Boulez Analysis

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    Boulez, Pierre(bMontbrison, Loire, 26 March 1925). French composer andconductor. Resolute imagination, force of will and ruthlesscombativeness secured him, as a young man, a position at thehead of the Parisian musical avant garde. His predecessors, inhis view, had not been radical enough; music awaited acombination of serialism with the rhythmic irregularity opened upby Stravinsky and Messiaen. This call for a renewed modernismwas widely heard and widely followed during the 1950s, but itsappeal gradually weakened thereafter, and in the same measurehis creativity waned. He began to be more active as a conductor,at first specializing in 20th-century music, but then, in the 1970s,covering a large and general repertory. Towards the end of that

    decade he turned his attention to an electro-acoustic musicstudio built for him in Paris, where he hoped to resume the effortto create a new musical language on a rational basis. After abrief hiatus, though, conducting became again his principalmeans of expressing his independence and clarity of vision.1. Compositional career.2. Conducting.3. Compositional style.WORKSWRITINGSBIBLIOGRAPHY

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    1. Compositional career.

    As a boy Boulez divided his attention between music andmathematics. He sang in the choir of his Catholic school at St

    Etienne, he enjoyed playing the piano; but his early aptitude formathematics marked him out at least in the eyes of his father, asteel industrialist for a career in engineering. On leaving schoolin 1941, he spent a year attending a course in highermathematics at Lyons with a view to gaining admission to theEcole Polytechnique in Paris. During that year he made whatprogress he could with music, cultivating his proficiency as apianist and acquiring a grounding in theory.It was the latter which stood him in good stead when he movedto Paris in 1942 and, against his father's wishes, opted for theParis Conservatoire rather than the Ecole Polytechnique; he had

    failed the pianists' entrance examination. After three years hetook apremier prixin harmony, having attended Messiaen'sfamous harmony class. Along with some of his contemporaries inMessiaen's class, he took exception to the hidebound curriculumof the Conservatoire and looked beyond its walls for instruction incounterpoint. This he studied privately with Andre Vaurabourg,the wife of Arthur Honegger.It was in Messiaen's class that Boulez, respected as well asencouraged by his teacher, first gave proof of exceptionalabilities as a music analyst. Quick to detect genuine originality of

    craftsmanship, he equally quickly lost patience with music whoserenown rested on anything less substantial. He viewedcomposition as a form of aesthetic research and demanded thatit be conducted on stringently scientific (that is, logical) lines; inthis light, the cult of personal stylistic development a hangoverfrom Romanticism counted for nothing. Infected by a commonzeal, Boulez and a number of his fellow pupils demonstrated theirprotest vocally at performances of works whose modernity theyconsidered a facile and arbitrary disguise; not even the personalreputation of Stravinsky was sacrosanct, and many a lesser onewas mercilessly deflated.

    His own aesthetic researches at the time had led him to a veryclear awareness of the necessity for atonality. WhenSchoenberg's pupil Leibowitz began to introduce dodecaphonicmusic to the French public, Boulez readily applied to him forinstruction in serial techniques. Within a year his earliestpublished compositions (Notations, the Flute Sonatina, the FirstPiano Sonata, Le visage nuptial) had taken shape; his inventiveenergies had taken the route suggested by Schoenberg's WindQuintet op.26 (which he had heard in 1945) and by the laterworks of Webern. Again, Boulez was subsequently to write: Anymusician who has not felt the necessity of the dodecaphoniclanguage is OF NO USE (Eventuellement , 1952, in Boulez,1966)

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    On the recommendation of Honegger, Boulez was appointedmusical director of the new Compagnie Renaud-Barrault in 1946.He thus laid the solid foundations of his career as a conductorwith performances of theatre music, including speciallycomposed scores by Auric, Poulenc and Honegger himself.

    (Roger Desormire, from whom he received guidance, could beconsidered his one teacher of conducting.) Boulez was incharge of Milhaud's music for Claudel'sChristophe Colombwhenthe company's production of the play was recorded on disc, andin 1955, the penultimate year of his association with thecompany, Boulez himself wrote the incidental music for theirproduction of theOresteiaat the Bordeaux Festival.The first works that made Boulez's reputation as a composerwere those that came after his dbut pieces: the Second PianoSonata and Le soleil des eaux. The latter, first given as a cantatain Paris in July 1950, grew out of some incidental music Boulezwrote for a radio production of Char's work of the same name,broadcast in April 1948. The music of the original version,reworked, became Complainte du lzard amoureux, and Boulezadded to this a second movement, La sorgue. The scoring ofthe cantata, both impressionistically delicate and violent, has ahallucinatory clarity which accords well with Boulez's surrealistintentions.In contrast with the one-movement Sonatina and the two-movement First Sonata, Boulez's Second Sonata is amonumental work in four movements. Avowedly modelled on

    Beethoven, its movements follow a sufficiently Classical patternfor the many facets of Boulez's style to be systematicallydeployed. The work's reputation grew less from relativelyobscure early performances by Yvette Grimaud and YvonneLoriod than from circulation of the score, which was published in1950. This composition, more than any other, first spreadBoulez's fame abroad: its first performance in Darmstadt (byLoriod in 1952) was one of the most eagerly awaited musicalevents of the postwar years, and through the advocacy of Tudorit reached the ears of the American avant garde.Immediately afterwards came the Livre pour quatuor, whichforeshadows much of the later development of Boulez's musicalthinking. The work is in the form of a collection of movements,and it is left to the the performers to select which will be given atany one performance. Thus the Livreanticipates those works ofthe late 1950s in which the performer is allowed to choose hisown path through the music. Its immediate significance, however,was as a pointer towards the technique of total serialization.Stimulated by the last works of Webern and by Messiaen'sQuatre tudes de rythme(194950), Boulez sought to develop atechnique whereby the principles of serialism could be made to

    govern the timbre, duration and intensity of each sound, as well

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    as its pitch. Some of the movements of the Livre pour quatuormay be considered as first sketches towards such a technique.By 1951 Boulez had arrived at a stage where he could commithis first essays in the new technique to paper and to magnetictape. The resources of the studio for musique concrterun by

