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20/21 Boulez: Sur Incises, Messagesquisse, Anthemes 2

Release Date: 10/10/2000 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 463475   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Pierre Boulez
Performer:  Daniel CiampoliniFrédérique CambrelingSandrine ChatronMarianne Le Mentec,   ... 
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain membersParis Cello Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Let's not kid ourselves: Boulez's music is not easy, isn't meant to be, and never will be popular. It's useful to keep this in mind these days, when record labels (and some critics) needing to pay lip service to at least the concept of crossover potential insist that composers like Boulez, Carter, and other Grand Old Men of the classical avant-garde ought to form part of the staple diet of any "serious" music lover. It ain't gonna happen, and really there's no reason why it should. If Boulez wanted to be popular, he would write like Poulenc, or maybe Philip Glass. This doesn't mean, of course, that he doesn't compose great, or more to the point, consistently sincere and meaningful music. He does, and this latest disc offers a case Read more in point.

All three of the works included here derive from some previous piece or thematic idea, but it's not necessary to know any of the originals to appreciate what Boulez has done. In one sense at least--his concern for the more sensuous aspects of sound--Boulez remains profoundly French. He has taken the typically French polished surface and exquisite sense of sonority a step further, though, to include the interaction of his musical fabric with the acoustic space in which it will be displayed. For example, the electronics that create the environment inhabited by the solo violin in Anthèmes 2 take their material from the soloist as well, reflecting his sound back on him in an ongoing melodic interplay. Messagesquisse does much the same thing, only without the gadgetry: here the cello soloist confronts six additional cellos. The result may not sound much like Villa-Lobos in Bachianas brasileiras mode but it surely takes a similar visceral delight in the rich variety of sounds available to a virtuoso ensemble of cellos.

Finally there's Sur Incises, a magnificent piece "about" the myriad ways the sound of three pianos can be extended by adding three harps and three percussionists (playing mallets and other tuned instruments) to the basic ensemble. Stravinsky's Les Noces is certainly in the background here, and even more to the point, Bartók's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion. Indeed, after the calm opening, some real Bartókian fireworks give the music genuine passion and expressive urgency. Difficult? Yes, but rewarding too. The performances, under the direction of the composer, presumably give him everything that he wants. I can imagine more warmth at certain moments from the cellos, and maybe an even more savage attack on Sur Incises, but there's no point in complaining about the air when there's nothing else to breathe. Enjoyable, even wonderful, but not for everyone. [11/11/2000]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Sur Incises by Pierre Boulez
Performer:  Daniel Ciampolini (Percussion), Frédérique Cambreling (Harp), Sandrine Chatron (Harp),
Marianne Le Mentec (Harp), Michel Cerutti (Percussion), Vincent Bauer (Percussion),
Hidéki Nagano (Piano), Dmitri Vassilakis (Piano), Florent Boffard (Piano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain members
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996/1998 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  IRCAM Projection Room, Paris, France 
Length: 37 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Messagesquisse by Pierre Boulez
Performer:  Jean-Guihen Queyras (Cello), Raphaël Perraud (Cello), Valérie Aimard (Cello),
Claude Giron (Cello), Alexis Descharmes (Cello), Thomas Durand (Cello),
Thierry Amadi (Cello)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain members,  Paris Cello Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Music City Concert Hall, Paris, France 
Length: 8 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Anthemes 2 by Pierre Boulez
Performer:  Andrew Gerzso (Electronics), Kang Hae-Sun (Violin)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain members
Written: 1995-7 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  IRCAM Projection Room, Paris, France 
Length: 20 Minutes 27 Secs. 

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