..I...I....
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 27, 2015, 02:11:08 AM
He's right. though:  His ferocity was cheap.

"The only way to assert himself," Griffiths says, "was to be against everything else [...]" and there are some who think that's "new," right?

8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Christo on March 27, 2015, 02:27:37 AM
One of the two main characteristics of Modernism, according to Peter Gray (the book met with a lot of criticism, but this was not the point in that IMO) is the 'ruthless exploration of the self en self expression' (in Charles Taylor terms). Some lived after this idea.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 27, 2015, 02:54:47 AM
I'm a little late with the birthday celebration, but I searched for what was my first introduction to Pierre Boulez. It was a 1992 televised concert commemorating the 150th anniversary of the NY Phil, I believe it aired on the New York PBS station when I was living in Jersey. It was also my introduction to Le Mer. I recorded it on VHS back then and must have watched it 30 times. I'm really thrilled to have located it.
The concert also featured a conductor-less Candide Ovt, Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel with Mehta and Dvorak's New World Symphony with Masur.

https://www.youtube.com/v/5XVHLO9k3HI
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 27, 2015, 03:51:05 AM
One of the two main characteristics of Modernism, according to Peter Gray (the book met with a lot of criticism, but this was not the point in that IMO) is the 'ruthless exploration of the self en self expression' (in Charles Taylor terms). Some lived after this idea.

Well, and that sounds like an extension of Romanticism.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 27, 2015, 03:51:47 AM
I'm a little late with the birthday celebration, but I searched for what was my first introduction to Pierre Boulez. It was a 1992 televised concert commemorating the 150th anniversary of the NY Phil, I believe it aired on the New York PBS station when I was living in Jersey. It was also my introduction to Le Mer. I recorded it on VHS back then and must have watched it 30 times. I'm really thrilled to have located it.
The concert also featured a conductor-less Candide Ovt, Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel with Mehta and Dvorak's New World Symphony with Masur.

https://www.youtube.com/v/5XVHLO9k3HI

Très cool!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 27, 2015, 03:54:03 AM
Well, and that sounds like an extension of Romanticism.

C’est-à-dire: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 27, 2015, 04:33:43 AM
Elliott Carter died at the age of 104, and remained active until the end of his life.  in fact the last decade of his life was one of his most prolific.  John Cage also was very prolific in his last decade writing dozens of new works, including some of his very best music. 

However, Pierre Boulez who has been crippled by indecision throughout his career, has essentially been struck mute for years.  His primary active compositional work has been orchestrating the piano miniatures written when he was 20 (Notations).  He has revised his own compositions again and again.  It is almost as if he cannot commit to a conception of a work or there is a poverty of imagination forcing him to keep going back to the same material.

I cannot help but see the sad irony of where he has ended up, silenced by indecision and insecurity.

The man who more than any (and in fact famous for it) who was so dismissive of and who publicly ridiculed other composers and styles and manner of working, has been the composer more than any who has had difficulty finding his own voice.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 27, 2015, 04:42:00 AM
Elliott Carter died at the age of 104, and remained active until the end of his life.  in fact the last decade of his life was one of his most prolific.  John Cage also was very prolific in his last decade writing dozens of new works, including some of his very best music. 

However, Pierre Boulez who has been crippled by indecision throughout his career, has essentially been struck mute for years.  His primary active compositional work has been orchestrating the piano miniatures written when he was 20 (Notations).  He has revised his own compositions again and again.  It is almost as if he cannot commit to a conception of a work or there is a poverty of imagination forcing him to keep going back to the same material.

I cannot help but see the sad irony of where he has ended up, silenced by indecision and insecurity.

The man who more than any (and in fact famous for it) who was so dismissive of and who publicly ridiculed other composers and styles and manner of working, has been the composer more than any who has had difficulty finding his own voice.

A man who was a master of self-promotion, but who created so little work to be promoted.

So sad that he will be remembered more (and arguably, deserves to be remembered more) for his derision than for his compositions.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 27, 2015, 04:47:28 AM
He's right. though:  His ferocity was cheap.

"The only way to assert himself," Griffiths says, "was to be against everything else [...]" and there are some who think that's "new," right?

8)

And, not to belabor the point, it is at heart a little comical:

http://www.youtube.com/v/29E6GbYdB1c
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 27, 2015, 04:52:41 AM
And, not to belabor the point, it is at heart a little comical:

http://www.youtube.com/v/29E6GbYdB1c

Including his own compositions, some of which he withdrew and others he revised beyond recognition.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 27, 2015, 08:39:31 AM
Still at it (http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2011/09/music-pierre-boulez)

Many have argued that Mr Boulez's conducting career has taken too much from his composing. But Andrew Clements, a British critic, suggests that Mr Boulez's second career came at precisely the right time. “He had composed himself into a cul-de-sac,” he explains. “Conducting became his new way of evangelising the 20th-century canon that had nurtured his own music. It has not deprived us of many great works.” This is echoed by Alexander Goehr, a composer once strongly influenced by Mr Boulez. “His music is animated by a conception of history which is entirely bogus,” says Mr Goehr. “His problems are similar to Mallarmé, who also got stuck trying to ‘rewrite the world'. Although the failures of both men are preferable to most people's successes, the loss of intensity with Boulez was inevitable.”

Yet Mr Boulez's composing output remains small. Although rumours abound of a future opera based on Beckett's “Waiting for Godot”.


How appropriate.

 ;)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 27, 2015, 08:51:04 AM
I think that, whether as a matter of painting himself into a compositional corner, or of having insufficient internal motivation to destroy that corner, burst out of the limitation . . . the conducting was a musical activity to which he could give himself unreservedly.  His composition is a true gift to the musical world, mais un cadeau assez petit;  where his conducting legacy is a major contribution.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 27, 2015, 09:11:51 AM
I think that, whether as a matter of painting himself into a compositional corner, or of having insufficient internal motivation to destroy that corner, burst out of the limitation . . . the conducting was a musical activity to which he could give himself unreservedly.  His composition is a true gift to the musical world, mais un cadeau assez petit;  where his conducting legacy is a major contribution.

Agreed. 

