Notes and Editorial Reviews
Though he may well disapprove of the designation, in ...explosante-fixe... Pierre Boulez has written one of the great flute concertos of this or any other century.
Though he may well disapprove of the designation, in ...explosante-fixe... Pierre Boulez has written one of the great flute concertos of this or any other century. At nearly 37 minutes, it is also probably the longest, and the expansiveness of the score, dating from 1991-3, gives the lie to all those persistent tales about Boulez's reluctance to compose. He has never lacked for ideas: he's just been unusually fastidious in his concern to do those ideas full justice.
This is music of prodigious melodic inventiveness – and if you believe
Boulez incapable of lyricism, try ... explosante-fixe... from as early as 1'50''. It shares a relish for regular rhythmic patterns with other later works (Messagesquisse, Repons), but its primary concern is with the possibility of enhancing natural sound by electronic means. There are no sound effects, no 'funny noises', but a subtle enrichment of pitch and tone colour as the principal flute and its two satellites interact with ensemble and electronics in music that moves absorbingly between turbulence and poetic reflection in Boulez's uniquely personal way.
This is a brilliantly engineered recording, and my only regret is that it wasn't possible to present it as a sequence of tracks cued to a fuller commentary in the notes. No less engaging are the performances of Notations and Structures, Livre 2, the former revealing the very early Boulez's debts to Debussy, Stravinsky and Bartok, the latter displaying the full, formidable power of his still-youthful originality. For both books of Structures one still has to turn to the pioneering recording by the Kontarsky brothers (Wergo, 6/93), but Livre 2 can well stand alone, and here Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Florent Boffard provide a finely characterized reading, as gripping in explosiveness as in restraint, and the pianos are recorded with exemplary naturalness.
This is a superb disc. The energy and sensitivity of the works it contains puts a great deal of other contemporary music deeply into the shade, and performances and recordings are equal to the music's stature.
-- Arnold Whittall, Gramophone [12/1995]
Works on This Recording
...explosante-fixe... by Pierre Boulez
Sophie Cherrier (Flute),
Pierre-André Valade (Flute),
Emmanuelle Ophèle (Flute)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1973; France
Notations (12) for Piano by Pierre Boulez
Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1945; France
Notations: 1. Fantasque - Modéré
Notations: 5. Doux et improvisé
Notations: 8. Modéré jusqu'à très vif
Notations: 9. Lointain - Calme
Notations: 10. Mécanique er très sec
Notations: 11. Scintillant
Notations: 12. Lent - Puissant et âpre
Structures pour deux pianos - Livre II: Chapitre I
Structures pour deux pianos - Livre II: Chapitre II (Pièces 1-2, Encarts 1-4, Textes 1-6)
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