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20/21 Boulez: Répons, Etc / Boulez, Intercontemporain

Release Date: 04/13/1999 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 457605   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Pierre Boulez
Performer:  Daniel CiampoliniFrédérique CambrelingVincent BauerMichel Cerutti,   ... 
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Sometimes something that is intended to be an insult turns out to be exactly the right description of someone. In a compilation of statements for Pierre Boulez’s 80th birthday, the London newspaper, Guardian, quoted John Adams’s description of the composer as “A master who worked with a very small hammer.” Adams was intending to convey what he feels is Boulez’s lack of an expansive vision of music, but it is, in fact, one of the most exact descriptions of his extravagant, utterly precise art I can think of. Boulez revises his music constantly—in a recent interview with Gramophone, he talked of his continuing work on the Third Piano Sonata and the orchestrations of Notations, projects now over half a century old in the case of the piano work Read more and nearly 30 in the case of the orchestral piece. His patience in creating his work is often needed by his audiences when they hear it. Recently, I reviewed his fifth recording of his early Le marteau sans maître, a work I have been coming to terms with for perhaps 30 of its 50 odd years of existence, and, finally, I heard it for the masterpiece I am sure it has always been. Similarly, Art Lange reviewed (and I bought) the Deutsche Grammophon recording of Répons, for six soloists, electronics, and chamber orchestra, about 15 years ago. Lange complained about the overabundance of detail, the mass of information that moved too fast to be comprehended. Listening again, after my terribly delayed discovery of Le marteau, what seemed a monolithic blur is revealed as a masterpiece of energy and detail that delights at every turn. There is a kind of ecstatic violence in much of Boulez’s music, a ferocious energy that can trample all that might get in its way, something that makes it resist comprehension. Ultimately, of course, as we grow and adapt to the ever increasing level of stimulation that surrounds us, we learn to process information much more quickly, so what might have seemed an undifferentiated blur slows down and we see all the trees in what we took for a magnificent but undefined forest. Such is the case here. By comparison, the clarinet work, Dialogue de l’ombre double, while remaining exhilarating, seems simplicity itself 15 years on.

The New York Times, in a review of the new Le marteau sans maître, said that age seems to have stoked, not banked, his creative fires. One can only hope that, like his friend, Elliott Carter, Boulez will remain creative for years to come.

-- John Story, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

Répons by Pierre Boulez
Performer:  Daniel Ciampolini (Glockenspiel), Frédérique Cambreling (Harp), Vincent Bauer (Vibraphone),
Daniel Ciampolini (Xylophone), Michel Cerutti (Cimbalom), Andrew Gerzso (Electronics),
Florent Boffard (Piano), Dmitri Vassilakis (Piano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1981-1984 
Date of Recording: 09/1996 
Venue:  Concert Hall, Cité de la Musique, Paris 
Length: 42 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Notes: Ver: 1984
This work was nominated for the 2000 Grammy Award for "Best Classical
Contemporary Composition." 
Dialogue de L'ombre Double by Pierre Boulez
Performer:  Andrew Gerzso (Electronics), Alain Damiens (Clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1982-1985 
Date of Recording: 09/1996 
Venue:  Concert Hall, Cité de la Musique, Paris 
Length: 18 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Notes: Ver: 1985 

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