I find his interpretation of the French repertory to be always very fine, and I have studied his music quite a lot.  I  admire what he has achieved.  But I am not ignorant of the obvious difficulties he presents as a personality and his view of history I think is wrongheaded.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Robert on March 27, 2015, 10:20:35 AM
He hasn't conducted in 3 years Robert, he's taking things easy at this point. He's lived a very productive life, and he is 90 years old now.
Thanks for that James. I did not realize that.....BTW I am quite fond of him.....

Robert
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on March 27, 2015, 07:12:55 PM
A man who was a master of self-promotion, but who created so little work to be promoted.

So sad that he will be remembered more (and arguably, deserves to be remembered more) for his derision than for his compositions.


Some stray comments.
1 James is complaining about other people clogging the thread? While posting press releases? I think we need a new square on the Bingo card.

2 Boulez did not revolutionize music. He revolutionized government funding for the arts, to the detriment of the arts but for his own gain. He corrupted it beyond the wildest dreams of a Tamany Hall grafter.

3 Music's Lysenko, a Zhdanov wannabe, and a great conductor walk into a bar. Bartender says "Bonjour Pierre."
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 27, 2015, 07:35:12 PM
Boulez was a great conductor, but I don't give a twit about his thoughts on music which seem elitist and juvenile.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Abuelo Igor on March 28, 2015, 02:22:32 AM
Furthermore, if we look back a little we see that talented composers and musicians have all through history said dumb stuff that shouldn't be taken seriously, out of envy, personal interests and other motives having little or nothing to do with music. Even if I'm not a member of Pierre's fan club (except for his conducting), I don't think he should be judged by things he said in the 50s.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: chadfeldheimer on March 28, 2015, 02:38:45 AM
Furthermore, if we look back a little we see that talented composers and musicians have all through history said dumb stuff that shouldn't be taken seriously, out of envy, personal interests and other motives having little or nothing to do with music. Even if I'm not a member of Pierre's fan club (except for his conducting), I don't think he should be judged by things he said in the 50s.
Agreed. Contrary to what I read in one of the posted articles I think he mellowed more than just a bit since then, and he has no problem to admit he was wrong in some points. In the 50s IMO he was just an angry young man who was uncertain because of his homosexuality, which was a big taboo back then.   
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: chadfeldheimer on March 28, 2015, 02:40:20 AM
Boulez was a great conductor
Boulez was..? He's still alive.  ;)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 28, 2015, 05:33:02 AM
Boulez was..? He's still alive.  ;)

But, he may not conduct again.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 28, 2015, 05:37:25 AM
Furthermore, if we look back a little we see that talented composers and musicians have all through history said dumb stuff that shouldn't be taken seriously, out of envy, personal interests and other motives having little or nothing to do with music. Even if I'm not a member of Pierre's fan club (except for his conducting), I don't think he should be judged by things he said in the 50s.

Agreed, here, as well.  However, while it would not be fair to judge him, quite, by stuff from half a century ago, some of those remarks should stand as exceptional examples of a young composer's blinkered arrogance.

Agreed. Contrary to what I read in one of the posted articles I think he mellowed more than just a bit since then, and he has no problem to admit he was wrong in some points. In the 50s IMO he was just an angry young man who was uncertain because of his homosexuality, which was a big taboo back then.   

Mellowed only a little, and admission of wrong on only some select few points.  The leopard has not changed his spots by any means.  But call that a minor point.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 28, 2015, 05:44:56 AM
Copy-and-paste, copy-and-paste, copy-and-paste...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 28, 2015, 06:01:25 AM
Boulez was..? He's still alive.  ;)

Some conductors continued to work until a very old age, I remember seeing a concert of Gunter Wand conducting Bruckner where he had to be wheeled up to the podium. People age differently, but I think if Boulez could continue to conduct he probably would have, but I think this probability is unlikely now, wouldn't you agree?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: NJ Joe on March 28, 2015, 07:46:50 AM
I'm a little late with the birthday celebration, but I searched for what was my first introduction to Pierre Boulez. It was a 1992 televised concert commemorating the 150th anniversary of the NY Phil, I believe it aired on the New York PBS station when I was living in Jersey. It was also my introduction to Le Mer. I recorded it on VHS back then and must have watched it 30 times. I'm really thrilled to have located it.
The concert also featured a conductor-less Candide Ovt, Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel with Mehta and Dvorak's New World Symphony with Masur.

https://www.youtube.com/v/5XVHLO9k3HI

Very enjoyable, thanks for posting. A great introduction to both Boulez and La Mer.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: chadfeldheimer on March 28, 2015, 07:59:14 AM
Some conductors continued to work until a very old age, I remember seeing a concert of Gunter Wand conducting Bruckner where he had to be wheeled up to the podium. People age differently, but I think if Boulez could continue to conduct he probably would have, but I think this probability is unlikely now, wouldn't you agree?
Agreed. Still I would use the present when writing, talking about him. Just a matter of taste and no big deal, therefore the " ;)".
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 28, 2015, 05:23:13 PM
Furthermore, if we look back a little we see that talented composers and musicians have all through history said dumb stuff that shouldn't be taken seriously, out of envy, personal interests and other motives having little or nothing to do with music. Even if I'm not a member of Pierre's fan club (except for his conducting), I don't think he should be judged by things he said in the 50s.

And yet, many more very accomplished composers do not exhibit this behavior. 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on March 28, 2015, 06:55:53 PM
It was very much the milieu of that time. I don't see anything wrong with being outspoken and critical. I actually agree with most of his pronouncements.

The mileu at the time? It was a mindset he helped create and enforce.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on March 28, 2015, 08:01:57 PM
And yet, many more very accomplished composers do not exhibit this behavior.

And some do. Try reading the prose writings of Richard Wagner, for one.

That said, I have no doubt Boulez was sincere in some of his pronouncements, while also deliberately exaggerative in others. Do you really believe he literally meant to blow up all the opera houses, a kind of Osama bin Laden of the classical music world? The statement was obviously metaphoric and hyperbolic. But I have equally no doubt that Boulez enjoyed tweaking the buttons of those Very Solemn People who are easily aggrieved when aim is taken at their sacred cows.

