Lucerne names Boulez’s successors

The composers Wolfgang Rihm and Matthias Pintscher are takig over the artistic direction of the academy of the Lucerne Festival, with Pintscher assuming principal conducting duties as well. ‘I am very honoured,’ says Pintscher. Pierre Boulez is bedridden and can no longer attend the festival.

pintscher rihm

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      • I am surprised that you have never heard of either Pintscher or Rihm are two of the most prominent and imaginative composers alive today.

      • What a short memory Mr Borstlap has! May I remind him that on December 2 he wrote in these columns: “Maybe ‘In-Schrift 2′ is better than nr 1. In nr 1 Rihm tries to write more musically than in his older works: more tonally, but in the same time anxiously clings to the conventional fragmented gestures that have become the utter cliché in ‘new music’ since 1945, spastic uncontrollable jerks with some kitchen sink equipment thrown-in for effect. What does the music ‘say’? The pretentious, but empty dreariness of modern city life.”

        • Sorry again…. I was merely being ironic. Taste apart, I don’t believe that they are significant ‘composers’, whatever their reputation (don’t we have to think for ourselves?). But if you like to enjoy pretentious, comatose boredom, but brilliantly realized (!), Pintscher’s ‘Sur Départ’ provides ample satisfaction (although I think it’s for old people really, who grew-up in the fifties… Rimbaud’s poetry does suggest the opposite of what P’s imagination is capable to create). Rihm’s work developed into a more musical idiom.. if he lives long enough, maybe he’ll become a real traditionalist (I really enjoyed his ‘Lichtes Spiel’ – no irony).

  • These discussions look like discussions that took place just after the noisy birth of post (or better) anti-modernism in the eighties and nineties. Far more interesting than these old arguments pro and contra seems to me a survey of the lasting legacy of modernism, which is on the one hand incalculable, and on the other hand only thanks to a rigourous aesthetic transformation. An example is the history of electronic music and the way it became crucial for pop music. The same can be said about the role of sound and a new hierarchy between the musical ingredients; especially in this matter the later pieces by Boulez such as the orchestral version of Notations, Répons, ..explosante-fixe.. and sur Incises are essential contributions. Not as pieces from which a style can be distilled which can be taught to composers and listeners, but as a tremendous source and inspiration for new musical ideas. No one copies the products of Bauhaus or De Stijl in its elements at the surface (modernism is indeed no classicism), but its influence on the thinking about design, interior and architecture is fundamental. The same applies I believe to serialism, maybe also (to put it larger) modernism.

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