    Schaeffer under the auspices of French radio enabled Boulez tocompose two Etudesin which the precise organization oftimbres, durations and intensities could remain immune from thehazards of human performance. These hazards proved to be areal stumbling-block in Polyphonie Xfor 18 soloists (195051),which was composed for and performed at the 1951Donaueschingen Festival. The last, and most successful, ofBoulez's essays in total serialization was Structures Ifor twopianos (19512). Organization of timbres was here replaced bythat of modes of attack, and the treatment of durations inparticular became more flexible in the last two of the work's threesections. The first section was performed at a Paris concert in1952 by Messiaen and the composer.At the same time Boulez completed a first revision of his earlycantata,Le visage nuptial. Originally written for two vocal soloistsand a chamber ensemble, the work was reorchestrated for verymuch larger forces including a women's chorus. Denselyorchestrated and richly polyphonic, the work reaches towardslyrical paroxysm and its style shares certain features with bothMessiaen and the Expressionism of Berg. In two of its fivemovements (each a setting of a poem by Char) Boulez freely

    used quarter-tones (though he expunged these from his revisionof 19869). It was not until December 1957 that the five-movement version was given its first performance, under thecomposer's direction, in Cologne.The next five years saw a marked slowing down in Boulez'sproduction as a composer. It was a period in which much of hismusical thinking found expression in articles on technique andaesthetics, many of which are to be found in the collectionRelevs d'apprenti. Perhaps the most notorious of all thesewritings was his obituary in Score(1952) Schnberg est mort, inwhich he continued his protest against what he considered the

    inadequate working-out of musical discoveries. But this was alsoa period during which Boulez won wide and even popularacclaim for a work which very soon came to be thought of as akeystone of 20th-century music, a worthy companion to The Riteof Springand Pierrot Lunaire:Le marteau sans matre(19535).Unlike Boulez's earlier settings of Char's poetry, Le marteau sansmatreis scored for a small ensemble; its contralto soloist iscomplemented only by alto flute, xylorimba, vibraphone,percussion, guitar and viola (fig.2). Char's three poems areembedded in a nine-movement structure of interlacing settings

    and related instrumental movements. Recalling the cellular styleof late Webern, Boulez cultivated a certain rhythmic monotony,

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    emphasized by his use of the percussion in some of themovements. This is offset by abrupt tempo transitions, passagesof broadly improvisatory melodic style, and not least of all thefascination of exotic instrumental colouring, underlining thework's basically static conception.

    In 1954, supported by the Compagnie Renaud-Barrault and bythe patronage of Suzanne Tzenas, Boulez was able to foundthe Domaine Musical series of concerts. New works were givencarefully prepared performances in programmes which includedonly those works of the past thought to be of special relevance tocontemporary music. These composers's concerts found anenthusiastic following in Paris, and set a pattern which has sincebeen widely and successfully imitated. The Domaine Musicalgave European premires of works by Stravinsky, Messiaen andmany younger composers of different nationalities. Its concertsbecame a regular feature of Parisian musical life, and in 1967Boulez was succeeded as musical director by Amy.Following the success of Le marteau sans matre, Boulez beganto be in considerable demand as a teacher of composition. Hetaught at Darmstadt annually from 19546 and four times againbetween 1960 and 1965; he was also professor of composition atthe Basle Musik-Akademie (196063), a visiting lecturer atHarvard University (1963) and an active private teacher. It was atDarmstadt that he gave the series of lectures which were tobecome Penser la musique aujourd'hui. The book outlines insystematic fashion the developments of serial technique which

    followed Boulez's preoccupation with total serialization; inparticular, it relates to the group of works (the Third PianoSonata, Posie pour pouvoir, Doubles, Structures II, Pli selon pli)he composed between 1957 and 1962.By now the broadening of his serial techniques had led Boulez toan interest in the possibilities of open form. At one level,individual works were increasingly to be seen as parts of agreater whole, a work in progress, to be taken up again andreworked as the larger entity came to assume its own shape. Thetwo Improvisations sur Mallarmfor soprano and percussionensemble (1957) in this way became parts of Pli selon pli(195762), which then underwent intermittent change during a period of30 years; an early version of its opening section, Don, gave riseto Eclat(1965), another continuing project; and Doubles,commissioned by the Lamoureux Orchestra for performance in1958, was later expanded as FiguresDoublesPrismes(1963),which is also in principle unfinished. But more far-reaching wasthe freedom Boulez now tended to give the performer. There are,for example, passages in Improvisation sur Mallarm IIthat aremarked senza tempo, leaving the soloist and conductor free tojudge durations for themselves.

    In the Third Sonata the performer has considerably morefreedom of choice. Within certain limits, the order of the work's

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    five movements may be freely selected; within movementsthemselves, the performer is offered a number of alternativeroutes, and must choose which passages to perform and whichto omit. However, the composer's planned scheme of optionsrepresents a much firmer control over the work's identity than is

    to be found in such aleatory music as Stockhausen's KlavierstckXI. Only two of the sonata's movements have so far beenpublished, the remainder having been withdrawn into thecategory of work in progress. Completed works of the periodinclude Posie pour pouvoirfor orchestra and tape, andStructures IIfor two pianos. The former, based on a text byMichaux, continues the spatial exploitation of orchestral soundwhich Stockhausen inaugurated with hisGruppen. Structures II(195661) complemented the studies in serialism of 19512 withexamples of a more developed and freer serial technique.The extent of Boulez's new freedom is perhaps most amplydemonstrated in Pli selon pli, a work for soprano and largeorchestra in five movements, sub-titled portrait de Mallarm.Extended passages in which the registers of notes remain fixedmake for a new simplicity of style, particularly in the vocal writingof the three Improvisationswhich form the work's central core.The density of instrumental textures varies from the use of the fullorchestra in the outer movements to the delicate chamberensemble which accompanies the second Improvisation. Thefrequently ornate vocal style of the work does not preclude asomewhat expressionistic treatment of Mallarm's text, but