Charles Rosen was similarly both serious and blisteringly witty in his comment on Schoenberg's statement that there is still much good music to be written in C major. Yes, said the Chuckster; the only problem is that nobody has written any of it yet.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 29, 2015, 06:24:20 AM
...and the catalogue of the Boulez exhibition in Paris (and not paying  much attention to all that absurdity and impertinence being flung around in the "Composer Discussion" forum on this towering figure in music  >:( ):

Thanks for that sideways snipe.   ;)   What struck you as "absurdity and impertinence" I view as a thoughtful and objective appraisal of a composer/conductor by some folks whose views are not clouded by hero worship of this complicated personality. 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: kishnevi on March 29, 2015, 07:47:39 PM
Thanks for that sideways snipe.   ;)   What struck you as "absurdity and impertinence" I view as a thoughtful and objective appraisal of a composer/conductor by some folks whose views are not clouded by hero worship of this complicated personality.

And note that part of the criticism centers on the idea that he should have/ought to compose more than he actually has.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 29, 2015, 08:05:46 PM
(and not paying much attention to all that absurdity and impertinence being flung around in the "Composer Discussion" forum on this towering figure in music  >:( )

This is exactly what I do when someone feels the need to badmouth a composer I admire. I pay them no mind. Opinions are like warts on a toad's back, we all have them. There are plenty of people who admire Boulez just as there are plenty of people who admire my numero uno composer, Delius. Visionary composers will always have their group of naysayers. I just wish people would talk more about the music they enjoy rather than feeling the need to dump on composers they don't enjoy. I've certainly been guilty of it, but I've learned to just keep my mouth shut and leave people to the music they love.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 29, 2015, 09:31:42 PM
And note that part of the criticism centers on the idea that he should have/ought to compose more than he actually has.

But do we criticize a composer who didn't write enough or do we criticize the actual music that is available for all to hear? If composing too little or not enough is a valid critique, then Dukas', Berg's, Webern's entire oeuvre should open them up for some vicious attacks.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 30, 2015, 02:12:35 AM
But do we criticize a composer who didn't write enough or do we criticize the actual music that is available for all to hear? If composing too little or not enough is a valid critique, then Dukas', Berg's, Webern's entire oeuvre should open them up for some vicious attacks.

The point of my posts was to point out that it was precisely the nature of Boulez's writings about destroying the past and creating a new music from the ground up, so to speak, that led to his silence.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 30, 2015, 03:54:33 AM
The point of my posts was to point out that it was precisely the nature of Boulez's writings about destroying the past and creating a new music from the ground up, so to speak, that led to his silence.

Also, there is the useful distinction between "badmouthing a composer" (which we none of us are doing), and considering the relation between what a composer has said about the art, and his actual practice of the art.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 30, 2015, 07:05:22 AM
Also, there is the useful distinction between "badmouthing a composer" (which we none of us are doing), and considering the relation between what a composer has said about the art, and his actual practice of the art.

That's a fair point.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 30, 2015, 07:07:18 AM
The point of my posts was to point out that it was precisely the nature of Boulez's writings about destroying the past and creating a new music from the ground up, so to speak, that led to his silence.

I don't care about Boulez's thoughts on music, but I admire his conducting. That's about it, though.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 30, 2015, 07:15:07 AM
I don't care about Boulez's thoughts on music, but I admire his conducting. That's about it, though.

And nothing wrong with that approach, either.  (One of my points being, that his legacy as a conductor is substantial.)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 30, 2015, 07:20:51 AM
Regarding Boulez's conducting, IMO his Debussy was especially good.  Debussy is a composer for whom some conductors might underscore the lush, sensual, aspects.  However, at heart, I think Debussy, as do most French composers, prioritized a transparent texture and a cool but color saturated aesthetic, and this is how Boulez treated the music. 

His recordings of Debussy are among the best, IMO.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 30, 2015, 07:24:03 AM
And nothing wrong with that approach, either.  (One of my points Over There being, that his legacy as a conductor is substantial.)

Fully agreed. :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 30, 2015, 07:25:21 AM

His recordings of Debussy are among the best, IMO.

+1 I especially love his earlier recordings on Debussy on Columbia (Sony).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: chadfeldheimer on March 30, 2015, 07:28:02 AM
The point of my posts was to point out that it was precisely the nature of Boulez's writings about destroying the past and creating a new music from the ground up, so to speak, that led to his silence.
What about his conducting career and in later years his age?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 30, 2015, 10:09:35 AM
What about his conducting career and in later years his age?

I don't think the conducting career works effectively as mitigation.  If he had wished to compose instead (or in addition to) he would have managed it (few personalities in the musical world are as effectively managerial as he).  Or, he gave himself to the conducting to the degree that he did, precisely because (semi-)involuntarily, the composing mojo eluded him.

As for age, I sat very nearly next to Elliott Carter in Boston's Symphony Hall for the première of his Horn Concerto; he required assistance walking about.  If Boulez were motivated to compose, his age is not the problem.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: CRCulver on March 30, 2015, 11:38:57 AM
As for age, I sat very nearly next to Elliott Carter in Boston's Symphony Hall for the première of his Horn Concerto; he required assistance walking about.  If Boulez were motivated to compose, his age is not the problem.

Carter admitted that after the Symphonia, he had to give up large orchestral scores because it was uncomfortable to work with such large paper. While he managed to compose, it was only at the cost of limiting the kind of scoring he could create. Plus, I’m not sure Carter is representative of elderly composers. Look at Kurtág, who has gone from being fairly prolific to only being able to write a few bars of his Endgame opera a day, only because of the ravages of age.

Perhaps the same holds for Boulez – while he could compose something, his schedule and now the limitations of his eyesight may mean that the specific sort of music he wanted to compose was now beyond him.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: kishnevi on March 30, 2015, 06:14:08 PM
Carter admitted that after the Symphonia, he had to give up large orchestral scores because it was uncomfortable to work with such large paper. While he managed to compose, it was only at the cost of limiting the kind of scoring he could create. Plus, I’m not sure Carter is representative of elderly composers. Look at Kurtág, who has gone from being fairly prolific to only being able to write a few bars of his Endgame opera a day, only because of the ravages of age.

