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Conversation with Pierre Boulez. Part two. This is another in a continuing series of programs each of which offers the listener a rare opportunity to hear an eminent musician informally discussing his own career and expressing his thoughts about a variety of topics related to the art of music. The regular participants in these discussions are erand Parsons professor of music theory at Northwestern University's School of Music and program annotator for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. And George Stone program director for Zenith radio corporation's serious music station WEF am in Chicago. Mr. Parsons and Mr. Stone have is their guest on today's program the eminent conductor and composer Pierre Boulez conductor designate of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and founder of the dolmen Music Hall concerts in Paris. Now here is George Stone in our talk before. We mentioned as we first experienced in
conducting opera. Let's talk a little further about opera and your relationship with Wagner. How did this come about. Well the relationship we develop Wagner came to friend in Munich. May I just tell the fact simply that I don't want to really make my autobiography in front of the microphone but that came I was conducting in Munich for centuries called Music of EVA which was done by the composer Calum and it was hot but this time was died in 63 and he was a very good friend of Wagner and always to be done back now you know. He must conduct pacified. And then he invited me down but not because I conducted this night anti-concept and part of it as much as it was to do so and had been invited to come to see. It's just defied
for him to say that I was able to conduct a pacifier and he went and I was not prepared to conduct my own because you know that's. Really I saw you you must swim or die when you are. Nobody has beat it with us I mean and I was not prepared at all. So I waited another long time before accepting me and my first collaboration with Bagley I was finally not Wagner about it but because I felt more at home and I think I saw for for working for the first time with him. I would have chosen and I never did before and that was forbidden but now the first time he staged in front foot one thousand six hundred sixty six. And as a matter of fact it was the last production. As you know he fell very severely and 66. October 6.
So with him I worked really only because when I came to bat so I did the work with his assistant. I discussed with him he was in the hospital we have I think a very interesting exchange of letters on the style of the style of production which you are impossible to publish now because too much names in front of them but I am sure others will be very interesting after to see and also for myself to see the first apology I had with the part of the Seattle also the problems of the music by Bono because even SEC you know you have each act practically is half an hour a little more than half an hour. Thats not very much but if you are confronted for the first time to length like the first act of ossified which is almost two hours or one hour and 45 minutes ultimately then or so you you have quite another sense for the music and there is also the place itself with Pete which is unusual and the
big distance between you and the singers. I must say I was a little afraid before I came in first because I have heard so many things so that's even good connectors where little are so easy yet but I must say myself I so after when I was less after the first half of the house itself that was no more problematic for me to believe in this theater and other country you know in the normal theater in the Italian theater and I see you have all the orchestra in one strip practically very long strip and then you are playing the tennis jack shit. You are always looking from an instrument to the extreme and thence went to the left so I could judge and that's me. He and pleasant because you have absolutely no quietness and the country in the biote you have the orchestra absolutely front of
you like on the stage. But instead of going up that's going down down the action and you have exactly as fond of you the stage and the orchestra and you have not no more to do to make all these business of moving the head and keeping everybody together and I am amazed that you know this Seattle this house was conceived in eighteen seventy I guess my section was began in 1872 and yet I was finished in 1876. So the conception is approximately one sensually. And you don't find anything in the world who took the opportunity to revise the all conception of the houses. After about this unique example of my opinion of the best disposition you have for theater I don't know your reaction when you go to a powerhouse but not much to do in Wagner operas. So if I perform
and the performance was very good wasn't it. But you know I was very disturbed because when the harvest hops were finished dances that held up the light and they went out of the pit and all these movements even if that was discreetly made that's the stabs you and I found the solution of. Now you can only be in the theater. Well the theater you can't really be involved in it. Only if you have not all these disturbances and I mean from just the point of view if you have all these lights understands and you know you see all the movements of the musicians Happy's instrument and I was like oh that's impossible to do all the lies of the two I can't myself at any rate I can at least support this life of the orchestra in the pit and what is going on under stage. So I find the solution a positive one. Of course that's kind of the same point and far more subtle
