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Boulez: Le Marteau sans maitre; Derive 1 & 2

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“. . . the great artist Pierre Boulez is making more relaxed and more sovereign music than ever before.”
Die Zeit, Hamburg
Pierre Boulez was born in 1925 in Montbrison, France. He first studied mathematics, then music at the Paris Conservatory, where his teachers included Olivier Messiaen and René Leibowitz. In 1954, ... Read more in Amazon's Pierre Boulez Store

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Product details

1. Le Marteau sans maître
2. Dérive 1 & 2

Product Description

titolo-le marteau sans maitrecompositore-pierre boulez orchestra-ensemble intercontemporain direttore-pierre boulez etichetta-deutsche grammophonn. dischi1data24 marzo 2005supportocd audiogeneremusica sinfonica-brani----1.le marteau sans maitre: avant l'artisanat furieux. rapideascolta2.commentaire i de bourreaux de solitude. lentascolta3.l'artisanat furieux. modere sans riguerascolta4.commentaire ii de bourreaux de solitude. rapideascolta5.fantasia bacarach - iva zanicchiascolta6.chiunque tu sia, ti amo - catherine spaakascolta7.apres l'artisanat furieux. rapideascolta8.commentaire iii de bourreaux de solitude. assez lentascolta9.bel edifice et les pressentiments - double. tempo libreascolta10.derive 1 (1984): tres lent, immuableascolta11.derive 2 (1988, 2002): tres rapide

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Bravo Mr Boulez!!! 14 May 2005
By Osvaldo Colarusso - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Le Marteau Sans maître is one of the most important works of the Twentieth Century . It is a work that symbolize, by its austerity and rationalist process of composition , the essence of the second vanguard of the century. After years of a Neo Classical process (1920-1950) , the new generation, born in the twenties , rediscovering Webern and Schoenberg , were ready to change the history. The serialism was at its peak: timbres , durations, dynamics, everything was pre determinate. Le Marteau sans Maitre can be read as a new way to see one of the most important works of the first half of the twentieth century: Pierrot Lunaire, by Arnold Schoenberg. Schoenberg wrote this work in three parts, with different subjects in each of the three parts. Pierre Boulez handle with three parts too: There are three songs based in three poems by Rene Char. And each song has one instrumental precedent or commentary. But the order isn't easy to understand: Lets take the three first movements of the work:it begins with a intricate fast scherzo: it is one precedent of the song L'artisanat furieux. Than we have a commentary of another song :Bourreaux de solitude. Than for the first time one of the songs: L'artisanat furieux. This one is a clear homage to Schoenberg. As in the seventh song of Pierrot Lunaire , we have hear a music to voice and solo flute. And as in Pierrot Lunaire, Boulez controls the extension of the pauses between the movements of the work. The sounds of Le Marteau sans maitre include exotic sounds like the African ( and very popular in Bahia-Brazil) Agôgô and the Caribbean Maracas. And the end of the work evokes something of oriental music. The surrealist texts are placed in a very sophisticated atmosphere . The result is fantastic. At the end we have a fusion between the voice and the instruments. If you don't have to play or to conduct this work, forget all the difficulties of the score. Enjoy the sounds, the ambience and the fantastic relations between text and music.
Before this recent performance Pierre Boulez recorded several times this work. There are two of these versions that are remarkable: one with the mezzo Jeanne Deroubaix ( the flutist in this record was the fantastic Severino Gazzeloni) and other with the famous Canadian Mezzo Yvonne Minton ( with fantastic musicians as the percussionist Sylvio Gualda and the flutist Michel Debost). I would like to remember that there is one very interesting old recording ( in LP) conducted by Robert Craft, and curiously this is the only one to follow the crazy metronomic marcs of the score. Boulez himself never followed his metronomic indications, and this new recording is the slower of all. The young musicians of the Ensemble Intercontemporain play this music as if it were easy. As never before we have hear a fluency and one constant beauty of sound. The Mezzo Soprano Hilary Summers has a beautiful voice and her intonation is simply perfect. Her range is perfect for this music. In short: this is the most fluent and the most perfect performance of Le Marteau sans Maître . And technically the sound of the recording is outstanding . As a bonus we have two other masterpieces: Dérive 1( 1984) and the wonderful Dérive 2 ( concluded in 2002). This recent composition has some instrumental colors of a profound beauty. Written for 11 instruments, it shares the atmosphere of Sur Incises and of Répons. Dérive 2 is a testimony of the energy of this young 80 years old composer. Maybe the most important musician of the second half of the twentieth century. This recording gives you the opportunity to know compositions that aren't easy. But no one can deny that these are works among the really more important works of the last 50 years. These works deserve your attention .
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Boulez Returns to Conducting Boulez! 9 Dec. 2005
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Pierre Boulez has become a name synonymous with masterful conducting of clarity, revealing inner voices of a work, while transforming the classics into thrillingly alive and refreshing experiences. His Mahler, Wagner, Debussy, Stravinsky, Bartok etc performances and recordings rarely fail to open vistas to those of us who thought we knew favorite scores well. It should be no surprise then that his new recording of his now 'old modern works' sound soothingly new under his baton.