Perhaps the same holds for Boulez – while he could compose something, his schedule and now the limitations of his eyesight may mean that the specific sort of music he wanted to compose was now beyond him.

The perennial retort to eyesight problems is of course Delius.  Even if you don't like his music.
And I am sure that if Maitre Pierre wanted a scribe for his dictation,  more than a few Conservatoire students would be glad to assist him.
It is true that conducting and performing can get in the way, as they did for Mahler and Rachmaninov, but it does not require a full stop to composing, as those two gentlemen could attest.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 30, 2015, 06:45:09 PM
Sibelius stopped composing after Tapiola and was silent for the last 30 years of his life and this doesn't seem to be an issue whenever we're listening to his music. I think the whole idea of Boulez not composing enough doesn't really make much sense as an argument, otherwise, we'd be arguing this fact about a lot of composers with smaller oeuvres. Has anyone ever seen Durufle's or Duparc's oeuvres? :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on March 30, 2015, 07:28:56 PM
Sibelius stopped composing after Tapiola and was silent for the last 30 years of his life and this doesn't seem to be an issue whenever we're listening to his music. I think the whole idea of Boulez not composing enough doesn't really make much sense as an argument, otherwise, we'd be arguing this fact about a lot of composers with smaller oeuvres. Has anyone ever seen Durufle's or Duparc's oeuvres? :)

I hope that if a genie ever grants Karl three wishes he won't waste one on "More Boulez."
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 30, 2015, 07:31:38 PM
I hope that if a genie ever grants Karl three wishes he won't waste one on "More Boulez."

Yeah, I wouldn't bank on Boulez composing anything else not that I really care one way or the other as I've already expressed my dislike for his music.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 31, 2015, 03:17:58 AM
Yeah, I wouldn't bank on Boulez composing anything else not that I really care one way or the other as I've already expressed my dislike for his music.

Oh, Bunny's got something for nearly everyone, I think  8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Christo on March 31, 2015, 06:05:49 AM
It's rather as Henri Dutilleux said about Boulez in 2005 to Stuart Jeffries (the Guardian): 'At the moment I have no problems with him. I even like the fact that he is no longer certain, but is a man riven by doubt, as we all should be.' http://www.theguardian.com/music/2005/apr/28/classicalmusicandopera1

Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 31, 2015, 06:07:35 AM
Aye. He was rather the poster child for The Terrible Certainty of Youth.

Which is one reason why A Certain Participant's posts are consistently amusing.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 31, 2015, 06:46:13 AM
Pierre Boulez and John Cage met around 1949, I think, and remained correspondents for a decade or more.  Their letters contain many gems concerning their thoughts about composing.  For example, in a letter I am thinking around 1955 or so, Boulez writes to Cage that he has been re-reading Descartes and thinks a similar approach is needed vis a vis music, i.e. assuming nothing, taking nothing from the past and building up a system of composition from scratch.

 :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 31, 2015, 07:10:40 AM
When Boulez says something like this:

"It is not enough to deface the Mona Lisa because that does not kill the Mona Lisa. All art of the past must be destroyed." — Pierre Boulez, 1971, quoted in the Sunday New York Times

I'm only reminded why I don't care about his thoughts on music.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on March 31, 2015, 07:16:50 AM
When Boulez says something like this:

"It is not enough to deface the Mona Lisa because that does not kill the Mona Lisa. All art of the past must be destroyed." — Pierre Boulez, 1971, quoted in the Sunday New York Times

I'm only reminded why I don't care about his thoughts on music.

I can understand that attitude; I generally think that any information about the composer is unnecessary when appreciating the music - which should stand on its own and speak for itself.  However, Boulez was a very prolific writer and thinker about music composition, and much of what he wrote is very interesting and instructive.  After WWII there was a real sense among artists in general but specifically with the Darmstadt group of wishing to make a complete break with the cultural history of Europe which had culminated in the Holocaust. 

Boulez was merely expressing that need in many of his statements.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 31, 2015, 08:58:22 AM
After the war this was the attitude, "to re-build", etc. But anyone who knows Boulez & his music .. knows that he definitely was a result of what came before ("the traditional literature") .. his music is certainly informed & a synthesis/expansion of aspects of the revolutionary vocabulary he often analyzed and conducted in great detail .. plus the watershed offered by technology and his investment in that; and the world music/culture influences that increasingly pervaded the psyche's of many composers of his generation  .. as cross-pollination/globalization increased.

From the book Musings Of An Obsessed Fanboy by James.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on March 31, 2015, 09:00:50 AM
I believe Boulez's thoughts and writings on music are extremely interesting, even if we may not agree with many of the things he has to say. More than that, I am convinced that a polemiciist of Boulez's calibre and intellectual stature was necessary when his figure erupted on the musical scene immediately after WW2. The danger of music returning to facile pre-war customs (embodied primarily in the neo-classical Stravinsky, but not only there) was real, and this could have led to this art form degenerating into something purely decorative and, in the end, culturally irrelevant. Boulez was obviously not alone in promoting this, but he has been the most eloquent (and the fiercest) advocate of this way of thinking.

And let us not fool ourselves: thanks to a large extent to Boulez's  promotion (even if this is not exclusively his making), much music that had very little circulation in the 40s and 50s is now considered essential to most music-lovers (like it or not, that's another issue) and is almost part of the mainstream. For instance, I cannot think of anyone who has made more for the cause of Anton Webern than Pierre Boulez.

Another criticism aimed at Boulez is even harder to understand. He seems to be held accountable for pointing out that there is music that matters and music that does not. Again, we might agree or not with what Boulez has to say, but he does have a point. I think I've mentioned this before, but I for instance much enjoy the music of Reynaldo Hahn (about whom Boulez has talked in dismissive terms), but I don't need much convincing as to the fact that Hahn's Piano concerto is nowhere near as important for the history of music as (or a product of comparable quality to) Webern's roughly contemporary  Concerto op. 24, or that Orff's De Temporum fine comoedia is irrelevant when set aside Berio's Sinfonía (both pieces also being roughly contemporary). But if we believe that "anything goes", or think along the lines that "I like this, therefore it is good", or consider that, for instance, Gounod is as relevant (or as good a composer) as Wagner, then of course we'll have little time to spare for Boulez's writings.