    Boulez's real homage to the poet lies deeper, in the formalcorrespondences between his music and Mallarm's poeticsyntax.Eclatfor 15 instruments (1965) heralded a group of compositionsin which Boulez turned his attention to variously constitutedchamber ensembles of moderate size. This work, featuring animportant solo piano part among the nine non-sustaininginstruments of its original version, finally grew into Eclat/Multiplesfor orchestra. In cummings ist der Dichterfor 16 solovoices and 24 instruments (1970, rev. 1986), Boulez invented anew type of chamber cantata; more concise than Pli selon pli, thework is another portrait of a poet, and is again built around acentral improvisatory section in which sustained notes alternatewith violent vocal ejaculations.The possibilities of open forms continued to exercise hisimagination. InDomaines, for clarinet alone or with 21instruments (19618), as in Posie pour pouvoirand FiguresDoublesPrismes, Boulez emphasized the role of spatial locationin the distribution of the ensemble; the solo clarinettist movesamong the work's six instrumental groups. The freedom given tothe performers in determining the work's form is allotted

    alternately to the soloist and to the ensemble, under theleadership of the conductor. The original plan (1971) for

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    explosante-fixe sets out a wide range of possible forms forselection by the players involved, whose number and instrumentsBoulez does not prescribe. He returned in 1968 to his work inprogress then of longest standing, the Livre pour quatuorhe hadembarked on 20 years previously; he prepared a new version

    (Livre pour cordes) for full string orchestra of two of itsmovements which, in a further revision in 1988, were to becomeone.The recomposition of older pieces became a major part ofBoulez's creative life. Le soleil des eauxhad already beenrevised in 1965; a version of Notationsfor enormous orchestrawas begun in 1978; and in the 1980s several works wererethought, from Le visage nuptialthroughPli selon plitocummings ist der Dichter. Boulez who has spoken also ofamending Polyphonie X, Posie pour pouvoirand Domaines, andhas started at least the last of these tasks felt that his growingexperience allowed him to improve or extend what he had writtenin his twenties and thirties, but he was also committed to anaesthetics of proliferation, to a belief that, within the centrelessuniverse of serialism, musical ideas held limitless potential fordevelopment. Hence the difficulty, too, of bringing pieces to aconclusion: major works that seem destined to remain unfinishedinclude the Third Piano Sonata, FiguresDoublesPrismes,Eclat/Multiples, explosante-fixe and Rpons, of which the lastwas designed to exploit the possibilities of digital soundmanipulation that were being developed at Boulez's research

    facility, the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique, which started to come into operation towards the end ofthe 1970s.Proliferation is important also to the textures and forms ofBoulez's later works, most of which are based either on the explosante-fixe kit (a group including the orchestral Rituel,which is unusual for this composer in its monumental conception,in having been instantly completed and in having resistedchange) or on a sequence of harmonies derived from a musicalspelling of Paul Sacher's surname (Messagesquisse, Rpons,the Driveseries).More ambiguous is Boulez's commitment to the electronicmedium. His hopes for IRCAM, expressed in manifestos, werethat it would be a meeting-place for scientists, composers andperformers, a laboratory in which the musical adventure of the20th century could at last be continued not the sophisticatedelectro-acoustic music studio it quickly became. If, nevertheless,he took advantage of what he had, and created Rponspartly toshow off IRCAMs digital machinery for storing and transformingsounds in live performance, the electronic aspect here is perhapsless central than the opposition that had generated Eclat/

    Multiples, between tuned percussion (six soloists, amplified andaltered) and a chamber orchestra of wind and strings

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    (untransformed). Dialogue de l'ombre double(19825), arecomposition of Domaines, shows a far more integrated use ofelectronic voice-change, applied to a solo clarinet, and thedevelopment of explosante-fixeinto a concerto for MIDI flute(19913) does the same, within music characteristically caught

    between thrill and desperation. But the works of this period thatshow most inventiveness and control in terms of timbre are theextensions for large orchestra of the piano Notations(1945), fromwhich Boulez had come to date his career as a composer.

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    2. Conducting.

    Boulez's conducting career began with the Domaine Musicalconcerts, where he conducted many new works by young

    composers as well as his own Le marteau sans matre. In 1957,at the invitation of Scherchen, he conducted the first performanceof Le visage nuptialin Cologne; during the next year, he not onlyconducted the premire of Doublesin Paris, but participated withRosbaud and the Grosses Orchester der SWF in the firstperformance of Posie pour pouvoir. He was again invited toconduct the same orchestra when an early version of Pli selon pliwas introduced in Cologne in 1960; meanwhile, he had becomea guest conductor with the orchestra, and had taken upresidence in Baden-Baden, partly as a gesture of revolt againstFrench musical conservatism. (The German spa town remained

    his principal home for 20 years, until he returned to Paris to takecharge of IRCAM and assume a position at the Collge deFrance.) Although always primarily concerned with theperformance of 20th-century music, and notably that of Debussy,Stravinsky, Webern and Messiaen, he extended his repertoryduring this time to include a number of earlier works (by Haydn,Beethoven, Schubert and others) with which he felt a specialaffinity.After some years of alienation from the official musical world inParis, Boulez returned there triumphantly in 1963 to conduct the