'Le marteau sans maître, for alto, alto flute, guitar, vibes, xylorimba, percussion & viola' was a success at its premiere way back in 1955 - music that changed the palette of sound and timbre yet remained accessible. Here Boulez finesses his old recordings and in this splendid, clear, transformative reading confirms that this work is a masterpiece. The Ensemble Intercontemporain plays as though the members grow out of Boulez' fingertips and Hilary Summers lush and perfectly focused mezzo-soprano voice traverses the impossible melismata with ease and conveys the beauty of the poetry. The performance is a knockout!

Dérive I, for flute, clarinet, piano, vibes, violin & cello and

Dérive II, for chamber ensemble are later works and now find far more interest than intial hearings. The palette of sound and rhythmic variations is startling and beautifully performed. This is a fine recording on all counts and one that certainly belongs in the collection of those who follow Boulez in all his myriad accomplishments. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, December 05
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Boulez high interpretive visions; to himself for a change. 19 May 2006
By scarecrow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
you can never argue with good playing of music,even if the music itself is utterly dull and uninspired,although I have played music where no amount of interpretive imagination could have saved it;here we have inspired aggressive playing, in tune,well-balanced,and razor-sharp timbres exhibited,that in itself compells the ear to listen more,it instills a direct committment to the timbre, the ultimate meaning of music, this interface is one Boulez knows quite well,and as he has said himself no amount of wiggling gesticulating in convulsions on the podium will make the music any more interesting; that's not what you get herein however; "The Hammerless Master"when written was perhaps the most highly imitated work of the post-serial period,mostly academic Americans where everybody thought they could "out-Boulez", Boulez, well we have a lotta music now that is collecting dusk in those corridors.Boulez was more attuned to creating a new context for serial creativity a renewal of one with usuable timbres(Orient-Occidental) circling the globe, the gamelan timbre is certainly here,as well as the complexity of serial procedures. There are infintesimal harmonies created with the interesting combinations of acoustic guitar, viola, alto flute,percussion bongoes(primarily vibraphone).I never grow tired of this work, but Boulez's instincts for seeing interpretive dimensions no one else does is/are always worth pursuing(as his readings of un-Tchaikovsky-like Stravinsky,very lean and mean Berg, then Mahler and Bruckner) here in his own music he allows himself to find new points of pursuable interest as his more lyrical sensual "Hammerless Master" reveals. I still find the vocal writing however problematic, as if it is beside the meaning of the text,just another instrumental part thrown upwards; the voice has a kind of "other-wordly" place, not a conveyor of meaning but more of "ambience","mists" of an opaque situation.This recording trys to "fix" or "re-tune" this emotive role-bearing aspect of Rene Char's powerful text to some degree. Now if that is intended and if you find that compelling well no one can argue with this.

In "Derive" as well Boulez again here pursues yet another reading(like a cantus firmus) of his 1994 piano solo later revised in 2001, "Incises" translated as the "cuttings" as like a river may "cut" a continent in half, or the fine lattice work, the lapidarian shapes of nettles cutting a metal image in miniature. Here the gestures are fairly obvious, and I agree with the other reviewer who finds that the work grows dull and arbitrary in its discoursal direction.I first heard Derive 1 along side Dufourt's powerful "Antiphysis"(for larger forces) which drew the more sketchlike "unfinished" qualities in the Boulez all the more pronounced. It does have an affinity for late Debussy, with its find, pulled-backwards gestures, gentle tremoli,exposed fine elegant bourgeois melodic lines.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Boulez's most recent take on his 50s classic with two late works that show his immense growth as a composer 5 July 2008
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This Deutsche Grammophon disc, released for the composer's 80th birthday year, features three ensemble works by Pierre Boulez, with one being what many see as his first masterpiece. The composer himself leads the Ensemble Intercontemporain in this IRCAM recording.

