MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

A Day for Pierre Boulez

Pierre Boulez (photo: Georg Anderhub/LUCERNE FESTIVAL)

Pierre Boulez (photo: Georg Anderhub/LUCERNE FESTIVAL)

This past Sunday, Lucerne Festival’s Summer 2015 edition presented an entire “Day for Pierre Boulez” to mark the 90th birthday of one of music’s great revolutionaries (the actual birthday fell on on March 26). Sadly, Boulez was unable to be present in person due to health reasons, but the day argued for his profound enduring influence.

Studded across all of the programmes were eight world premieres from a collection of composers of different vintages and Boulezian inspirations…It was the works written expressly in homage to Boulez that were most revealing of the legacy and challenge he leaves his fellow composers…[T]wo new pieces by György Kurtág and Wolfgang Rihm, both performed with unwavering conviction by the young players of the Academy Orchestra, [were] the most subtle, striking, and moving tributes to Boulez’s life and music…
As the whole Day for Pierre showed, it’s not just the inspiraton of his work as composer, conductor, writer, and teacher: Boulez, it turns out, is an attitude of mind, a way of being in the creative world.

–Tom Service in The Guardian

Every concert was exquisitely curated, and established Boulez in the context of the tradition he founded…
But it was the evening’s programme in Lucerne’s world-renowned concert hall that spoke most loudly of Boulez’s legacy. New works by living masters Wolfgang Rihm and György Kurtág were performed alongside that of young composers by the Lucerne Academy Orchestra…
For the second half, the Academy orchestra donned Boulez T-shirts for the Notations, which, in one form or another, have occupied the composer all his life. The fully orchestrated versions, composed towards the end of the century, were laid bare by the presentation of the original piano pieces of 1945, written when he was just 20. It was a revelation.

–Jonathan McAloon, Telegraph

Here’s a summary of the items that were on the program for this marathon celebration:

13.30, 18.00, and 19.00 | KKL Luzern, Roof Terrace
Chiaki Tsunaba | Justin Frieh
Boulez Dialogue de l’ombre double for Clarinet and Tape

14.00 | Tribute to Boulez 1 | KKL Luzern, Lucerne Hall
Ensemble intercontemporain | students of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY | Matthias Pintscher
Boulez Rituel in memoriam Bruno Maderna | world premieres by Pintscher and Mason

15.15 and 16.00 | Tribute to Boulez 2 & 3 | Kunstmuseum Lucerne
ensembles of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY | Julien Leroy | Yi Wei Angus Lee | Raphaël Ginzburg | Jaclyn Dorr
Boulez Messagesquisse (two versions) |
Mémoriale (… explosante-fixe … Originel)

15.15 | Tribute to Boulez 4 | KKL Luzern, Terrace Hall
string quartets of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY
Berg Lyric Suite

16.00 | Tribute to Boulez 5 | KKL Luzern, Terrace Hall
string quartets of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY
Boulez Livre pour Quatuor

17.00 | Tribute to Boulez 6 | KKL Luzern, Lucerne Hall
Ensemble intercontemporain | students of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY | Matthias Pintscher | Sarah Maria Sun
Boulez sur Incises | world premieres by Holliger and Machover

18.30 | Introduction to Symphony Concert 10 | KKL Luzern,
Concert Hall
A project in response to Boulez’s Notations with Richard McNicol, and Aleksandar Aces | in cooperation with Klavier-Festival Ruhr

19.30 | Symphony Concert 10 – Tribute to Boulez 7 | KKL Luzern, Concert Hall
LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY Orchestra | Mariano Chiacchiarini | Julien Leroy | Matthias Pintscher
Boulez Notations I–IV and VII (versions for piano and for orchestra) | Pintscher Osiris | world premieres by Kurtág, Moussa, Peszat, and Rihm

Filed under: Lucerne Festival, modernism, music news, new music, Pierre Boulez

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