How Boulez gathered ideas for a new score

Here’s a revealing passage from one of his two forthright Chicago interviews with Bruce Duffie: 

PB: You cannot eat all the food of the world at once!  When you are having a walk in the woods, you don’t take every path and you don’t look at every tree.  You are trying to make your way, and to go from one point to another one and even to discover things, but you don’t explore everything.  I suppose that’s the way of a musician.  It depends also from the circumstances of his life, the points in his life, and how his mind is working at certain moments.  Sometimes you can discover vast territory with a lot of things which are just seen like that and which are just taken on the surface, and sometimes he goes much deeper in a corner which is more interesting, and he explores this corner really very deeply and to the point where it is exhausted.  Then when this is exhausted, he can go further, and maybe find that it is not completely exhausted, so he goes into another corner and back to the earlier corner.  We are like animals which have the winter in front of them, so they accumulate small things.  They know they have a fortress of their own on which they can survive during the whole winter.  When you are very young you accumulate knowledge, and progressively you have the opportunity of using this knowledge and of accumulating other things.

Read the full, newly-transcribed interviews here.

boulez complete2

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  • An earlier B, in Viennese Helenental, looked up to the trees for ideas; a later one rummaged into the compost underneath.

  • Thank you very much, Norman, for publishing Bruce’s interviews. I must say I loved typing them up for Bruce and to hear Pierre’s voice at the same time and his sense of fun as well as his seriousness.

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