While on his proselytizing mission, Boulez the composer has managed to produce a small but extraordinarily rich  output. Criticizing Boulez for not having composed more verges on the bizarre. As Mirror Image rightly points out (and John has clearly said he dislikes Boulez's music), we can say the same about many other major figures in music. John mentions several names, and I would add one more: none other than Richard Wagner. I'd rather have  one Wagner (with his 10 mature operas) than many composers who wrote innumerable stage works (and who come a dime a dozen). I'd rather have the self-critical Boulez with Le Marteau, Pli selon Pli, the Second piano sonata and Répons, than many a composer out there whose opus 200 is as irrelevant as his opus 2.

And even more: while composing and writing, Pierre Boulez had a conducting career that was in perfect consonance with his musical thought. Thanks to him, we have had impressive performances (in the concert hall and on record) of perhaps not the widest of repertoires, but usually with the highest musical standards and with remarkable insights--I'm thinking of his Debussy, his Wagner, his Mahler. But Boulez the conductor didn't limit himself to this ilustrious international conducting career. He created  (from scratch, and for years with no state funding) the Domaine Musical, which presented so much great music in Paris when it was being ignored there (and elsewhere), and then secured state funding for IRCAM and the EIC, arguably the best showcases for modern music in the past 40 years. But he's criticized for focusing on what he thought was worthwhile. What do we expect, for him to focus on what he thinks is not wortwhile? Then let's accuse Furtwängler of not having conducted enough Shostakovich (if any), or ask ourselves why Abbado never did Puccini at La Scala or elsewhere.

The above, I'm glad to say, is not hero-worship, it's simply an acknowledgement of the immense contribution this man has made to the art of music over the past 70 years, which makes him a figure that stands out like few others in the history of the art form.

Note: this was posted while on holidays in the Scottish Highlands, on an IPad with Spanish auto-correct, so it'll be plagued with typos. I apologize for this, and will try to edit the text as soon as possible!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 31, 2015, 09:15:55 AM
Overall, a thoughtful and measured response, and a pleasure to read.

And let us not fool ourselves: thanks to a large extent to Boulez's  promotion (even if this is not exclusively his making), much music that had very little circulation in the 40s and 50s is now considered essential to most music lovers (like it or not, that's another issue) and is almost part of the mainstream. For instance, I cannot think of anyone who has made more for the cause of Anton Webern than Pierre Boulez.

I'm not sure it's a horse race, but your statement here seems to make absolutely light of Robert Craft.  Maybe Boulez has done more, maybe not.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on March 31, 2015, 10:54:56 AM
John Cage and Morton Feldman, composers who Boulez tars with that same brush.I met them when I went to New York in 1952, and I found they were not eager to acquire knowledge. They were already gods, they thought, and God is never wrong. If you are “right”, you never acquire anything. Acquire and destroy, acquire and destroy, then go further. That’s what composers should do. I don’t see this type of evolution in Feldman or Cage.’
Of course, it is entirely possible to be enthusiastic about both Feldman and Boulez...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 31, 2015, 10:57:16 AM
Of course, it is entirely possible to be enthusiastic about both Feldman and Boulez...

Yes, and regardless of any of the latter's "pronouncements"  8)  "They were not eager to acquire knowledge";  what a pompous twit!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 31, 2015, 10:58:18 AM
James, do Boulez a big favor on this thread:  don't cite anything he's said  ;)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on March 31, 2015, 12:21:51 PM
James, do Boulez a big favor on this thread:  don't cite anything he's said  ;)
Well, apart from that one thing he said about the things he had said.  8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: NJ Joe on March 31, 2015, 02:02:31 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Ggs-Tf5AL._SX425_.jpg)

This arrived in the mail today, woo hoo!  Ripping to iTunes now.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 31, 2015, 02:20:36 PM
Well, apart from that one thing he said about the things he had said.  8)

Ya, I sounded real dumb in those days . . . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 31, 2015, 03:43:38 PM


but I do agree with what Boulez is saying.


Of course you do. You'd agree with Boulez if he said you were capable of flying.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 31, 2015, 04:37:50 PM
Of course you do. You'd agree with Boulez if he said you were capable of flying.
Some things we can always count on 8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 31, 2015, 07:12:18 PM
Some things we can always count on 8)

You are correct, sir! ;D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: lescamil on March 31, 2015, 08:19:13 PM
http://soundcheck.wnyc.org/story/10-great-works-20th-century-pierre-boulezs-90th-birthday/

Anyone else see this? Even though the last one is funny, considering who wrote it, it's a very good list, even if I don't entirely agree with it. I've listened to Répons a lot lately, especially a few recent broadcast recordings, and I hear new things in it every time. Such a great piece.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 01, 2015, 03:32:52 AM
The man firmly convinced that his artistic blindspots are his signal virtue  ;)

(Oh, and his "Mini Me," too.)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 01, 2015, 03:38:59 AM
Another criticism aimed at Boulez is even harder to understand. He seems to be held accountable for pointing out that there is music that matters and music that does not.

I do not see that at all.  There is a substantial population on GMG who agree with the principle that some artworks matter more than others.  (I think there must be an interesting discussion to be had on the question "Is there some art which does not matter, at all?")  I think one can object artistically and intellectually to Boulez's particularly prejudices (and the prejudices do not become Artistic Truth because, you know, they are Boulez's — not that you believe that, dear chap:  there is someone else flogging that dolphin) without backing into "Well, it's all Great Music, isn't it?"
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on April 01, 2015, 04:43:25 AM
As I said in the other thread, it all matters (in a subjective world).  What doesn't matter, IMO, is whether it is "great" or not.  That is a completely unnecessary consideration in order to appreciate a piece of music.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on April 01, 2015, 12:49:54 PM
Surprising revelations (shocking, actually) by Boulez in France's ForumOpera: here  (http://www.forumopera.com/actu/pierre-boulez-jai-toujours-reve-dun-bayreuth-francais)  ;D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Abuelo Igor on April 01, 2015, 03:08:54 PM
Do the French also do the April Fools thing?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on April 01, 2015, 03:15:00 PM
Do the French also do the April Fools thing?
Poisson d'Avril!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on April 01, 2015, 04:48:59 PM
I do not see that at all.  There is a substantial population on GMG who agree with the principle that some artworks matter more than others.  (I think there must be an interesting discussion to be had on the question "Is there some art which does not matter, at all?")  I think one can object artistically and intellectually to Boulez's particularly prejudices (and the prejudices do not become Artistic Truth because, you know, they are Boulez's — not that you believe that, dear chap:  there is someone else flogging that dolphin) without backing into "Well, it's all Great Music, isn't it?"

