Universal Edition - Pierre Boulez

Pierre Boulez

Pierre Boulez

The Composer

Born in Montbrison/Loire on 26 March 1925; Pierre Boulez was a composer, conductor, thinker, a motor of international musical life, an emblematic figure in post-war European, indeed, world culture.

He was a living classic. Ever since the 1950’s, composers around the world followed with curiosity what he was writing, to see if they could adapt his ideas in their own music or to reject them in their search for an idiom they could call their own. In 1957, György Kurtág arrived in Paris with the goal to compose something he could show to Boulez (in the end, he left without a work worthy of being presented). The music the French composer has written ever since the late 1940’s was a ...


About the Music

For the first issue of our new newsletter Musikblätter, Pierre Boulez spoke to Universal Edition about his own music.

“… and then you discover yourself

Mr. Boulez, for just a brief moment, at the beginning of the 1950s, it seemed that serial methods were asking to be extended across every element of composition. This represented the thrilling possibility that a new musical system might be found, but there was also the anxiety that music’s creation would become as automated as heavy industry – allowing masterpieces to be made without a master, merely by the hammer of technology. But this sort of total organisation proved to be impossible – luckily so, one might say. It ...



Deutsche Grammophon: Pierre Boulez12 Notations: The concentrated pungency of the sequence embraces whimsical to aggressive, here brought off with total commitment by Pierre-Laurent Aimard, who reveals that each is a gem.

Le Marteau sans maître: the linear and crystalline [piece] seems to meld Debussy and Webern while setting Char’s surrealist prose.

Eclat-Multiples: music that glitters and contains many rhythmic intricacies.

Improvisé – pour le Dr. K.: compelling, whirling and swirling, a touching 80th-birthday present.

Rituel in memoriam Bruno Maderna: a time-obsessed, spatial masterpiece of increasing complexity

Répons: pulsating, colourful and totally engaging – with a sonic shock when the electronics kick ...


10 of 53 Works

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