    first Paris Opra production of Wozzeck. Very quickly he came tobe in demand for a wide variety of occasions in many differentcountries. In 1964 he conducted a special concert performanceof Hippolyte et Ariciefor the Rameau bicentenary celebrations inParis, in 1965 he was at the Edinburgh Festival to conduct Pliselon pliand in 1966 he was entrusted with Parsifalat theBayreuth Festival. In 1967 he became a guest conductor with theCleveland Orchestra, with whom he made a number ofrecordings, and four years later he was appointed principalconductor of both the BBC SO and the New York PO. Herelinquished these posts in 1974 and 1977 respectively. In 1976

    he conducted the Ringat Bayreuth, in Patrice Chreau'scontroversial production, and in 1979 at the Paris Opra he hadcharge of the first production of Berg'sLuluin complete form.After this he reduced his conducting commitments drastically, butby the 1990s he was performing and recording frequently again,mostly in his favourite 20th-century repertory, but with some newacquisitions (Bruckner, Strauss).Boulez's performances are primarily noted for their analyticalclarity of sound: every note, even in complex scores, makes itspoint as a contribution to the whole. This proved an invaluablefeature of Boulez's pioneering performances of new music, eventhough at first they were often hampered by some aridity inorchestral sonority. Given superior orchestras, the freshness of

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    his approach gave particularly successful results in hisperformances of Debussy's scores, presenting a stark contrastwith a long-standing tradition of impressionist cloudiness. Acertain deliberacy of forward propulsion, admirably suited tomany of the modern scores he performs (The Rite of Spring, for

    instance), can at other times impede the flow or overload thebeat: the sensitivity of his musical ear is widely and justlyrenowned; the suppleness of his muscle is less likely to claimsuch regard. He brings a composer's insight to the shaping ofstructure and form, and imagination to his interpretation of awork's aesthetic. This insight and imagination is also displayed inhis verbal introductions to many of the works he performs, for hehas continued, both in the concert hall and through the massmedia, to be a most active propagandist and spokesman for themusic of the 20th century.

    3. Compositional style.

    Boulez's famous phrase about organized delirium (Son etverbe, 1958, in Relevs d'apprenti, 1966) is a most usefulstarting-point for examining his style and aesthetics. Deliriumsituates the music's essential poetics: it points to the post-Expressionist colouring of individualist subjectivism in which thehumanism of Boulez's music has its deepest roots; and it directsthe listener's attention to the unique inflections of the composer'svoice. Organization, on the other hand, speaks of the effort toexteriorize expression in universal terms: it indicates the natureof the Platonic model to which Boulez relates his work, andinstructs one to seek out the logic in its workings. Composers ofBoulez's generation have commonly seen the inseparability ofstyle and logic as a criterion of musical excellence; and it is withinsuch terms as theirs that critical analysis of Boulez's music hasmost often been conducted.With rare exceptions (notably in the Third Piano Sonata),Boulez's music displays its firmest foundations in linear, melodic

    thinking. In adopting and imaginatively developing the principlesof Schoenbergian serialism in his organization of pitches, Boulezrapidly evolved a melodic manner of wide-ranging flexibility. Thefreedom with which he uses every possible tempered melodicinterval is restrained only by a recurrent tendency of theseintervals to fall into characteristic aggregations, somewhat in themanner of Webern. This gives rise to melodic cells, which canbe used in an overtly thematic manner, as in the early sonatasand in the Sonatina, whose form is modelled on that ofSchoenberg's Kammersymphonieop.9, and from which thefollowing examples are taken. Ex.1shows a principal theme of

    the work and some of its later appearances. The figurex, takenfrom a characteristic opening flourish (ex.2), is later used,
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    together with its inversion (x'), retrograde (x'') and retrogradeinversion (x''') forms, as the basis of an extended developmentsection (ex.3). The use of repeated notes in this exampleanticipates their appearance in the first movement of the SecondPiano Sonata, where they help to articulate the motivic content.
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    In the works with orchestra of the late 1940s, instrumentaloverlapping tends to create a more obvious continuity of melodicline and there is correspondingly less emphasis on chiselledmelodic-rhythmic cells. Even in those works of 19512 whereBoulez was applying a technique of total serialization, there is notthe marked discontinuity of horizontal line which characterizesthe point (isolated note) composition of Stockhausen'scontemporary works (e.g. Punktefor orchestra). Melodicpassages are given to individual instruments in Polyphonie X;indeed, in the first piece of Structures I, the use of constantdynamic levels and modes of attack does much to emphasize thecontinuous conception of each polyphonic strand. (The wideleaps in register between notes do not affect this fundamentalcontinuity: they had been part of Boulez's melodic thinking for thepiano since the time of the First Piano Sonata, as that work'ssecond movement clearly shows.)

    The broader serial thinking of subsequent years produced adistinctly more improvisatory melodic style sometimes highlyembellished, sometimes circling round a central note or group ofnotes. As an example of this, the writing for solo clarinet in

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    Domainesis interesting often a single note is decorated in amanner suggesting, in Boulez's own phrase, a polyphony whichremains latent (Boulez on Music Today, p.137). The opening ofImprovisation sur Mallarm I(ex.4) demonstrates the effect of afixed constellation of registers in melodic writing of this kind.

    Another, more incidental, feature of certain works of this period isthe use of preponderant intervals, usually by means of a carefulshaping of the registral scheme in an appropriate way; thus,much of Le marteau sans matreshows a preponderance ofminor 3rds (see ex.5), and Improvisation sur Mallarm IIislikewise marked by major 9ths.
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    The fixing in register of a field of pitches over a comparativelylong stretch of music is a rather sporadic phenomenon in Boulez,though he continues to resort to this technique in explosante-fixe. The static, decorative effect to which it gives rise isparticularly evident in certain passages of Boulez's writing for thepiano (in Structures IIand Eclat, for instance); and in Don, theopening section ofPli selon pli, it notably draws the attention fromthe pitch structure to details of instrumental timbre. By contrast,Boulez went to the other extreme in his early works. Here heconsistently avoided fixity of register by maintaining a steady flowof transpositions, even in the slower passages of orchestralwriting occurring in Le visage nuptialand Le soleil des eaux.