Well, it's more snyprrr-like in syntax than is usual for Karl, but I think I agree.

 >:D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 01, 2015, 06:54:57 PM
But you should be able to understand the attraction people have to great work, and how over time it gathers meaning. You should also understand critical thinking and what that entails. I enjoy immersing myself in the best things in life .. especially the creative arts, I find the benefits to be enormous, and sure .. I can listen to anything I want to .. but I also like having a basis for comparison to form sound judgements on music & its qualities - to understand what is what, and why, etc.

Zzzzz....
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 02, 2015, 01:48:33 AM
Well, it's more snyprrr-like in syntax than is usual for Karl, but I think I agree.

 >:D

Must be those Shostakovich quartets I've been listening to . . . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 02, 2015, 01:50:05 AM
Zzzzz....

OTOH, James of all people saying "you should understand critical thinking and what that entails":  Priceless.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 02, 2015, 06:04:19 AM
OTOH, James of all people saying "you should understand critical thinking and what that entails":  Priceless.

It's time for James bingo! ;D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 02, 2015, 06:07:43 AM
Oh, boy! If there is one work by Boulez I'd love to hear LIVE it would be Le Marteau!

+ 1
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: lescamil on April 02, 2015, 03:23:36 PM
Seems like the sort of thing that should be taken into private messages...

Anyhow, here, have a live recording of Rituel that I found recently:

http://www.npo.nl/ntr-podium/27-09-2011/NPS_1190073
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on April 05, 2015, 11:43:36 AM
https://www.youtube.com/v/dYdOjdP5-oI
Thanks for this, James... AFAIK, this is the only published arrangement by Boulez of music by another composer. Ravel's original Frontispice for two pianos (5 hands!) is an enigmatic little piece, and this orchestration is quite brilliant, I'd say. Until now, it could only be heard (with the last couple of seconds annoyingly truncated) in the webpage of Universal Edition. Great to have it available in Pintscher and the EIC's performance...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on April 05, 2015, 01:34:47 PM
Surprisingly, he made 2 arrangements .. one for ensemble published in 1987 (it's listed separately), then in 2007 this lavish orchestration.
Is there any press out there of him talking about it? And UE's site is missing some scores (i.e. Livre pour Cordes) .. withdrawn? other publisher?

I don't recall having read anything by Boulez himself on this arrangement... :-[
The YouTube you posted, though, is the 1987 version (see the credits at the end). The 2007 seems to be for expanded forces.

As for the Livre pour cordes, it's published by Heugel (now part of Alphonse Leduc), as are the Livre pour quatour, Le Soleil des eaux and Le Visage nuptial. Here's the link: http://www.alphonseleduc.com/EN/recherche.php?q=boulez

Cheers,
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Artem on April 05, 2015, 02:20:10 PM
Beautiful orchestration. Never heard it before. I don't want to spark an out of place argument, but it sounds very Feldman like to me, in a good way.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Artem on April 05, 2015, 04:12:35 PM
I'm thinking about this piece https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiVhS20ES3k (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiVhS20ES3k)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on April 05, 2015, 11:10:06 PM
As for the Livre pour cordes, it's published by Heugel (now part of Alphonse Leduc), as are the Livre pour quatour, Le Soleil des eaux and Le Visage nuptial. Here's the link: http://www.alphonseleduc.com/EN/recherche.php?q=boulez
I hate Alphonse-Leduc. They charge an arm and a leg for Messiaen. His opera would cost well over $2000, I think (if you buy all of the acts/tableaux).

I'm thinking about this piece https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiVhS20ES3k (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiVhS20ES3k)
Woah, it does!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on April 08, 2015, 01:33:17 AM
That publication doesn't really look like the most trustworthy source for this, Im afraid  ::) . They're just quoting (in passing) reports from a couple of years ago. I had read the Godot opera was a commission for La Scala by Stéphane Lissner (who is no longer at La Scala), but we've never heard of it again. If the première were really to take place in 2105 at a theatre of the calibre of La Scala ior any other major house, it would aleaday appear on their program.

But we can always hope....  ;)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 08, 2015, 03:01:22 AM
I still think the “Boulez composes Godot” story was a lark, which has just taken on an amusing life of its own (underscoring its point).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on April 08, 2015, 04:40:46 AM
I am assuming "2105" is a typo.  Although that would allow Boulez enough time to complete the work.  And revise it several times.

 8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on April 08, 2015, 09:43:03 AM
Fans awaiting Godot. This makes no-one but Karl suspicious?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 08, 2015, 09:45:53 AM
By Pierre "Pozzo" Boulez.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on April 08, 2015, 10:29:56 AM
I’ve always been skeptical that Boulez would ever write an opera (on Godot or anything else), one reason being that he’s a notoriously slow worker who insists on constant revising, and an opera is less open to revision because of the fixed nature of the libretto. Boulez’s vocal works have also been primarily for female voices, and it would be hard to imagine him writing a lengthy work for four males (with the likely addition of a boy soprano). Besides, what kind of libretto would have been created on Godot? Most likely it would have been from the original French text, but would the Chaplinesque comic vaudeville of the text lend itself to Boulez’s style? Boulez is many things, but funny he’s not. Even the most obviously operatic section, Lucky’s extended monologue in Act One, would at the least pose major problems of compression.

As a friend wrote me, "Boulez has wanted to write an opera at least since he saw the première of Genet’s The Screens in the early 60’s. Genet even told Playboy he was going to do the libretto at the time, but Genet didn’t actually embark on a libretto until he was persuaded to write one by Chéreau in the early 80’s. Boulez was underwhelmed by the sketches Genet came up with, which became moot when Genet died." Genet’s plays seem more obviously suitable for operatic treatment than Beckett’s, but given that Les Paravents has been rarely produced, calls for a huge cast, and is usually cut heavily, again the problem of creating a libretto seems very difficult.

