I believe the premiere was planned for 1977 or 1978. However, he hadn’t finished the work by then, nor by the following year, and so it went on. In the end I said to him – we were quite good friends by then – “You know what, Pierre: we’ll just play them when you’ve finished them.” Then one day, he phoned me and said, “Alright, we can play four pieces.” And that’s what we did, in 1980 in Paris. I then waited 22 years for Notations VII, which was premiered in 2002 in Chicago.
Daniel Barenboim will be conducting Boulez’ Notations I-IV and VII with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra on 14 May at the opening concert of the 38th International Musik Festival, which runs from 7 May until 23 June.
For our MusikSalon we talked to Daniel Barenboim about Pierre Boulez: