Pierre Boulez - a few thoughts
Never having met Pierre Boulez I have no memories to share and no first hand anecdotes to tell; I can’t even relate stories told to me by others. But I’d like to do one thing in addition to expressing my deepest respect for him and condolences to his family and friends:
For greater insight into Boulez have a look at his DVD, Pierre Boulez in Rehearsal. He rehearses the Vienna Philharmonic as they make their way through Berg’s Three Pieces for Orchestra, Opus 6 and his own Notations I - IV. It’s an inside view into his relationship with the orchestra and a testament to how meticulous he was.
Look at his conducting. No baton. Crystal clear beat. Check out his ear. If you can pick out a mistake in the Berg piece you can find one under every other circumstance.
Read a bit of his correspondence with John Cage and Morton Feldman, two composers whose styles and aesthetics were dramatically opposed to his but with whom he had, at the very least, a cordial relationship based upon, once again at the very least, their all having a lively, searching and deep intellect and a creative approach to life.
Finally, read some of the many things which he said and which were said about him. He was controversial, something that can be said about most brilliant people. But he was also supremely gifted, extremely innovative and greatly respected as well. Something we all can only hope for.
See the piece below.