Again from the same friend, and I believe this is a quotation from Boulez: “Some like, let's say, Beckett (who is, I think, a theatrical genius), have a very strong visual imagination but put it all into the text, so that there is no room for anything else. The text has all its significance by itself and there is no empty space.” 

Of course. Beckett’s theatrical and verbal rhythms are often so precise (and concise) that it’s hard to imagine what more could be added by any music. The ending of the play, in both French and English:

VLADIMIR: Relève ton pantalon. / Pull on your trousers.
ESTRAGON: Comment? / What?
VLADIMIR: Relève ton pantalon. / Pull on your trousers.
ESTRAGON: Que j'enlève mon pantalon? / You want me to pull off my trousers?
VLADIMIR: RE-lève ton pantalon. / Pull ON your trousers.
ESTRAGON:  C'est vrai. / True.
VLADIMIR:  Alors, on y va? / Well? Shall we go?
ESTRAGON:  Allons-y. / Yes, let's go. (They do not move.)

And how could Boulez or anyone else “compose” the drollest section of the play, the extended pantomime with the hat in Act Two?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on April 08, 2015, 01:03:03 PM
There’s Boulez all over for you, blaming on his boots the faults of his feet.  0:)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on April 18, 2015, 04:28:43 AM



 Boulez's
Rituel and the Originel from “…explosante-fixe…," .


One of the greatest works in his oeuvre, and in my opinion one that would seem to be highly "accessible" for the usual audiences, and also attractive to younger ones.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: North Star on April 18, 2015, 04:40:07 AM
One of the greatest works in his oeuvre, and in my opinion one that would seem to be highly "accessible" for the usual audiences, and also attractive to younger ones.
...explosante-fixe... or Rituel?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on April 18, 2015, 05:19:46 AM
One of the greatest works in his oeuvre, and in my opinion one that would seem to be highly "accessible" for the usual audiences, and also attractive to younger ones.

Tomorrow (April 19) at 3pm, David Robertson conducts the Juilliard Orchestra in Rituel at NYC's Avery Fisher Hall.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 18, 2015, 06:10:01 AM
Tomorrow (April 19) at 3pm, David Robertson conducts the Juilliard Orchestra in Rituel at NYC's Avery Fisher Hall.

Cool.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Cato on April 18, 2015, 07:57:17 AM
...explosante-fixe... or Rituel?

I was focused on the former, but the same could with little difficulty be said for the latter as well.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on April 19, 2015, 02:26:14 PM
David Robertson Leads the Juilliard Orchestra
Juilliard Orchestra
Sunday, April 19, 3:00pm
David Robertson conducts at Avery Fisher Hall.

This was a very fine concert, with a well-conceived and beautifully executed program that started with Debussy and Stravinsky and thus traced some important roots of Boulez's style. Indeed, in Rituel Robertson acted more like a traffic cop, just setting each of the groups in motion, than our usual idea of a conductor. I must say this performance of the piece was much more secure and impressive than the NYPhil under Alan Gilbert in the excessively reverberant Park Avenue Armory a couple of years ago. Nothing scares these Juilliard kids. And this piece, rather uncharacteristic of Boulez in its steady pulse and clearly defined motifs, could turn out to be one of his most popular. The concert was well-attended, and the audience seemed to love it.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 19, 2015, 02:28:29 PM
Splendid.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on April 19, 2015, 02:32:36 PM
Nice .. the audience .. various ages? Or mostly older folk?

A good mix as far as I could see.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on April 21, 2015, 01:24:46 PM
Cross-posted from the New Releases thread:

This has just appeared in France. The Diotima Quartet playing Boulez's "revised" Livre pour quatuor (on the Megadisc label):

(http://www.megadisc-classics.com/sites/www.megadisc-classics.com/files/imagecache/albumcover-full/covers/BOULEZ-CD-7796-200x200px.jpg)
http://www.megadisc-classics.com/album/pierre-boulez-livre-pour-quatuor-r%C3%A9vis%C3%A9
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mandryka on June 27, 2015, 06:29:23 AM
I saw a Boulez exhibition today at the Cité de la Musique in Paris. Well worth the visit. Two memorable things were a dance accompaniment to Marteau sans Maître, and a presentation by Boulez of In Memoriam Bruno M. Some of the things he had to say about Early music and about setting words also.

One surprise was that the curators made so little of his relationship with Stockhausen.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ritter on June 27, 2015, 09:27:14 AM
I saw a Boulez exhibition today at the Cité de la Musique in Paris. Well worth the visit. Two memorable things were a dance accompaniment to Marteau sans Maître, and a presentation by Boulez of In Memoriam Bruno M. Some of the things he had to say about Early music and about setting words also.

One surprise was that the curators made so little of his relationship with Stockhausen.
Nice! I think today was the last day it was open to the public. I coudn't make it to Paris to see it, but do have the catalogue (which is full of interesting documents)...
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mandryka on June 28, 2015, 08:37:55 PM
Who in France is writing modernist music in the Boulez style today? Who picks up the mantle?

Clearly not Grisey etc. Their music is too just sensual.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 29, 2015, 01:53:46 AM
You think Boulez's music is not sensual?
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on June 29, 2015, 02:48:49 AM
Who in France is writing modernist music in the Boulez style today? Who picks up the mantle?

Clearly not Grisey etc. Their music is too just sensual.

Marc-Andre Dalbavie and Pascal Dusapin come to mind.  Neither's music sounds "like" Boulez, but both might be considered carrying forward Boulez's priorities.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Niko240 on June 30, 2015, 02:56:07 PM
I'm lucky to live close enough to Ojai, California, and enjoyed the Ojai Music Festival this year.  Saw A Pierre Dream: A Portrait of Pierre Boulez for the second time (first time in Chicago), and they also performed both Derive's, Dialogue de l’ombre double, a couple Improvisations sur Mallarmé, and Sonatine.  Steven Schick was pretty cool to watch as well.  Also some nice little interviews about Boulez and his several experiences in Ojai.  Beautiful place indeed, and amazing oranges! 

http://www.ojaifestival.org/festivals/2015-festival/2015-festival-schedule/

Not sure how much Boulez they'll do next year.  Unfortunately for me, the LAPhil doesn't program any of his music, but not many orchestras in this country do, except for the CSO.  However, I don't visit too many concert halls in the U.S., so I'm not quite sure about that. 
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mandryka on June 30, 2015, 09:11:16 PM
You think Boulez's music is not sensual?