about so to my opinion if you want to give a sign of just the part about the opera house not speaking of music but. Father had that eyepieces you must have construction which is moveable which is one of the best way to change the construction of the pit. I mean the people can be raised for instance and with steps so you can have the vacuum type which fits also for instance for all the stars of the sound mix better in a normal theater Italian type of theatre and of course for much that you could just have the musicians visible because that's where the convention of the time and there are so that's nothing to do I guess because that's when the problems are those of the society involved in these plots. So they actually know this. Between musician musicians playing and
the stage as a matter of fact I don't have any you have a kind of ambiguity between the musician on the stage and the musician in the pit. So therefore I think now they are powerhouses must take up honesty of being a bit and have new principles for the class action of the relationship between the orchestra that's the instrumental aspect of the theatre and the purely domestic aspect of theatre. But in all the Opera House which we have built I have not seen that sentiment I suppose exactly the same as some pictures I've seen all the opera houses which were built in Germany for instance and they were completely destroyed so they have to really get to the top. They were just took always the old schemes and never touched it. So you have exactly you know the backup power. But fat and fat and fat because for the back up I had only 30 musicians at the most. And now
you have these big about 15 or 20 musicians from the start in about rock which is absurdity itself. If any circumstance. This year I was in and I was attending my starting a performance of the first performance and I was sitting along a man who recognized me and I was a Christian and he told me we cannot do anything new because generally either the cup and my stuff are the Intendant are just telling us or we don't want that's no that's not freedom they have a thing like that. So even the opposition would would like to make something new so that all the people who were involved in musical life like the internets and in my stand against them when they tried to do something more satisfying than the usual Italian solution and I found that's typical of the world. I must say because their power is something I sew so Steve. So yes exactly. That's very difficult to change. And you must have a
tremendous not only passing time and thanks to really crack down on all this conservatism and I think I saw myself I would not like to spend my life because of that. Tough job. To what extent do you have to rigorously boundaries of tradition. Your approach to part of it. Well you know I find quite a misunderstanding and the misunderstanding came already in the late days of. He was confusing health and theatre and everybody not only accentuated that but really glorified misunderstanding because all the philosophy of Punjab and it's not really just miss West tied with that and the firsts to violently five that was Nietzsche as you know but it was agreed with the music that it was this magnificent
piece of nature opening of pacifier. He had the need in 1882 I guess of the 1881 before the open even was complete I guess. And each has had the music and I love the music. But he told the spirit of the performance and all these confusion between the religion and self glorification the unbearable for him and I think we had the same idea. Now that's this. Past performance must not be a boring one you know because of this one you just suspect everybody was so completely devoted to this well that's life just disappeared for me and I mean the second act is a very lively one and the very one I would say for the Legion is that it's classic. But I try to make this three acts very different because in the first act the region is very healthy you know and not
these type of bombastic pedantic are legion. That's a very healthy intelligent because people are still very alive and to my opinion you know I tried to avoid especially in the chorus of the first part. These transition of fear I mean you know those are the people who after Saturday evening on Sunday afternoon and was sing us all with loud voices as this shout like that and I think that they are pompous and glorious. And that's not at all the case. I tired myself or so I gave an indication that I would like to to have the Cross for instance in pacifier like the cars of the priest in that sense and to my opinion you have a very strong influence from this point of view a strong influence on Magic Flute and passive aspect of what it was. My opinion and also I tried to do the governments governments take it as a win he tells all the star you know at the beginning
it was deadly boring because also to be pompous unknowable the ability of the person you have not to be boring and to be slow. You know mainly in this type of tradition they are confusing nobility and pace that's a slow pace. I mean that's nothing to do something can be very noble and very quickly at the same time that the most greatest discrepancy in the timing. That was in the first act. Because you had all the governments. For me it was like a big hassle to TiVo. So with a very free tempo some time when he just tells something rather quick and I'm slowing down just on the important parts of this piece I see that he was present when he when he tells about for the first time about the spear. So you stop the words like that and then the type of front you must mark the principal words which will be after in the action. That's was my main concern for that. And the second act of course I think that's very highly traumatic and not at all of these type of mystic.
