I found out about Boulez after a 12 hour day at work, which led to going to the gym afterwards, and then, an ill-advised decision to get some local takeaway. At that local takeaway the news happened to be on, and I found out that the great tower of classical music (or art music or modern classical or whatever its called now), had died.
Boulez was quite a notable composer. Dancing between the modernism of the serialists and the aleatronic avant-gardists. Boulez was a conductor as well as composer, which seems to be increasingly rare. Boulez was a classical composer in an increasingly changing world. Boulez represented for me that ever so receding (like a mature man’s hairline) link to the old classical (17th/18th century) past of the great composers.
I think the circumstances in which I found out about Boulez says a lot about the time we live in. But I am convinced that Boulez’s life is one of those accounts that will be remembered for centuries.
I thought I’d link to a few articles about Boulez while I have your attention.
- Mark Brown from The Guardian has an obit here [its basically the law for me to refer to anything from the Guardian now]
- Tim Page from the Washington post refers to a wonderful anecdote from Darius Milhaud (of les six)
- Justin Davidson from Vulture notes how Boulez navigated through the conservatively musical trends of his time.
- Andrew Clark from the FT hints at how Boulez may serve as a visionary for the future in a tradition of music obsessed with the past.
- Paul Griffiths of the New Yorker highlights how Boulez seemed to be part of the very fabric of art music in the mid-century, name-checking the greats of Messiaen and Bernstein as if it were some superhero team up movie or Forrest Gump of music.
- The BBC’s Front Row remember Boulez’s life with George Benjamin and Nicholas Kenyon.