By the 1950s, Boulez had written a couple of oratorios in a very Webernian vein and some fiendishly difficult solo piano works that took the twelve-tone method to complete bleep-bloop abstraction (but still captivating to avant-garde aficionados). In 1955 he unveiled "Le Marteau sans maitre" for alto and an ensemble that at the time must have seemed revolutionary. Besides unpitched percussion, there is alto flute, viola, guitar, vibraphone and xylorimba. All instruments are squarely in the middle range, but have a dazzling array of sonorities. The nine-movement piece is in three interlocked cycles, each based around a vocal movement where a poem by Rene Char is delivered by the alto (here Hilary Summers), but the vocals are delivered less as a clear text and more as an extension of the instrumental sound. This is a gorgeous and highly varied piece, sounding like a fusion of 1950s lounge styling meets Balinese gamelan music and the strumming of the Japanese koto with some weird pitch organization, and even people who don't normally dig serialism will find parts of it catchy. On this latest recording, Boulez takes it noticeably slower than before, but I don't feel the result is lethargic and ruins the piece like, for example, the DG 20/21 recording of "Pli selon pli".

Pierre Boulez's music changed greatly in the 1960s and 1970s. While he has always remained a staunch serialist, faster tempos and a powerful sense of drive were increasingly woved into his music. "Derive" for small ensemble (1984) is a good example of the late Boulez. Scored for flute, A clarinet, violin, cello, vibrophone, and piano, the piece "derives" its harmonies from a six-note chord E-flat, A, C, B, E, and D, which in a mixed French-German-English nomenclature represents the name of Swiss music patron Paul Sacher. The same basis is used in "Eclat" and in "Messagesquisse", and in all the results are quite different. Here, "Derive" reminds one of the work of Magnus Lindberg, obsessed with the constant production of gorgeous harmonies and only occasionally letting melody creep in. The piece exists in an older recording recently reissued by Warner's budget line Apex, but while the quality of the performances is even, I think this new recording on DG is much more "alive" than there.

Boulez wrote "Derive 2" (2002) shows the influence of Carter and the late Ligeti, composers who wrote music of rhythmic ingenuity where each instrument is its own character. Each motion by one performer seems to spur another one on, and things quickly get quite complex, though with suprisingly gestalts and even a feel of allusion to tonality. One regrets that this recording is not the definitive take on the piece, for shortly after recording this Boulez premiered a new version which closes with a bold horn line that some critics have called Boulez's first real ending.

The liner notes are somewhat informative, but it is a real shame that they left out the figure in the old CBS recording's note, showing the relationships between the instruments in "Le Marteau" to explain why Boulez chose his unusual ensemble for that piece. Certainly anyone with some music theory, however limited, would be more satisfied with Dominique Jameaux's Pierre Boulez which describes all his pieces up to "Repons".

I think the best of recent Boulez is "...explosante-fixe..." and "Sur Incises", and that's why I give this disc with "Derive" and "Derive 2" only four stars, as they seem somewhat minor works, though still quite entertaining. Nonetheless, fans of 20th century music would do well to get a recording of "Le Marteau", either this one or the old CBS one (reissued on Sony).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Three winners 25 Oct. 2009
By Personne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If I were the first reviewer on this CD, I'd doubtless include much more detail than I will here. I think the previous reviewers have covered most of the issues well. And I certainly agree that this performance of Marteau is something special. In some ways it demonstrates that no composer--even one as notoriously meticulous as Boulez--ever really knows everything he or she is doing. Boulez has made discoveries in this piece that he didn't know were there a half-century ago.

But I'd like to do a little special pleading for "Derive II". This is a wonderful chunk of music. At first hearing, it comes across as busywork music. Does it actually go anywhere? There are rapid note values and uncertain harmonic motion. But every listening clarifies the form and logic of the piece. There are a handful of fundamental textures and shapes that make up the piece, and they're developed with an almost classical logic. There's a chordal texture that predicts changes to come in the piece. There's a good-natured bit of material with high clarinet that projects an Apollonian humor. There are numerous rewards within.

This is a fine CD. If you're on the fence about Boulez, you'll find many revelations here.
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