    Sometimes, indeed, the flow is so fast as blatantly to contravene

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    the Schoenbergian guiding principle of octave avoidance (seeexx.1dand 3).

    Boulez's polyphonic thinking, unlike Webern's, is allied to a

    harmonic style of some density which has its roots not only inSchoenberg but in Messiaen too. This is evident in Boulez'srichly sounding vertical aggregates and instrumental voicing, inhis cluster effects, in his treatment of the extreme registers of thepiano, and in his occasional use of organum-like parallel chordmovement (see ex.1d; more complex examples are to be foundin later works such as Eclat). Less obvious, although no lesseffective than parallel homophonic movement, are thosepassages dominated by preponderant harmonic intervals. Thethird movement of the Second Piano Sonata is haunted by major2nds; and the character of Le marteau sans matreowes much to

    the deployment, both melodically and harmonically, of 3rds and6ths (ex.5).

    This example demonstrates one of the methods most commonlyused by the serialists in their attempts to bring about a fusionbetween horizontal and vertical pitch structures. The melodic linein ex.5acontains a full range of intervals, yet for the most part it isdeveloped from the sort of chordal spacing suggested in ex.5b,which is exclusively occupied with the minor 3rd and its inversion.(In the transcription of this example, certain details are omitted,

    notably the part for percussion.) It should be noted, however, thatthis type of fusion leaves the typical melodic and harmonictextures unaltered. The harmonic writing here is obstinately infour parts; and only the slight hint of latent polyphony in thevocal line shows Boulez moving towards the textural fusion whichmarks the Third Piano Sonata.

    The procedures Boulez came to use in order to produce suitablymobile pitch structures from serial premises are described inPenser la musique aujourd'hui. In the example he gives there, amelodic series is broken up into polyphonic segments (one- tothree-part writing), each of which is thickened by multiplication that is, by transposing the same interval or chord onto each of itsnotes. (For example, if the segment FGB is multiplied by the

    interval CE , the result is F(A )G(B )B(D), i.e. FGA

    BB D.) It is this technique of multiplication that represents thetrue diagonal between melody and harmony. It is possible thatBoulez had been consciously seeking this path from the verystart; rapid flourishes using equal durational values (e.g. ex.2)frequently appear in the early works and may have been

    conceived, if naively so, as a fusion between vertical andhorizontal writing. But it is only the later technique that represents
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    a truly serial approach to textural density, offering a solutionwhich had eluded Boulez at the time of his research into thepossibilities of total serialization.

    A way into the serialization of rhythm came from the arithmeticalseries of durational values in Messiaens Mode de valeurs etd'intensits. Boulez favoured the same approach (see StructuresIa), and his subsequent conception of musical time owes much toit. However, the global organization of time and the performanceof rhythms within time require greater differentiation than theexclusive use of such durational series offers. In Structures Ib,Boulez introduced regular subdivisions of the larger temporalunits, and soon (see Eventuellement , 1952) he was findingways of incorporating a flexibility of rhythmical movementcommensurate with that of his early works.

    These works were firmly founded on a form of cellular rhythmicmotivicism which derived from the practice of Messiaen. Smallrhythmic groups could be varied and developed by using simpleprocedures of permutation, augmentation, diminution, extensionand elision; in this way, a very small number of rhythmic ideascould engender enough rhythmic forms to sustain an extendedcomposition. There are some simple examples of this in theSonatina. The values markedx' in ex.1bare a regular diminutionof the first three notes of ex.1a; and the first four values of ex.1bappear in a reversed form inex.3(xandx'; retrograde inx'' andx'''). As a means of articulating the thematic content of sonataforms, the technique has many advantages, and it correspondsadmirably to the use of recurrent pitch aggregates.

    A similar correspondence can be found in nonthematic music,where passages of varying rhythmic regularity can be set offagainst highly regular or highly irregular passages; this parallelsthe musical characterization that can be achieved by the controlof pitch structures. The extreme regularity of the subdivisions in

    Structures Ibcontinues to represent one type of characterization,as, for example, in Domaines(see the writing for trombones intheir Miroir section). The harmonic example of Le marteau sansmatre(ex.5b) shows how regularity of values can link up withmotivic thinking. Irregular durations are generally formed byintroducing irrational subdivisions (a technique Boulez took overfrom Varse and Jolivet) or by adding fractional values in themanner of Messiaen (ex.1contains simple instances of bothtechniques). From the first, these rhythmic techniques were animportant factor in the suppleness of Boulez's melodic style,

    especially in his writing for the voice. Ex.5ais a typical example of
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    the masterly way in which he welds together rational andirrational, regular and irregular elements.

    In many of his works, Boulez's approach to problems of musical

    form has been guided by a poetic text. In Le visage nuptialtherelationship between text and musical form is particularlytransparent: it is a curiosity of the final version of this work that,for all the vast orchestral resources Boulez could call upon, thereare amazingly few bars of vocal inactivity. The text very closelydetermines the form of the music, even when (as in the fourthmovement, Evadn) it is merely declaimed relentlessly inunpitched semiquavers. Le soleil des eauxshows a markedadvance on this, and its instrumental interludes and wordlessvocalise anticipate the commentary movements in Le marteausans matre. In the later vocal works, the texts become sources

    of irrigation, the centre and absence of the musical conceptionsBoulez builds around them (Posie centre et absence musique, 1963, in Boulez, 1981). They continue to suggestforms, without dominating them.