He just bought them and in the third act only then in this type of despair especially this emptiness at the beginning I was held back. Then I saw that's much more effective because you have not touched in this area before the beginning of the set and of course the cough attack and the end. That's quite another matter. But I mean I was very concerned myself especially to do a new approach of the first act and the second act and the third act. Well it's more because the contents are more traditional. But I was very surprised because I can I can you two stories and that was confirmed by by whom told me exactly the same. You know Starr's conduct in 1933 I guess for Tuscany in place of Tuscany because of the political situation you collected passing filed for the first I mean by the time
he was not in a good relationship with people of this time. I don't know why exactly you know this type of passing of resentment and things like that. And it was so always starts in a big big old master. Dr. Carson there were things like that. And he came to buy it for the first time and he collected and in the past it was shopped at tacked for his fast tempi. And these misunderstanding of the great buy a television and he was very offended of course and he had a press conference and you say there's a gentleman I suppose I was very shocked that I could for my Tempe and I suppose you're wearing the pacifier maybe nine hundred eighty two. And everybody laughed of course and they think it was making good jokes but I was because my father was a horn player and I was in these performances and I can tell you that this tradition of slow tempi really not he'll pass a file because I can assure you that the country temple went
much faster and I have another anecdote that's something that told me that his father told him that he all told that always to leave you with a kind of play the first performance. PLEASE DOn't TAG quicker quicker livelier and ever think that that's all the time you set forth during his life. He fought against this tendency to slow down the temple. And as I was myself also noted for my temple because you know I hope that's Helio fokus. For archetypes and you have all the timings all the timings. Ninety eight hundred seventy six two now. Yes all the time and act after act each performance so I just ask for curiosity. I talk to her. Please give me the timing because I would like to write an article and I will write it next year. An article
that Time Inc on the conception of Time Inc. With massive and I found myself that I was much ne of the original timing of 1882. All these tiny people I'm the only one so close like me that was. He asked us. And for instance I said to give you some you know just material for that one hour and 40 minutes something like that for the first act the first reference was one and forty five after that as much was almost two hours and Toscanini the longest was two hours and 10 minutes. Yes this is right. That's surprising also that's I mean that's you know you have the facts and for the second act I think I saw the first performance was 60 minutes and my performance was 59. So my Russian very very you know I saw on one the one time one minute is not much different. So that's the
pose that's really this transition of slowing down the temple where after they're in this view let me share the time with was very bombastic and nuts. You know what you have cooperation to do with the singers in depth into your ideas of the temple. Well I mean I saw first that told me Now we have no fear no fear anymore. To people that's less if you give us some time with the slow tempo I could not sustain it on any more and there were no there was no fight. I don't know I just finished the discussions very quickly because once I was told that and mistakes that I'm so awesome. And I said well there is a game a society game which is very funny I find you sitting around the table and I want to be in the game as a sais so. Phrase into the ear of the next one and you say only you have my
in my pocket to face another one give the phrase around and finally what's come out when the last say the face of the chocolate on the hoof and I mean for me that's a tradition. So I have never laughed and I did not speak any more about what was what was done before and as a matter of fact how can you control what was done in 1900. That's impossible you have no documents. You have only these timings and the time is out reliable and I mean so if I see the first performances 145 and one of the performances two hours that I can trust much more the first performance of this performance that has not only Let's see musical a psychological loss. But that's also a matter of acoustic difficulty because as I told you on the stage especially in the US if a car sees is very far also on the third floor and very far away on the stage so if you are not ahead if you have not the impression that you had.
