“Fold by fold” – this is the English translation of the French title; the text was written by Stéphane Mallarmé – is a milestone in recent music history: in this work, Mallarmé – the revolutionary innovator of French poetry – meets Pierre Boulez, whose treatment of the text and instruments reveals him to be just as much a revolutionary innovator of music. Pli selon pli is therefore not just a “Portrait de Mallarmé”, but also one of Pierre Boulez. (Bálint András Varga)
On 3 February Matthias Pintscher, soprano Marisol Montalvo, the ensemble intercontemporain and the Orchestre du Conservatoire de Paris present an evening with Pierre Boulez’ Pli selon pli and Edgard Varèse’s Amériques at the Philharmonie de Paris.
Find out more on the website of the Philharmonie de Paris.
Watch an excerpt of Boulez conducting Pli selon Pli:
The full Aldeburgh Festival 2015 programme has been announced earlier this week. Find out more on our #Boulez90 blog.
That the orchestra accomplished so much in a single weekend […] is astonishing. Then again, it also makes perfect sense. That's what you do for someone you love. (Zachary Lewis, cleveland.com, 17.01.2015)
Each [of the five Notations] still seems as musically inevitable as the 1945 piano pieces did. Conductor and orchestra gave committed performances that surely would have pleased the French master. (Timothy Robson, bachtrack, 18.01.2015)
Tonight, on 15 January, the Cleveland Orchestra presents a special musical celebration to salute Pierre Boulez’ 90th birthday, featuring his own music and works he has led to acclaim in performances with the orchestra.
Joela Jones’ performance of 12 Notations will be followed by Notations I-IV and VII. Franz Welser-Möst conducts the Cleveland Orchestra.
Watch the Cleveland Orchestra’s 90th birthday celebration concert preview on YouTube:
The Recording Academy has announced its Special Merit Awards recipients: among this year’s honorees is Pierre Boulez.
A special invitation-only ceremony will be held during Grammy Week on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, and a formal acknowledgment will be made during the 57th Annual Grammy Awards.
After highly acclaimed performances of A Pierre Dream: A Portrait of Pierre Boulez (Pablo Heras-Casado conducted the CSO), the west coast première of A Pierre Dream will be performed at next year’s Ojai Festival by mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell and the International Contemporary Ensemble (cond. Steven Schick).
Find out more on the programme of the Oija Music Festival.
Watch the trailer of A Pierre Dream:
On 4 November Yejin Gil, artist in residence at the Impuls Festival für Neue Musik in Sachsen-Anhalt, performed a solo recital, presenting pieces by Pierre Boulez, Unsuk Chin, György Ligeti and Olivier Messiaen.
Earlier in the year, Andrew Clements of The Guardian reviewed Yejin Gil’s debut disc, which features Pierre Boulez’ Incises:
“All the seeds of that iridescent score [of sur Incises] can be heard in the piano piece, wonderfully articulated by Gil; the torrents of repeated notes in its opening section are fabulously even, the writhing, decaying chords that arrive later are perfectly weighted.” (Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 5.3.2014)
But the music’s real triumph lies in its unfaltering sense of movement. […] From start to finish the work treads like some implacable giant, and because its two main climaxes emerge from the bowels of a unitary experience they generate a violence and despair that transcend rhetoric. The word is on the tip of my pen and I can withhold it no longer. There are elements of greatness in this work. (Peter Heyworth, The Observer, 04.06.1972)
Based on the homonymous allegorical painting by the sixteenth-century artist Pieter Bruegel, the 30-minute piece was first performed in 1972. This recording is from a performance by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Pierre Boulez.
In honour of Pierre Boulez’ 90th birthday next year, the internationally acclaimed pianist Taka Kigawa, “an expert negotiator between freedom and restriction” (La Nacion, 5.3.2014), will perform the composer’s Complete Solo Piano Music next Monday at (le) poisson rouge in New York. Boulez’ 12 Notations, Première Sonate, Deuxième Sonate, Troisième Sonate (including Sigle), Incises and une page d’éphéméride are on the programme.
The New York Times has previewed Kigawa’s Complete Solo Piano Works recital this Monday: “[Kigawa] has long made the solo piano works of Pierre Boulez a specialty in performances that bring out the exhilarating energy and myriad colorings in these fiercely difficult scores.”
Arnold Schönberg’s Pierrot lunaire, conducted by Pierre Boulez with Helga Pilarczyk as Sprechstimme, was the first ever long-playing record to be released on the German label WERGO, which was founded in 1962.
