Pli Selon Pli
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : いいえ
- 製品サイズ : 12.4 x 14.1 x 1.19 cm; 83.91 g
- メーカー : Dg Imports
- EAN : 0028947134428
- 商品モデル番号 : 028947134428
- 時間 : 1 時間 9 分
- SPARSコード : DDD
- レーベル : Dg Imports
- ASIN : B0000630Q9
- ディスク枚数 : 1
Pli Selon Pli (Fold by Fold) is a portrait of Mallarm�, whose poems are set in fragmented fashion throughout the work's five movements, which Boulez rewrote and added to until they assumed final form in 1989. His 1969 Sony recording had an icy, frozen surface and a general air of impenetrability. Age may have mellowed the maestro, for this version, while still challenging, is more accessible. Textures are more finely drawn; the delicate colorations of winds and plucked instruments, including a mandolin, are more sensuous; and a traditional French sensibility is more obvious. The singer, soprano Christine Sch�fer, is more communicative, too: her high notes are smoothly produced, her lines seamlessly woven into the orchestral fabric. The voice is effectively an instrumental line in the work's structure, and texts are fragmented into discrete words and syllables. For all their importance, they occupy a relatively limited portion of the piece's 70 minutes. The crack instrumentalists of the Ensemble Intercontemporain are masters of Boulez's style, and it's hard to imagine a better performance of this modernist milestone. --Dan Davis
The Mallarmé poems which form the subject of the work are themselves worth extensive study. I recommend Roger Pearson's extremely effective analysis of the quite extraordinary poet, if you are minded (as I recently was) to dig deeper into the roots of this seminal man.
It's been a long slow process but we are getting such a stream of good performances and recordings of the greater works of the 20th century that I am gaining a hope that the general disdain in which the toughest atonal creations are held will little by little begin to evaporate. This disc is a fine part of that process. Highly recommended ... as long as you have a taste for the composer!
It is now over ten years since I first heard Boulez's "Pli Selon Pli." It was this 2001 recording, which I heard upon its release in 2002. I was underwhelmed. What I came to realize was that it was largely because of the performance, not the composition. I prefer the 1969 recording on Sony, which I find to be bolder, sharper, more dramatic, and more powerful. I now consider "Pli Selon Pli" to be one of Boulez's finest works, the pinnacle of his early period. Here is a comparison of the two recordings:
Pli Selon Pli (Fold By Fold) 1957-1989
Portrait de Mallarme
1 Don (1969 -- 14'13) (2001 -- 15'10)
2 Improvisation sur Mallarme I (1969 -- 5'02) (2001 -- 5'00)
3 Immprovisation sur Mallarme II (1969 -- 10'52) (2001 -- 11'48)
4 Improvisation sur Mallarme III (1969 -- 15'51) (2001 -- 21'09)
5 Tombeau (1969 -- 13'49) (2001 -- 16'17)
Boulez has revised the piece extensively over the years, but he completed it in roughly its final form in 1962. That is the version heard on the Sony disc recorded in 1969 with Boulez leading the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Halina Lukomsa singing the soprano part. Later in the Eighties he completely rewrote the Third Improvisation, and that is why it is dated 1957-1989. By 1962 it already had its overall contour, beginning and ending with large orchestral forces, and diminishing to a smaller ensemble for the three central improvisations, which also feature more vocals. As you can see, the final 1989 version added five minutes to the length of the new Third Improvisation. In addition, "Don" is a minute longer, the Second Improvisation is a minute longer, and "Tombeau" is two minutes longer.
Overall, this later recording of Christine Schafer and the Ensemble Intercontemporain is nearly ten minutes longer. It is also smoother, less dramatic, and less powerful, dragging especially in the longer fourth section. The only section I find more compelling in this recording, based on back to back listening of each section, is the First Improvisation, which has a larger ensemble at the same length. More typical of the contrast, there is a stunning penultimate passage from the horns in the earlier "Tombeau," which is muffled and ineffective in the later version.
In the liner notes Boulez says of this 2001 recording: "These musicians are fully at ease with contemporary music, and especially with mine. We made the recording following live performances, scrupulously prepared, not in a state of panic but one of great security." Clearly the composer sees this as the definitive performance and recording, and it is included in the new 13-disc Boulez: Complete Works , all selected by Boulez, rather than the 1969 recording. Be that as it may, if I had not heard the 1969 recording I would not consider "Pli Selon Pli" to be a great work, and one of Boulez's best -- but now I do.
Classical and operatic vocals were the most difficult aspect of this world of music for me to appreciate when I started exploring classical music in 2000. That was an obstacle for me back in 2002. Lukomsa's vocal style is more mannered than Schafer, more traditionally operatic. By now that doesn't faze me and I actually appreciate what it adds to the drama and power of the work.
Boulez started working on "Pli Selon Pli" not long after completing his first major work for soprano and ensemble, the celebrated "Le marteau sans maitre" (1953-1955). While "Le marteau" stands as a pillar of the post-war avant-garde canon, I consider "Pli Selon Pli" to be the greater work, perhaps not on the level of innovation, but on the level of musical enjoyment.
But to fully appreciate it, I recommend the 1969 recording.
There are at least two other recordings which I have not heard -- one an early Sixties recording which Boulez has also included in the Complete Works, and another another recorded in the early Eighties .
SELLER PLEASE NOTE: This review is submitted with my initials "MB" and not my name. Please do not ask for another review. Thank you.