I'm late all the time and everybody's waiting for the other one because because he's waiting for the downbeat before doing it and giving the conductor is waiting for what comes from the stage. So everybody's waiting on the after case and generally I must say that the conduct of the youth itself or so they were in the country on the other all sides so their difficulties with it. Now that's very simple. This problem because you have all the television sets which are everywhere so you are absolutely not if you have transmission but can you imagine with small lamps and everything like that and relays of conductors to self-reference and for the first act. You could not avoid very great discrepancy in the time and what you don't tell me about the performance he saw himself when he was young so when it was 15 16 or so with a good memory for some ghastly simply because people
were out of tune because there was no microphones from the orchestra because I was just hear like a mouth of smoke and plants and they could not hear the pitch they were not safe with him. So sometimes he told me that there were such discrepancies between the orchestra and the cars from pitch and from point of view and that's not astonishing. Or you could have undone Parsifal are you contemplating the Wagner Ring Tristan Yes I have done just on the one you have done to son also unfortunately because he died in between but I did talk with some in Japan for the festival of our second sentence and something with me don't bug me I would have done more as I am not very tempted now by the system was the only system used in this study paints it to my opinion and the only ones yet
does it. Good that's because the other such an open soup of bad habits from the start surely and therefore so they have a good look at how that felt he was the opposite of a highly and very good orchestra and you know this principle. You're a top ten first finished and I think that's the only way to do now. Deafness. The problem is also the problem of the producer. I mean I am not really a professional conduct from this point. My life is not depending upon what I am conducting and I must do that I must know I must do and I say nothing. Nothing to do. Like must and therefore I was attracted by the love now because I to my opinion that's the best I've seen. You know when one thinks of what background they came in this very conservative fortress in this awful time.
And then suddenly everything and you portray in you something completely new on the stage and very powerful. And I mean not only an action I did with him was magnificent for us very sharp and sometimes you know maybe expert in the same time a parody of expressionism and in the same time was a sharp criticism of all this sentimentality which is the expression is it was really a marvelous man and a shop on the stage and the visual ideas were excellent and especially me especially when the last time you did. That's the texture obvious because of his setting you know most of the people paint the setting and the change colors. I saw the lights are different and we have different colors on the wall for instance but he's great discovery. The change of matching you know at the same time
you know like you know in the beginning of it I don't want to have some aspect somewhat which look I'm totally without any speeches you know just lay flat flat and suddenly there is some light things and suddenly you see the texture is completely changing. A very rough texture and after you see something I saw projections on it and then you have a quite different texture. So he has not only a genius for setting but also for the internal structure of this material on the stage which was accordance to what was performed and he had very elegant solutions. For instance at the end of the very beautiful solution container solution for after these big fire the weather when you come if you come in as you had this kind of fight was just us or sleeps like that. Very practical I mean. And progressively this flame became its changing color
and became something green and this a very subtle change. And just explain all the situation and with a very simple symbolic but very efficient and that spirit you all these tweaks you know which are realistic and in the same time some of them are mystic so I felt the symbolism of that and he had a very good sense for a symbol in the settings. And I must say for instance the last production at Westminster and at least some of these first class but action was and thought that would be very difficult to go on. New ideas I mean without him that's a big problem because not many people have this sense of space of greatness on the stage as you and you're listening to a conversation with Pierre Boulez part two with there and parsons and George Stone. We pards 10 seconds for station identification.
Now resuming the conversation with Pierre Boulez here is George Stone a few moments ago we were speaking of the disposition of the orchestral forces there and by writing and what you describe as the typical Italian pit. And this brings up the whole question of orchestral seating. I know that you know at least one of your works you have done some experimenting with this business of seeding recently. We hear I had the opportunity to discuss with a man who has gone back to the original concept of orchestral seating for much of the music he performs today that is with the first violins the celli that has the Oilers and yes seconds. Yeah right. Yes. Because it is his contention that the composers themselves were thinking of this seating arrangement when the music was conceived. How do you feel about this. Well you know the sitting of the orchestra is important to underline the sametime not important.