This historic recording – a highlight of the label’s early catalogue – has recently been reissued on CD, together with an 80-page booklet.
Find out more on the website of WERGO.
The internationally acclaimed pianist Taka Kigawa, who has recently been described as “an expert negotiator between freedom and restriction” (La Nacion, 5.3.2014), will perform Pierre Boulez’ Douze Notations on 18 June at the Greencastle Summer Music Festival.
On the morning the day after, he’ll do a Q&A with the audience at Classical 90.5 WUOL Louisville and give a free concert, performing Boulez’ 12 Notations, Première Sonate, Deuxième Sonate, Troisième Sonate (including Sigle), Incises and une page d’éphéméride. Find out more about the concert on WUOL.
In the evening of the same day, Taka Kigawa will be performing Boulez’ complete solo piano music at the DePauw University in Greencastle.
Read a preview article from Greencastle Banner-Graphic.
Kigawa will continue his piano recital tour on 25 August at Le Poisson Rouge in New York, followed by a trip to Japan in November.
The highly acclaimed pianist Taka Kigawa will honour composer and conductor Pierre Boulez with a solo piano recital of the composer’s works 12 Notations, Première Sonate, Troisième Sonate (including Sigle), Incises and une page d’éphéméride on 17 April at the Center for New Music in San Francisco, and, a week later, on 24 April at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires.
From the Center for New Music’s programme:
“Pierre Boulez’s piano pieces have been Taka Kigawa’s specialty program. He has performed those pieces in public numerous times worldwide, and has received lots of acclaim from both critics and audiences alike. The New York Times hailed him, as ‘It was music of Mr. Boulez that spurred him to greater intensity and spontaneity. Mr. Kigawa’s feat deserves the highest praise, especially since it was combined with such alacrity and sensitivity to the musical material’ and ‘Mr. Kigawa recast the (Boulez’s) sonata as an essay in how to apply suppleness to virtuosity, and the result was an energetic but also characterful account.’ And Pierre Boulez himself highly praised Kigawa’s playing his works as ‘I was very much impressed by the brilliant way he performed them. He was precise, and at the same time inventive.’ […] Also this year Kigawa will be touring with the Pierre Boulez Complete Solo Piano Music program in Buenos Aires, Argentina in late April, in New York City in August, and in Japan in November.”
Happy 89th Birthday Pierre Boulez!
Ivan Fedele, director of the Biennale’s music sector, on Boulez:
“This is a recognition of the absolute value of an artist who has lived through the history of contemporary music, offering the entire world compositions that, in the opinion of musicologists and artists from around the world, are true masterpieces of modernity.
The Maestro’s work has also expressed itself in the theoretical field with exemplary books that have served as a guide and model for generations of young composers. Furthermore, as a conductor, Boulez has offered interpretations of the classical and contemporary repertoire that are now considered milestones.”
Today, 6 February, Pierre Boulez will receive the 18th annual Cleveland Orchestra Distinguished Service Award in absentia.
Executive Director Gary Hanson on Boulez: "This award is in recognition of our genuine appreciation for Pierre Boulez"s decades of service to The Cleveland Orchestra. He has given us the gift of great music, new music, and the joy of music-making. We are grateful for what he has taught us and honored by his peerless international legacy."
Read more on the website of the Cleveland Orchestra.
Excerpt from a conversation between Wolfgang
Fink and Pierre Boulez:
Fink: Incises […] is rather short, extremely brilliant and with a sense of perpetual motion. Now sur Incises originates from this piece and goes beyond the scope of pure piano sound.
Boulez: Yes, it is an ensemble for three pianos which in a way represent the main instruments, three harps and three percussions of certain pitch, also timpani, steel drums, glockenspiel etc. I composed the piano piece Incises for the Umberto Micheli Piano Competition which is greatly supported by Maurizio Pollini. First I had in mind to transform this piece into a longer one for Pollini and a group of instrumentalists, a kind of piano concerto although without reference to the traditional form. The literature in concerto form does not appeal to me any more. Therefore I produced a piece for three pianos assuming that there already exists enough interesting literature for two pianos and ensembles, especially in the modern age - take for example Bartok's "Sonata for two pianos and percussion".
Pierre Boulez: sur Incises
for 3 pianos, 3 harps and 3 percussionists | 40'
27.10.2013, Teatro alla Scala, Milano; ensemble intercontemporain, cond. Matthias Pintscher