Watch live and free from the Philharmonie de Paris: Boulez in memoriam concert

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Programme:

  • Pierre Boulez
    Dialogue de l’ombre double extraits
    Improvisation I
    Messagesquisse
    Dérive 1 pour six instruments
    Improvisation II
    Notations pour orchestre I-4
    Notations pour orchestre VII
  • Ensemble intercontemporain
  • Orchestre de Paris
  • Elèves du Conservatoire de Paris
  • Matthias Pintscher, direction
  • Paavo Järvi, direction
  • Bruno Mantovani, direction
  • Yeree Suh, soprano
  • Andrew Gerzso, Réalisation informatique musicale Ircam

 

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        • It would be worthwhile making an online bot to tweet random Boulez lines at Mr Borstlap. It would be like playing with a laser pointer and a kitten. All someone has to do is say something positive about some new music one may love and out he comes, claws sharpened, ready to pounce upon “sonic art” and its poor deluded lovers. He’s a bit like Donald Trump, saying “follow me we will make music great again”. I’m currently re-reading his book because I want to write a lengthy essay about it. It’s quite funny sometimes but also more than a bit sad.

          • It’s especially sad for the readers who find its arguments extremely difficult to follow. I know of people who read it not only twice, but five or six times, and went into therapy. I know of a modernist composer who published a devastating attack upon what he thought he had read, in a magazine, and died soon afterwards. In sharp contrast with the utterances of a certain paranoid imbecile in America, the book is based upon facts and the practice of the central performane culture, which still is the basis of the Western musical tradition, and Western music life in general, so that it can function as a reality check. (Shouldn’t that be interesting for readers of SD, who claim to be music lovers?)

            As for ‘aggression’: it would be easy to mock such comments, but more interesting is to see how a critique of modernism is so often interpreted as a personal resentment, or incompetence, or aggression, or egomania, or whatever mud is at hand. It’s merely underlining the vulnerable position of modernism in music, which – however outdated by now – has done a lot of damage in the musical world. Fortunately there is a fundamental revision of 20C music history under way, begun by Richard Taruskin in his History of Western Music (Oxford University Press), and also fed by books like this one:

            http://www.musicweb-international.com/books/Pauls_two_centuries_in_one.pdf

            Both books confirm, independly from each other and from my book, the conclusions that everybody with enough perception can see for him/herself.

            If you feel so strongly about the book to write such bizarre comment, it may be helpful to point towards the fact that the book only denounces the claims of sonic art to be music, separating two very different cultural frameworks. In a way, it gives back to sonic art its own context where it can be enjoyed for what it is. I listen with pleasure, occasionally, to Feldman, or Boulez’ Notations, but in a different way from music. We don’t attack Mongol throat singing for lacking modulations in the development sections, do we? Or Congo drumming for lacking a string section.

        • By way of correction: it was a reference to Queen Victoria’s “we are not amused” when some minister allowed himself to make a funny remark in a meeting, thus ironizing both the news about the concert and myself. Too unexpected?

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