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#2126151 - 07/31/13 10:56 PM Boulez - Sur Incises
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2048
Loc: Canada
Another recording post from me: because sometimes I feel like we don't talk about music enough on this forum!

Is anybody here a fan of Boulez's music? I know that if you've listened to maybe his second sonata, he might come across as listenable... but I think his music has much to offer.

This is one of my favourite pieces by him, Sur Incises (based on his 1994/2001 solo piano piece simply called Incises). This piece won him the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition in 2001. Below is the first of 4 videos of the whole piece:



I really love Boulez's treatment of sonorities in blending the three piano, and percussion instruments together. He uses a gestural form of writing which produces a lot of cool and exciting effects.

There is also a series of videos of Boulez explaining his compositional technique and demonstrating using this piece; you can view the first here.
_________________________
Working on:
Ravel - Ondine
Debussy - Suite Bergamasque
Schubert - Drei Klavierstücke D. 946
Rachmaninoff - Piano Sonata op.28

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#2126604 - 08/01/13 07:34 PM Re: Boulez - Sur Incises [Re: Kuanpiano]
D. S. F. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 128
I am a fan of Boulez's music. The orchestral explosions of Notations are most ravishing - in fact I got to meet him a few years ago and we talked about these; he is a very warm, thoughtful man. Also Repons, Pli selon pli, and Explosante fixe are among my favorites. I had bought a score to Incises in the fall of 2002 and got familiar with it. Sur Incises is another explosion...like a seed growing into a tree. It must be something to hear it live...I have live recordings, one of which appropriately had Stravinsky's Les Noces on the same program...but I think it is hard for any recording to capture the full effect of the sonorities.

Thanks for the videos, and bringing this great composer up!


Edited by D. S. F. (08/01/13 07:35 PM)
_________________________
Music does not have to be understood;
It has to be listened to.
- Hermann Scherchen.

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#2126615 - 08/01/13 07:59 PM Re: Boulez - Sur Incises [Re: Kuanpiano]
beet31425 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3620
Loc: Bay Area, CA
This experiment shows me just how important a notion of "pulse" is to me in conceptually difficult music.

I've tried listening to Boulez, the 2nd sonata and Notations. I never got anywhere with them.

But this video of "Sur Incises"-- at least these first 10 minutes-- was fantastic! When there's a pulse (as there is here after a couple minutes) I'm completely swept in.

IMO people don't talk about this enough: "Atonal" music didn't just get rid of tonality; it got rid of pulse, traditional melody, and traditional form. I sometimes think those changes are the more radical.

-Jason
_________________________
Schoenberg op.10+k, Beethoven op.100+k for k=9
Schubert D.899/4, Chopin op.25/2

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#2126630 - 08/01/13 09:05 PM Re: Boulez - Sur Incises [Re: Kuanpiano]
D. S. F. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 128
One of my favorite descriptions of the 2nd sonata comes from Richard Rodney Bennett who said, "When I was 19, I saw the first page of his second piano sonata, written in 1948. It was like seeing a photo of the dark side of the moon. I had never seen anything so mysterious or so inaccessible." That said, the 2nd Sonata certainly has much to do about pulse...at times it is nothing if not rhythmically driven. This was one of the first things which peaked out to me (thinking back to Christopher Taylor's infamous Cliburn competition performance)...but it is good to know other impressions, how it hits others at a first listen. Maybe this window that has opened up in Sur Incises will open the door for your seeing the same in the 2nd Sonata and Notations...or try the orchestrations of Notations, which are completely different pieces then the originals (yet at the root the same).
_________________________
Music does not have to be understood;
It has to be listened to.
- Hermann Scherchen.

Top
#2126633 - 08/01/13 09:22 PM Re: Boulez - Sur Incises [Re: D. S. F.]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2048
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: D. S. F.
I am a fan of Boulez's music. The orchestral explosions of Notations are most ravishing - in fact I got to meet him a few years ago and we talked about these; he is a very warm, thoughtful man. Also Repons, Pli selon pli, and Explosante fixe are among my favorites. I had bought a score to Incises in the fall of 2002 and got familiar with it. Sur Incises is another explosion...like a seed growing into a tree. It must be something to hear it live...I have live recordings, one of which appropriately had Stravinsky's Les Noces on the same program...but I think it is hard for any recording to capture the full effect of the sonorities.

Thanks for the videos, and bringing this great composer up!

No, thank you for your generous response! smile

I'm really envious that you got to meet Boulez...my friend is a huge fan (he introduced me to his music). What did you guys talk about?

I've taken a look at the Incises 2001 score, but I actually prefer Sur Incises because of the treatment of the first page's material (which is more engaging than the toccata section IMO). The same friend also performed Douze Notations (I didn't hear it though), and his hands were bleeding after the second notation's wild glissandi! Hopefully I'll be able to perform a work by Boulez some day...
_________________________
Working on:
Ravel - Ondine
Debussy - Suite Bergamasque
Schubert - Drei Klavierstücke D. 946
Rachmaninoff - Piano Sonata op.28

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#2126638 - 08/01/13 09:27 PM Re: Boulez - Sur Incises [Re: beet31425]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2048
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: beet31425
This experiment shows me just how important a notion of "pulse" is to me in conceptually difficult music.

I've tried listening to Boulez, the 2nd sonata and Notations. I never got anywhere with them.

But this video of "Sur Incises"-- at least these first 10 minutes-- was fantastic! When there's a pulse (as there is here after a couple minutes) I'm completely swept in.

IMO people don't talk about this enough: "Atonal" music didn't just get rid of tonality; it got rid of pulse, traditional melody, and traditional form. I sometimes think those changes are the more radical.

-Jason


Thanks for diving into the deep end and listening to the video! Did you listen to the other link where Boulez explains the piece itself? It shows a lot of insight into his thought process and treatment of music.

I also find the second sonata really difficult to listen to. Though I find the difficulty with serialist music is what you pointed out - large leaps leading to a breakdown in counterpoint and melody, and weird rhythms which don't lend any feel to the listener. Boulez prefers to use a lot of minor ninths and other dissonant intervals in his writing to emphasize that, though we can see how serialism (or at least dodecaphony) can still be expressive and human when you see Berg's treatment of the technique.

If you enjoyed Sur Incises, you might also like Derive I...a short piece which is very much similar in the use of instrumental colours to give a very exotic feel to the sound. The fundamental row used in Derive I is also the foundation for Sur Incises as well!

_________________________
Working on:
Ravel - Ondine
Debussy - Suite Bergamasque
Schubert - Drei Klavierstücke D. 946
Rachmaninoff - Piano Sonata op.28

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