You know classical music I mean because in the classical music you had to think about hope. And large and I mean in this time you know the mics the instrument. What is what is becoming too bad in the big symphonies of the late 19th century when this concept of a small orchestra was enlarged without changing anything. So you had what I call a sad case of captains you have the first cotton was the strings the second cutting the wood when you cannot hear anything because you have a mass of strings like 60 string sometime in the big fat late 19th century you know the woodwinds by two in this thing are basically at the maximum and then you have the brass button and told that that was practically not existing. There are only the timpani then also. The problem was really a problem when the orchestra became larger. I don't think
that this setting the first and second violins. He's a very convenient one all the time. First of course there is advantages in the sense that you have the sanity of the first and the second. He's completely different because one is the audience and that's completely turned out but I mean fine since in the classical You have sometimes more than sometimes parallel actions from the first and the second violins very palette accents and that's not funny all the time. So the use of the first and second values is not anti Finnick principle you have many palate actions just going. Therefore I don't find that's highly reliable if you just split these two sounds of violence you have the difficulty of placing the bases because don't forget that in the old placing setting the bases where the first
fighting side because you know in the score you had the first bite and the basses Jackley tired because the man was to continue reading at the same time the first line in the last line he had to do that very quickly. And then as an accusation of misunderstandings with the placement of the orchestra and I don't see much difference in the cello on my front of me as I don't see a great deal of difference. What is for me much more important. But would we not see behind a curtain of strings. Because sometimes in some holes you find all the strings concentrated for instance just front of you and then you hear the wind and you cannot hear them particularly even if you're on the podium. Because if you have a simple 40 of the strings then a so they don't come out they must always blow like they do to make them. You have never piano you have always a type of Forte fortissimo which is a nonsense and a forced sound exactly a fast and pleasant sound. Another Country For me the
idea of motion is like a butterfly. You must have a very thin in front of you a very thin amount of strings and then due to wings you know which just make the wood when in the middle of the strings so the sounds come up on the opportunity of the sound is much better and you have. Brass of course at the extremity of the swings. So that's the sounds. Also met with the state. What I don't like that's individual individual strains of wood and everything like that. The sound especially in the classical music where imitation was not so big as Nowadays you're must first of all the homogeneity of assimilated. That's my opinion. Then I start to come to more modern things. Then you have big problems with the normal setting because you know that's for instance the Vienna School you have this clown this joining of instruments which are far
from another bunch and see if you have let's say an example you have five notes played by a violin. Then one by the first horn then five by the star and then by the time it so this instrument utterly approximately five to 10 meters isolated from them to another I've called the collector must give the continuity but there is a type of absurdity to use this setting of the orchestra. If you have to fight such problems which are not problems which are fake problems which are bollards only because you are relying on a traditional setting with music if you want music then you have to make your own setting nontraditional setting and to have it in mind when you compose Penzance. In the 16th century I don't. See anything new but in the 16th century for instance when there were music performed in San Marco everybody can see it. He's on
set because the church where there are imposed setting of the musicians they are used in exactly the same with the Requiem which was conceived especially in Paris with all the placement of a musician and I think that now if you want to compose with a sound which is involved in the structure of the music I mean you must have that as a part of the composition and you must have always when you are composing this disposition the setting front of you. Because that's like part of the structure itself and the sound. And this section is not the next here aspect but the proper aspect of the composition itself. Only the priest problem. I must say because sometimes I have seen it once I connected when I was born for the first time I was asked by suggesting to conduct the
last concert and I sing it only first performances and the amount of music was not so big Lets see 80 minutes 90 minutes maybe. But with all this change in the settings the concert was eight hours long. Problem thats a great problem. And I mean I saw either you or I to work according to the timing of a concert Lets say for half a concert what I am doing now pointedly not so writing for this type of setting I mean which is difficult. I am writing always works which are long enough to do full half a programme because if you have if you have to look at people just going around like mad you know and I think you have 10 minutes of music. Thats because the proportion is completely best five minutes of interruption and 25 minutes of everybodys. But you cannot have a