    The instrumental forms preferred by Boulez in the late 1940s areonly superficially affiliated with the neo-classical movement.Sonata forms provided the merest skeleton, a pretext forthematic presentation and development at a time when Boulez'sserial language was superbly equipped to follow those lines. His

    later forms are both more freely conceived and more sectional.Serial organization on a broad scale stimulates the invention offorms whose constituent parts are related only to one another,rather than to a pre-existing model. It also provides generalcriteria for linking structures in a number of alternative ways, thusclearing the way for the open forms Boulez used in, for example,the Third Piano Sonata and Domaines. In the Sonata the fivemovements, or formants, can be played in a number of differentorders, always grouped round the central Constellation; theorder and choice of sections within formants is similarly variable.

    In Domainesthere are 12 sections to be played through in twogroups of six, the order being chosen once by the soloist, onceby the conductor.

    To have gained a perspective in which serialism implies, andeven logically entails such freedom, is one of the triumphs ofBoulez's imagination. Yet the earlier works are far too convincingin themselves to be dismissed as preparatory exercises. Somecritics have shown concern at the vast difference in characterbetween early Boulez and post-1952 Boulez. The musical

    scientist may indeed have satisfied his thirst for a system; but, so

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    long as that system remains an open one, he is still free to go onmaking discoveries.

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    vocalorchestralorchestralunaccompanied choral

    chamber and solo instrumentalpianotapeincidental musicplans and projectsjuveniliaeditions and arrangements

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    unaccompanied choral

    chamber and solo instrumental


    311 instruments

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    12 instruments



    incidental music

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    plans and projects


    editions and arrangements

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    most of the composer's articles, essays and lectures have been publishedin volume form; only uncollected items are listed separately

    Musikdenken heute(Mainz, 1963/R; Fr. orig., Paris, 1964/R, as Penser lamusique aujourd'hui; Eng. trans., 1971, as Boulez on Music Today)

    Relevs dapprenti (Paris, 1966; Eng. trans., 1968, as Notes of anApprenticeshipand, 1991, as Stocktakings from an Apprenticeship)

    Technology and the Composer, Times Literary Supplement(6 May 1977)

    Through Schoenberg to the Future, Journal of the Arnold SchoenbergInstitute, (19767), 1215

    Points de repre(Paris, 1981; Eng. trans., 1986, as Orientations)

    Le timbre et lcriture,Le timbre: mtaphore pour la composition: Paris1985, 5419; Eng. trans. in CMR, ii (1987), 16171

    Necessit d'une orientation esthtique (II), Canadian University MusicReview, (1986), 4679 [part I in Points de repre]

    Maestro Computer: Erforschung der neuen Tongrenzen,Computermusik, ed. G. Batel, G. Kleinen and D. Salbert (Laaber,1987), 3747

    with others: IRCAM: Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/

    Musique(Paris, 1987)

    The Composer and Creativity, Journal of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute,xi (1988), 10722

    with A. Gerzso: Computers in Music, Scientific American, no.258 (1988),4450

    Jalons (pour une dcennie)(Paris, 1989)

    Le pays fertile: Paul Klee(Paris, 1989)

    The Vestal Virgin and the Fire-Stealer: Memory, Creation and

    Authenticity, EMc, xviii (1990), 3558

    with J. Cage: Correspondance et documents, ed. J.-J. Nattiez (Winterthur,1990; Eng. trans.,1993, as The Boulez-Cage Correspondence

    L'autodidacte volontaire, Acanthes an XV: composer, enseigner, jouer lamusique d'aujourd'hui, ed. C. Gilly and C. Samuel (Paris, 1991), 11322

    Zukunftsmusik: avenir de la musique, Circuit, iii/1 (1992), 722

    with others: Recherche et cration vers de nouveaux territoires (Paris,


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    with A. Schaeffner: Correspondance 19541970, ed. R. Pereira de Tugny(Paris, 1988)

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    interviewsmonographs and symposiageneral studies

    studies relating to particular works

    monographs and symposia

    A. Gola: Rencontres avec Pierre Boulez(Paris, 1958/R)M. Cadieu: Boulez(Madrid, 1977)J. Peyser: Boulez: Composer, Conductor, Enigma(London, 1977)P. Griffiths: Boulez(London, 1978)M. Stahnke: Struktur und sthetik bei Boulez: Untersuchungen zum

    Formanten Trope der Dritten Klaviersonate(Hamburg, 1979)D. Jameux: Pierre Boulez(Paris, 1984; Eng. trans., 1991)M. Andersen and M. Wenzel Andreasen, eds.: Pierre Boulez: komponist

    dirigent utopist(Copenhagen, 1985)J. Fernndez Guerra: Pierre Boulez(Madrid, 1985)J. Husler, ed.: Pierre Boulez: eine Festschrift zum 60. Geburtstag am 26.

    Mrz 1985(Vienna,1985)T. Hirsbrunner: Pierre Boulez und sein Werk(Laaber, 1985)W. Glock, ed.: Pierre Boulez: a Symposium(London, 1986)J. Husler, ed.: ber Rpons: ein Interview Variation ber das Echo

    eines Schreis: eine Analyse(Kassel, 1986)C. Samuel, ed.: Eclats/Boulez(Paris, 1986)P.F. Stacey: Boulez and the Modern Concept(Aldershot, 1987)D. Jameux and others: Rpons/Boulez(Paris, 1988)Boulez at the Barbican, London, 1989 [programme of BBC concert series]

    L. Koblyakov: Pierre Boulez: a World of Harmony(Chur, 1990)J. Husler: Pierre Boulez in Salzburg(Salzburg, 1992)J.-J. Nattiez, ed.: Boulez au Canada: portrait d'impact, Circuit, iii/1 (1992)

    [whole issue]T. Muller, ed.: Jeux de Boulez(Rotterdam, 1994)Pierre Boulez, Musik-Konzepte, nos.8990 (1995)Pierre Boulez II, Musik-Konzepte, no.96 (1997)
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    general studies

