The Musical Language of Pierre Boulez: Writings and Compositions (Music since 1900) (英語) ハードカバー – 2011/2/17
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'The Musical Language of Pierre Boulez … is chock-full of examples … There are also necessarily ample quotations from Boulez'[s] writings. It's produced to Cambridge University Press's usual high standards and can be recommended for anyone even vaguely interested in modern music … The job Goldman sets out to do he succeeds at credibly and impressively.' Mark Sealey, Classical Net (classical.net)
Jonathan Goldman is Associate Professor of Musicology at the Université de Montréal, and specializes in twentieth-century music history. Editor-in-Chief of the journal Circuit, musiques contemporaines, he wrote the preface to Leçons de musique (2005), a collection of Boulez's writings published in France.
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In the first part Goldman examines the changing tone of Boulez's voluminous writing. Boulez's earliest essays are obsessed with the idea of the series, and his preferred form for a piece is simply the exhaustion of a series' possibilities, no more and no less. As time goes by, Boulez shows a much greater interest in the proliferation of material instead of the dry working-out of a series. In such texts as the College de France lectures (still not translated into English), he comes to advocate forms that the listener perceives as an overall envelope, filled with auditory signposts marking the course of the piece. The evolution of Boulez's aesthetic is visible not only in the composer's comments about his own music, but also in the way he looks at earlier music. Goldman exemplifies this by describing Boulez's successive analyses of Webern's Cantata No. 2 op. 31, which initially dwell on the series and are somewhat deprecative of the piece, but years later come to express an appreciation for Webern's quasi-thematic writing.
In the second part, Goldman points to these changing priorities by analysing five works from Boulez's late period: "Rituel", "Dérive 1", "Mémoriale", "Anthèmes" and "Incises". (I must say that I think it's a pity that Goldman chose to look at the bloated 2001 version of "Incises" instead of the taut 1994 original, which in my opinion is Boulez's best work for piano.) Now, one doesn't have to read an analysis to "get" these late works, as they speak to any open-minded listener. I fell in love with the prismatic colours and driving momentum of these pieces long before I knew anything about music theory. Still, Boulez fans of an academic bent will enjoy the specifics of how Boulez makes these pieces so sensuous and attractive.
Goldman's book is a useful contribution, since the hitherto most detailed survey of Boulez's music in English, Dominique Jameux's Pierre Boulez, stops with in the early 1980s with "Répons", and gives the most detail to Boulez's earlier music.