vast proportion of music and manipulation in this and maybe that would be a solution I don't know if we mixed concerts halls and a pass to have really taking stage which bring different settings simply like in the Seattle you have 14 states. One can prepare the next item when the PCs played That's very possible. I know for instance on the stage of fun for the opera and that would be very possible to do something like that and especially if you are mixing in your problems. Bigger combination and smaller smaller companies this morning. That's very easy to bring a small group on the status of just by noting the stage and nobody would find us. I mean they do that in Japan for instance with the orchestra but in the tradition of the puppets. For instance the speaker was. Giving all the voices. He's on the right with Samson playing
guitar playing and that's so tiring to say these texts. That's after 10 minutes after 15 minutes late by another one and they are on the small platform like that which once you have just one minute and they're out in the avenue and you speak following up I find the best solution because that's past you know people to stand up and to live to make a fuss about it not just what a thing and I found as I would like not like you know night club. So when they asked me to play. They are going to find your number. But I mean this problem can be solved very simply sometimes by such devices. And that's will not be a take but simplify the life. I must say as I wonder if we might speak about your composition for a moment. I know that you have been accused of putting in your mathematical thinking before your musical thinking. Somewhere in your writing
you must make a choice between the serialization itself and the demands that the series would make in your own shall we call it inspiration your own musical expression. Yes. How do you handle this thing. All my works I'm not on the same level of experience experimentation. If you want to take that which is the most mathematical way to also use this well that's my first book of structures but that was a definite experiment and voluntary an experiment in this field because that's why the first time approached. He structures. Yes that's what I want to get on the first book and I use the two pianos. Like the more abstract medium to convey this idea. For me that's was really like the tasing experience in this and that I did want to consider that's all what was done before was nothing for me and I want to
begin a new basis and to try this new basis and to try the new basis of a language I would like to do so before me and therefore I relied not on my invention not on my past the intention in writing but just kind of Mechanix process automatic process when I just get the results and write them a certain way but my experience was to really go and to the point where there is absolutely no more personality. But the president is no more involved in finding things but finding just the matter you know and that he acts by itself. Not a toll on my own personality but just to me like facts and that was a very important experience in trying to find again a new vocabulary. This first time allows us a mechanical process and you know first I put a title on it and after
we wrote. Especially on the first piece which is the most more mechanical of me I put a title after I saw a painting of it which was this type of research also a painting of which was done only with different strips you know with different colors and just that's a very simple thing. Almost also a variation on states but also very mechanical That's the title of monument other bottles of the fattest country. And what was my intention that was exactly described by this phrase. I knew that actually that I was on the fence of the country and of the mechanisation which doesn't bring anything but that brought me quite a new conception of the language and that brought me more. The evidence of the net's a city. Of tension in composing because in my first works I was influenced a great deal
especially by Schoenberg and by famine. And when I wish to go further then I have to get it. Also of this inference I take myself in a completely naked matter and not only something tiny and already with clothes as I once just to take the. Fact by itself and as I told you I think the piano's because there was no problem that was upside down for me. And you can see the contrast with the second book which was a little later and the techniques for itself are much more complex. In the second book in the first book but much less visible because they were so the technique is absorbed completely and is part of my language which is necessary I mean the techniques for itself for themselves are lossing techniques. And that's like a tool and you must really learn to handle this tool very properly to express your own ideas. Because that's the problem if you have no two you can have the most magnificent IDs. Nothing comes out. But if you have just a tool and if you just work like a hard worker you know
that's not composition. Also So you have to avoid these two dangers of being let's say eight being too academic are mechanical in your processes and I think I solve the problem for myself just this very skeptic of experiencing with just a few factual things in sound. Where does your leave cord. I believe it's a reworking of an earlier quartet. Where does it fit into the scheme of thinking. Well I don't like to let behind me as it works. He and satisfying and it was sometimes unsatisfying for two reasons for practicalities and for also purely musical reasons for particular reasons. First I think that you cannot make the music so if you can. That's if you bleat you have to think only of the difficulties of it and you
put some expression in it. This was a characteristic of the quarter. Yes because the difficulty is very big and everybody was concerned only to follow the other one and the first one was too many cues and you cannot conduct the sting quite that so that's ridiculous. So therefore I was not satisfied by this aspect of the question which was really bothering me all the time. Second I think that's the mapping in the life of the class that is definitely out. You know the thing about expression is it typically begins with Haydn and Mozart and ends to the beginning of the other 20. Cent. Even though some of the pieces that are so viable period like the leader for instance also don't know about you and I feel I felt strongly after a while I cannot let that I saw in this form