    M. Scriabine: Pierre Boulez et la musique concrte, ReM, no.215 (1952),1415

    J. Barraqu: Rythme et dveloppement, Polyphonie, nos.910 (1954),4773

    R. Craft: Boulez and Stockhausen, The Score, no.24 (1958), 5464A. Hodeir: La musique depuis Debussy(Paris, 1961; Eng. trans., 1961)S. Bradshaw and R.R. Bennett: In Search of Boulez, Music and

    Musicians, xi (19623), no.5, pp.1013; no.12, pp.1418, 50K. Boehmer: Zur Theorie der offenen Form in der neuen Musik

    (Darmstadt, 1967, 2/1988), 84ffA. Whittall: After Webern, Wagner: Reflections on the Past and Future of

    Pierre Boulez,MR, xxviii (1967), 1358A.H. Cross: The Significance of Aleatoricism in Twentieth-Century Music,

    MR, xxix (1968), 30522G.W. Hopkins: Debussy and Boulez, MT, cix (1968), 71014

    B. Canino: Boulez prima e dopo, NRMI, iii (1969), 67283J.-P. Derrien: Dossier Pierre Boulez, Musique en jeu, no.1 (1970), 103

    32J. Husler: Fruchtland der Synthese: der Komponist Pierre Boulez,

    Musica, xxiv (1970), 23941M. Fink: Pierre Boulez: a Selective Bibliography, CMc, no.13 (1972),

    13550D. Hamilton: The Prospective Encounters at the Philharmonic: Aims and

    Achievement,Musical Newsletter, ii/4 (1972), 38P. Wapnewski: Richard Wagner: die Szene und ihr Meister (Munich,

    1978)S. de Nussac and F. Regnault, eds.: Historie d'un ring: Der Ring des

    Nibelungen (L'anneau de Nibelung) de Richard Wagner Bayreuth19761980(Paris, 1980)F. Bayer: De Schnberg Cage: essai sur la notion d'espace sonore dans

    la musique contemporaine(Paris, 1981)R. Craft: Stravinsky Pre-Centenary, PNM, xix (1981), 46477J.-E. Marie: Inverse Function: Differentiation and Integration in Messiaen

    and Boulez,Sonus, ii/1 (1981), 2633; v/1 (1984), 3660Dossier Pierre Boulez, L'avant-scne opra, no.36 (1981), 16297J. Ardoin: A Ring Diary, OQ, i (1983), no.2, pp.410; no.3, pp.2532J.-J. Nattiez: Ttralogies: Wagner, Boulez, Chreau(Paris, 1983)R. Craft: Stravinsky: Selected Correspondence, ii (London and New York,

    1984)H. Dufourt: De Schnberg Boulez: logique et dialectique de la cration

    musicale, Esprit, no.99 (1985), 2136M. Foucault: Pierre Boulez: l'cran travers, Silences, no.1 (1985), 11

    15; repr. as preface to P. Boulez: Jalons (pour une dcennie)(Paris,1989), 1922

    I. Founberg: Serialisten Pierre Boulez, DMt, lix (19845), 12037, 23146, 35162

    G. Schubert: Werkidee und Kompositionstechnik zur seriellen Musik vonBoulez, Stockhausen und Ligeti,Die Musik der fnfziger Jahre, ed. C.Dahlhaus (Mainz, 1985), 4871

    C. Delige: Invention musicale et idologies(Paris, 1986)H. Dufourt: Pierre Boulez: musicien de l're industrielle, Komponisten

    des 20. Jahrhunderts in der Paul Sacher Stiftung, ed. F. Meyer, J.M.

    Jans and I. Westen (Basle, 1986), 37180J. Husler: Boulez selon Boulez: fragmentarische Bemerkungen zu den

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    theoretischen Schriften,Komponisten des 20. Jahrhunderts in derPaul Sacher Stiftung, ed. F. Meyer, J.M. Jans and I. Westen (Basle,1986), 35970

    D. Jameux: Gustav Mahler et Pierre Boulez: Paralllisme/Divergences,Gustav Mahler: Paris 1985, 7382

    J.-F. Pioud: Pierre Boulez: l'nergie cratrice, Etudes, no.364 (1986),

    497508D. Jameux: Mallarm, Debussy, Boulez, Silences, no.4 (1987), 191202F. Leclre: Premires pierres(Paris, 1987)J.-J. Nattiez: Chanter le Ring, Canadian University Music Review, viii

    (1987), 78133R. Kapp: Die Schatten des Urbilds des Doubles: vorsichtige Annherung

    an eine Figur Ren Leibowitz, Musiktheorie, ii (1987), 1531; Eng.trans. as Shades of the Double's Original: Ren Leibowitz's Disputewith Boulez, Tempo, no.165 (1988), 216

    R. Cogan: Science, Music Values and the Study of Music: Mozart, TibetanChant, Boulez II,Sonus, viii/2 (19878), 1635

    E. Costre: Dialectique des hauteurs chez Schnberg et Boulez, Revue

    internationale de musique franaise, no.27 (1988), 83100K.-K. Hbler: Errungenschaften des Serialismus: Pierre Boulez und diezahmen Wilden der Neuen Musik,MusikTexte, no.23 (1988), 35

    A. Padilla: Partir hacia lo desconocido, con pasin: el pensamientoesttico-musical de Pierre Boulez,Araucaria de Chile, no.42 (1988),13955