Here's a conjecture for refutation, Popper style.

He became more sensual the more he lost inspiration. Explosante-Fixe (inspired; hoorah) is not sensual; Sur incises (derivitive, boo)  is.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: EigenUser on July 01, 2015, 12:57:11 AM
Here's a conjecture for refutation, Popper style.

He became more sensual the more he lost inspiration. Explosante-Fixe (inspired; hoorah) is not sensual; Sur incises (derivitive, boo)  is.
I guess I'm more interested in the less inspired stuff (though I'd beg to differ!). I love the music of Boulez that Ken so aptly described as (I paraphrase) "shards discarded by Ravel". Though, I doubt he meant it in a flattering way...

In an interview, Stockhausen said that he was once interested in the music of Boulez, but he became too "dry" for him (i.e. later works).
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 01, 2015, 02:40:36 AM
Here's a conjecture for refutation, Popper style.

He became more sensual the more he lost inspiration.

What is your metric to judge loss of inspiration?  ;)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 01, 2015, 02:41:03 AM
In an interview, Stockhausen said that he was once interested in the music of Boulez, but he became too "dry" for him (i.e. later works).

They were old biddy gossips, the lot of them  8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mandryka on July 01, 2015, 03:04:23 AM
What is your metric to judge loss of inspiration?  ;)

The number of exciting new ideas. The unpredictability.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 01, 2015, 03:04:58 AM
You understand both how questionable, and how subjective, that is?  :)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Mandryka on July 01, 2015, 03:09:01 AM
 I'd say it was indexical, rather than subjective. Subjective makes these judgements sound neither true nor false. But I do think they have assertability conditions.

Big topic.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 01, 2015, 03:38:16 AM
Big topic.

aye.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: James on July 01, 2015, 05:05:51 AM
Who in France is writing modernist music in the Boulez style today? Who picks up the mantle?

That isn't the point. Boulez has his own voice.

Artists should strive to find their own as well.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: kishnevi on July 01, 2015, 06:29:07 AM
Here's a conjecture for refutation, Popper style.

He became more sensual the more he lost inspiration. Explosante-Fixe (inspired; hoorah) is not sensual; Sur incises (derivitive, boo)  is.

But I find Explosante-Fixe to be sensual!!!!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on July 01, 2015, 07:18:32 AM
I guess I'm more interested in the less inspired stuff (though I'd beg to differ!). I love the music of Boulez that Ken so aptly described as (I paraphrase) "shards discarded by Ravel". Though, I doubt he meant it in a flattering way...

It is an apt phrase isn't it? But, modulo the assumption that Boulez ever had inspiration, I agree with Mandryka. Explosante-fixe is at least interesting. Too sensual perhaps.  >:D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Ken B on July 01, 2015, 07:19:39 AM
That isn't the point. Boulez has his own voice.

Artists should strive to find their own as well.


"Do something original." -- Wagner's advice to his heirs
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 01, 2015, 07:45:13 AM
"Do something original." -- Wagner's advice to his heirs

Makes me wish that Wagner had said something original.

—oh, wait!  He did.  And not always to his credit  8)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: Florestan on July 03, 2015, 02:51:21 AM
"Do something original." -- Wagner's advice to his heirs

Well, in an age when avantgarde, revolution and innovation reign supreme, the most original thing one can do is to be conservative.  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 03, 2015, 04:48:44 AM
Well, in an age when avantgarde, revolution and innovation reign supreme, the most original thing one can do is to be conservative.  ;D ;D ;D

Quote from: Denise Scott Brown
Basically, the idea is that with everyone striving to be revolutionary, you will be most revolutionary if you try to be ordinary.

Granted, musically in the late 20th century, that resulted in some composers retreating into mere dullness . . . .
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: San Antone on July 03, 2015, 05:39:28 AM
Quote
Basically, the idea is that with everyone striving to be revolutionary, you will be most revolutionary if you try to be ordinary.

Which was my argument (ignored) to my kids for not getting tattoos.

 ::)
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 03, 2015, 05:49:32 AM
Yeesh
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 30, 2015, 05:25:28 AM
Hmm, and that 80' could not fit on a single disc, eh?

Not really a complaint at the packaging inefficiency;  it does underscore just how little work there is, in a peculiar and ironic way.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: James on December 30, 2015, 05:34:51 AM
I'm thinking Ponthus wanted to program the material in a certain way .. you know, how each track flows from one to the next in the best possible way. This can also mean breaking things up, no overkill, no extraneous cramming of it all together, but pacing. Whatever it is .. I love the music, and it's for the price of 1 disc, so it's all good. Bring it on.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on December 30, 2015, 07:52:33 AM
You understand both how questionable, and how subjective, that is?  :)

I do, but I concur nonetheless. I would argue that there's an element of cliché in Boulez's later work (such as the use of perpetuum mobile in Messagesquisse, or as I wrote in 2010 about Dérive II: "scale figures, repeated note motifs, and even long legato solo passages for violin, cello, and English horn") that I would not find in his more varied and (IMO) less predictable earlier work.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 30, 2015, 07:56:58 AM
I do, but I concur nonetheless. I would argue that there's an element of cliché in Boulez's later work (such as the use of perpetuum mobile in Messagesquisse, or as I wrote in 2010 about Dérive II: "scale figures, repeated note motifs, and even long legato solo passages for violin, cello, and English horn") that I would not find in his more varied and (IMO) less predictable earlier work.

Thank you.
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on December 30, 2015, 12:56:11 PM
ah Pierre...you're getting old...But I still love your music!
Title: Re: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016)
Post by: The new erato on December 31, 2015, 12:43:28 AM
Hmm, and that 80' could not fit on a single disc, eh?

Not really a complaint at the packaging inefficiency;  it does underscore just how little work there is, in a peculiar and ironic w