because of this. For most of us think that it was definitely not out of fashion but out of the music. If you think of music and learn you think about it because one of the strictest form of expression I had this in me when I go to night and now when I see that I want to also a major which is in the same quarter and which is easier to handle also from the point of view because if you are contacting nobody as no more a problem of connection and also I think. I was very influenced in the last US by vision that did himself on these pieces of his five you know the five pieces of art. So for us think about it we stink. August 19 20 25
30 I don't remember exactly but something something like 20 years or 25 years later and I think I saw that Everson is at least as good for me better even the string quartet are better because the structures of the music is much easier to grasp because you can make more difference in the approach. More difference in conveying your ideas because you have the possibility of having a big hope inside the orchestra so you have much bigger possibilities. And therefore I was myself thinking I saw each time when I was conducting this piece that I must do it also. In the office five I must say that's not a composite thought music was just a sort orchestrated event when that's when I saw my play at my own pace. I wasn't satisfied with some aspects of the composition so I posed it really quite a lot because some ideas which were fitting fathers think quite that well more fitting for the sake of my style and I had to
adapt the composition to this new medium and I think I saw it in my opinion. Now I want to about completely this better because I find the definitive even if 20 years later the string quartet was composed in 1940 1949 Yes and it was not performed until 1955. Yes yes there's something I'd like to ask you about because it seems to me that as a conductor you are unique position in that you are not. You're not bound to adapt the repertoire. You know who's demanded to know where every cent we can assume that whenever you play you play because you want to. Yes. What does this repertoire encompass your active repertoire. Mostly 20th century music mostly because I think I saw maybe I have also more comprehensive for that. Because I am myself a couple of times a century and so I have
maybe more compassion for that that's just a normal conductor. So no I don't say not that I'm a collector was not so you know volved in the development of 20th century music that I mean. And I think that's very necessary because what if I don't do it then why you can't I am conducting If that's for my famous That's not very important I mean that's just for having people also not very important because when you have that's when you know you know this well you are flattered enough for you or your life or someone to be at least I am not not so sharp on that and I consider much more my conducting like a mission to make more and more people acquaintance with 20th century music and I am very happy to see that some of you actually are very good. Well of course there is a part of the audience who will not try even will not accept a chance to listen to your music but if you lose 20 you gain sometimes 50 so the balance is positive. I follow so that's very Wilding sometimes
to promote something and not to just bully things and I must say I am much less good at 20th century music because I am more and sometimes I'm interested of course in my better music but I mean I am much more interested to promote something which I believe very strongly than just to polish the thing which I believe very important but I think that's other people can do. As good or even better other than myself and I am much more interested I sort of promote something which is why I have been at the center of the problem. Because if you are just so nursing the normal with a great deal of care about just going on the same pieces you are not about sipping to repeating through life just painting again. Graves. So I mean that's what you're doing finally and what I like to do if I do pieces for two reasons. For lack of time also. But also for showing the links between accepted music another
acceptance to make comparisons and purpose. For instance if one does marginally one does mother or one does mellow and before something by show battle something by Mozart. So to make the peak condition. But what I when I do the same time because I want to show the links between them. When I do for instance chamber music I do a piece of music piece by Mozart because I find that's very important to see the links between the two conceptions of chamber music and if I do for instance. I mean ski I can do also some because some part of the music in some works by the time is very similar to my opinion to the certain. So if I am doing something or if I am playing new music as a first performances for instance I am doing that we've already classics acceptance of the 20th century. I can give your friends an example of
programs we did in London we had for instance we had to do the first performance in London. So the problem was the following. We did a concert in three parts to intelligence more interested. Yes we did the first party but devoted to beg because there is a great deal of back of the ship sometimes in the Stockhausen aspect so we need to buy back the vortex. Except for the concept that well the first part. Then we did in the middle the Copen because they were the setting the setting was probably setting us up for the stars and then at the end after the second division we have Spain and I was very happy that we did that in the house that's what we had more than 6000 people doing this concert which was so I mean this year we put also a concert with and we mixing of different size because especially if you are