    A. Edwards: Unpublished Bouleziana at the Paul Sacher Foundation,Tempo, no.169 (1989), 415

    D. Gable: Boulez's Two Cultures: the Post-War European Synthesis andTradition, JAMS, xliii (1990), 42656

    S. Galaise: Pierre Boulez: les cours de Ble, Mitteilungen der PaulSacher Stiftung, iii (1990), 910

    E. Humbertclaude, ed.: (Re)lire Souvtchinski(La Bresse, 1990)H. Dufourt: Musique, pouvoir, criture(Paris, 1991)J. Aguila: Le Domaine Musical: Pierre Boulez et vingt ans de cration

    contemporaine(Paris, 1992)Sammlungen der Paul Sacher Stiftung,Mitteilungen der Paul Sacher

    Stiftung, v (1992), 112G. Born: Rationalizing Culture: IRCAM, Boulez and the Institutionalization

    of the Musical Avant-Garde(Berkeley, 1995)M. Breatnach: Boulez and Mallarm: a Study in Poetic Influence

    (Aldershot, 1996)A. Williams: New Music and the Claims of Modernity(Aldershot, 1997)S. Heinemann: Pitch-Class Set Multiplication in Theory and Practice,

    Music Theory Spectrum, xx/1 (1998), 7296

    R. Nemecek: Untersuchungen zum frhen Klavierschaffen von PierreBoulez(Kassel, 1998)

    studies relating to particular works

    G. Ligeti: Pierre Boulez: Entscheidung und Automatik in der Structure Ia,Die Reihe, iv (1958), 3863; Eng. trans. in Die Reihe, iv (1960), 3662

    H. Michaux: Gense des trois Posies pour pouvoir, Melos, xxv (1958),30810

    M. Wilkinson: Some Thoughts on Twelve-Tone Method (Boulez: StructureIa), Gravesaner Bltter, no.10 (1958), 239

    G. Ligeti: Zur III. Klaviersonate von Boulez, Die Reihe, v (1959), 3840;Eng. trans. in Die Reihe, v (1961), 58

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    K. Stockhausen: Musik und Sprache, Die Reihe, vi (1960), 3658; Eng.trans. in Die Reihe, vi (1964), 4064 [on Le marteau sans matre]

    M. Butor: Mallarm selon Boulez, Melos, xxviii (1961), 3569G.W. Hopkins: Le soleil des eaux, Tempo, no.68 (1964), 357H.U. Lehmann: FiguresDoublesPrismes,Tempo, no.68 (1964), 345R. Henderson: Le soleil des eaux, MT, cvi (1965), 6734

    M. Chanan: Boulez'sEclat/Multiples, Tempo, no.95 (197071), 3033J. Grimm: Formaspekte der 2. Klaviersonate von Boulez, SMz, cxii

    (1972), 2015I. Stoanowa: Pli selon pli: portrait de Mallarm, Musique en jeu, no.11

    (1973), 7598R. Gehrlach: Pierre Boulez und Stphane Mallarm: ein Fragment ber

    das Artfizielle, ber Musik und Sprache, ed. R. Stephan (Mainz,1974), 7092

    R. Stephan: Bemerkungen zu Pierre Boulez's Komposition von RenChars Klage der verliebten Eidechse, Zur musikalische Analyse, ed.G. Schuhmacher (Darmstadt, 1974), 44151

    I. Stoanowa: LaTroisime sonatede Boulez et le projet mallarmen du

    Livre, Musique en jeu, no.16 (1974), 928I. Stoanowa: Verbe et son centre et absence, Musique en jeu, no.16(1974), 79102

    A. Cross: Form and Expression in Boulez' Don, MR, xxxvi (1975), 21530

    A. Trenkamp: The Concept of Ala in Boulez's Constellation-Miroir,ML, lvii (1976), 110

    L. DeYoung: Pitch Order and Duration Order in Boulez Structure Ia',PNM, xvi/2 (19778), 2734

    R. Febel: Musik fr zwei Klaviere seit 1950 als Spiegel derKompositionstechnik(Herrenberg, 1978)

    U. Siegele: Zwei Kommentare zum Marteau sans matre von PierreBoulez(Tbingen, 1979)

    R.T. Piencikowski: Ren Char et Pierre Boulez: esquisse analytique duMarteau sans matre,Schweizer Beitrge zur Musikwissenschaft, iv,ed. J. Stenzl (Stuttgart, 1980), 193264

    M. Beiche: Serielles Denken in Rituel von Pierre Boulez, AMw, xxxviii(1981), 2456

    C. Delige: Deux aspects de l'univers boulezien: Structures pour deuxpianos quatre mains, Critique, no.408 (1981), 47884

    M.J. Worton: Archipel et labyrinthe: l'importance de la posie de RenChar pour la musique de Pierre Boulez, Interfrences, no.13 (1981),5569

    R. Black: Boulez's Third Piano Sonata: Surface and Sensibility, PNM, xx(1982), 18298

    M. Denhoff: Rituelvon Pierre Boulez: Anmerkungen zur Raum- und Zeit-Konzeption, Festschrift Emil Platen zum sechzigsten Geburtstag, ed.M. Gutirrez-Denhoff (Bonn, 1986), 20819

    S. Goldet: Quatuors du 20me sicle(Paris, 1986)S.D. Winick: Symmetry and Pitch-Duration Association in Boulez' Le

    marteau sans matre,PNM, xxiv (1986), 280321A. Bonnet: Ecritureand Perception: on Messagesquisse by Pierre

    Boulez, CMR, ii/1 (1987), 173209F. Jedrjzewski: La mise en oeuvre du principe dodcaphonique dans la

    1e sonate de Pierre Boulez,Analyse musicale, no.7 (1987), 6976J.-J. Nattiez: Reponset la crise de la communication musicale

    contemporaine,InHarmoniques, no.2 (1987), 193210

    C. Delige: Moment de Pierre Boulez: sur l'introduction orchestrale deRpons,InHarmoniques, no.4 (1988), 181202J. McCalla: Sea-Changes: Boulez's Improvisations sur Mallarm, JM, vi

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