22 August 2013

Pierre Boulez - Boulez: Le Marteau sans maitre: Dérive 1 & 2

This is now officially the second piece of classical music that has been reviewed on these pages - but it is not too far from the actual apple cart as some people may think who regularly come on here (apart from the Russian cyber attacks).  A little back ground is in order here - Pierre Boulez was born in Montbrison, Loire on 26 March, 1925, he has been active since the late 1940's and has a lot of work in the electronic and Serialist movement as well.  Although health issues have limited his ability to work, he still tries to conduct and make music.  The man is almost 90 and still going!  So how come I am doing this blog?  Well, the genesis of this was planted last year - one day I took out my iPod and I have neglected to place music on it, so I was using my radio.  Whilst doing that doing that I stumbled upon some music which sounded like the more out there moments of Frank Zappa.  So there I am, hypnotized by this work, thinking it was a Frank Zappa work, until the piece ended and the announcer confirmed that it was Dérive 2.  So, I made a promise to myself to hunt it out and listen to it - didn't have the blog then, but this just gives me a reason to listen to it and basically bore people about it. 

Now here is the first part of the confession, not all of this was conducted by Boulez, the first nine tracks were conducted by Hilary Summers, but it is work by Boulez.  Why this is important I do not know - I have always had a problem with conductors getting the main headling in classical pieces.  Are they the one playing the instruments?  It is not as though the orchestra would run around like frightened rabbits to be honest - I know what the point of the conductor is, but we don't give praise to drummers in rock music above everyone else - but this might just be my ignorance in the area (which I will admit that I am woefully under educated in this matter). But what of the music how is the actual performance?

Well it all depends what you think of as music, this is album is a challenging piece of work.  If you are wishing for a peaceful relaxing music to have with your port and lumps of cheddar or brie - you might want to look the other way.  I think the reason this reminded me of Zappa is that I am sure it would have had an influence on him as well - in fact they had some performances together which you can read about here.  When I listen to this, I am brought to mind Civilization Phaze III (link to the blog) in terms of the actually engagement with the listener.  You really have to concentrate on this album, it is perfection in places - but don't be fooled into thinking that this is easy.  I love this, but I am under no illusion as to where this music is in the greater scheme of things.  To love this music you have to be of a certain mind set, it is a marmite piece which can annoy as well as mesmerise.  I would challenge you all to listen to it, but some of you will not thank me.  The others will have an experience like no other.

Crazy Cat symbol - This album cannot be marked, so here is a box of kittens

You can purchase from Amazon here

There is no offical website for Boulez, but there is this Deutsche Grammophon page

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

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