Pierre Boulez is one of the most influential—and controversial—figures in the world of contemporary music. As composer, conductor, and critic, his challenging views of modern developments are lent a special authority by his high standing as an interpreter of classic composers. Orientations will enhance his reputation as a lucid expositor of the modern composer's world.
When writing about composing and analysis Boulez forges a new way of thinking about music. He is immensely illuminating about his own compositions. He offers special insight on composers with whom he has been particularly associated as a conductor—including Berlioz, Debussy, Wagner, Mahler, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Messiaen. And he writes about performance and orchestras, tackling the question of how to make new music more familiar for the concert-goer. This rich and wide-ranging volume is truly a special resource for everyone wanting to learn more about twentieth-century music.
Collected here, in some 500 pages, is perhaps the most comprehensive and provocative statement of an aesthetic position mustered by a musician since Schoenberg.
Boulez is one of the most controversial and enigmatic personalities on the contemporary music scene. He is also a wonderfully intelligent writer, as this important collection of essays amply demonstrates. The book is divided into three parts. ‘The Shaping Imagination’ deals with questions of aesthetics and includes cogent analyses of some of Boulez’s own music. ‘Exemplars’ contains short sketches on composers and their music that Boulez finds worthwhile—from Berlioz’s Symphony Fantastique to the works of Messiaen. The short third section, ‘Looking Back,’ contains tributes and brief essays of a more general nature. Though much of the writing is technical, the lay reader will still derive great pleasure from Boulez’s lucid prose and articulate sentiments. Highly recommended.
Boulez is (arguably) the laureate of post-war European contemporary music, and his public utterances are part of the permanent record of this era. Orientations…is thus de facto an indispensable text. Moreover, the organization of the volume carefully and admirably disentangles the various strands of Boulez’s exemplary career.
- 541 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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