doing a modern concert where everybody has to be concentrated you must very this just the artistic aspect of the concept. So for instance we did a piece beginning piece that was the Khan Academy. Then I did my own Moto summit for small time a combination in the center of the hall. Then he played a piano piece by Stockhausen and at the end we played the back pieces of persistent pieces and then he a wilding because you know that was a great deal of difference between the various items on the programmes and also in the same time you have a piano solo a small chamber communication and two big orchestra pieces and in the same year we did. Also a program contesting that is on the same evening. We need friends and we began with a big piece of the orchestra in France and by then we did the nation just back in the beginning to
begin to mission then we did that for the last work by stopping them come to us and we did this very unknown piece which is in the same time of art of playing the king of stars and I just think at the end and then concepts make a sense because that was for the first time I guess thats a big audience had a relationship between that as I'm Steve Inskeep. So sharp in the concept you know they can hear the beginning and I just think at the end. So not too close and in the same time in the same concept and in the middle you have peace and qualities which were really very contested things I think I so I am very proud of our programs in London I must say because I work that out. Not only by myself because I let you know of confidence for that I must and your must have advice of other people and music of ABC with luck was in charge of the department of music I would say he's very good at making such problems because he has very original ideas. Well
we make a very exciting pop ups and as I told your fans as we did in one case back on shadow and about a face on the same program and when we repeated it in the summer we did the Mozart concerto and the madness of it and I think I thought which is exciting to come in such a way. Mr. Bland I think you will have an answer that will be most interesting. One particular subject we've heard varying degrees of opinion about where music is going. We've heard those persons that nothing will ever supplant the orchestra as it is constituted and the literature which was written for it. We've heard others say that electronic music is very likely to be the music of the future and we've heard some suggest that these elements can be blended in some way. What do you feel. Well I think I saw the last solution is to my opinion that's the only one which can bring satisfying.
I mean you cannot kill someone they will be certainly always amounts of life performance. Not only the court performance so iconic performances because the contacts these these unforeseen The performance is something I saw which is always required. I mean you cannot hear only record because the record you have always the same. So I mean that's like a picture. You cannot change anything. And therefore I think that's the future it's still in active life performance. But a lot of not important I would not say that because I mean important but a lot of change and a lot of other aspects which are now minor can be major. I mean first you know you have to develop it's have the traditional instruments in cement and of course the life is very heavy burden on it
because for instance you see in the lights music field you instruments are just like like mushrooms you know all these type of electric guitars and all the development on that because there is a market for that and there is no market for the research in the classical field because everybody is satisfied with the instruments they are using. And then I think I saw. The two things must must must be absolutely done first. Trying to change or to find a new instruments or new characters in some instruments which are already adopted and second to investigate more and more in the electronic field as a pure electric field because there is certainly a great deal to find in this field. If you are aware that's there he's basically a very big aesthetic problem. You cannot rely on a machine. And you must use the machine because the computer goes give us. Very fast results. Otherwise you have to wait one year before
getting a thousand or so a computer can do that very easily very quickly. But you must never forget which was sometimes forgotten. That's an aesthetic judgement. He's the basis in using that and I am not I am very against the separation of human in human or artificial or natural in some and everything in our musical life is unnatural in human you know even to do to play a violin is the most human thing because the more most abnormal position to play and as an instrument a violin also is not to seek out books. I mean you can also produce the string on a cigar box you can also produce some sound but I mean the violin is started to give some sounds of definite kind and exactly in the. Type of electronic development I think I saw now we have to go from the cigar box to the violin that's to not only use some devices and devices which are made generally fucking tolling for tuning everything like that's
checking the instruments and you must use that for definitely aesthetic purpose and I think that's the next step. And also to be normal and he preys on the persona of how hostile and system but find us or any type of system which can be done that can be done. I think only with electronic devices. I mean also there's you know we are you know well the activity we are not so tied with everything the composition is he said of us so going to space you know you have no more fixed forms and everything that so I think we have also have no more fixed frames in any range in the office the halls in the office I've got the instruments and the electronics in and for me that's the right solution for the future and you must have always a hope that some thing will be realized and so we think. I think not to reasonable amount of time. Thank you very much. You've been very gracious to give us all as to how this was my pleasure thank you
A conversation with...
Pierre Boulez, part two
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Chicago: “A conversation with...; Pierre Boulez, part two,” 1969-02-22, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed January 24, 2022,
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APA: A conversation with...; Pierre Boulez, part two. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from