Recorder virtuoso Erik Bosgraaf (b. 1980) was personally granted permission to arrange for recorder Boulez' (1925-2016) Dialogue de l'ombre double, originally for clarinet and electronics. ...The result is a dynamic interplay between Bosgraaf's recorder and the fascinating electronic timbres and colours. The second work on this release is a musical dialogue between Bosgraaf and electronic wizard Jorrit Tamminga (b. 1973), creating unheard-of sounds of the recorder interwoven in electronic sound tapestries.
Since the end of the seventeenth century French composers have shown a particular skill and deftness of touch in writing for the flute. The instrument owes much of its prominence in French music of the twentieth century to the use made of it in orchestral colouring by composers such as Debussy and Ravel, as well as to a group of highly gifted players associated in one way or another with the Paris Conservatoire. They include the soloist on this recording, Patrick Gallois, a pupil of Jean-Pierre Rampal. This collection of works composed during the last sixty years ranges from Poulenc’s Sonata, marked by rhythmic vitality and a delicate vein of sentimentality, Messiaen’s Le merle noir, inspired by bird song, to Boulez’s Sonatine, which the composer himself has characterised as ‘organised delirium’.
Peter Stein staged the work for Welsh National Opera in 1992 and won universal praise, as did Pierre Boulez for his conducting. Within austere, wholly appropriate sets, beautifully lit by Jean Kalman, Stein catches the very essence of this singular and elusive piece. Each of the 15 scenes is given its own distinctive décor in which the action is played out on several levels – high for the tower scenes, low for the eerie, subterranean grottoes, for instance. A masterstroke is the subtle evolution from one scene to another in view of the audience, offering a visual counterpoint to the interludes. Stein sees that Debussy's instructions are scrupulously observed. In fact, as a whole, this is an object-lesson in modern staging. Stein and his collaborators reflect the ebb and flow of crude realism and fragile dream-life that permeate the score, which Boulez has identified as lying at its heart. Director and conductor worked closely with each other over a six-week rehearsal period, something unlikely to occur today, so Boulez's interpretation is in complete accord with the staging, his musical direction at once direct and luminous, timbres finely balanced one with the other.
Pierre Boulez: In Memoriam. Pierre Boulez RIP. Official Release #39. Having recorded some works with a large orchestra in January 1983, in January 1984, Frank Zappa arranged for some of his chamber works to be performed by Pierre Boulez's Ensemble InterContemporain, a 16-piece group. "The Perfect Stranger," "Naval Aviation In Art?," and "Dupree's Paradise" were given this treatment, and the four remaining tracks are the product of Zappa's music synthesizer, the Synclavier. As usual, Zappa's "serious" works are rhythmically interesting and make for challenging listening.
Arnold Schoenberg is unquestionably one of the pivotal composers of the 20th century. By opening new aesthetic horizons, he played a crucial role in the development of contemporary classical music. This Sony Classical CD includes 1978 recordings of two works from Schoenberg's expressionist period: Erwartung (1909) and Pierrot Lunaire (1912). It also features an excerpt from the Gurre-Lieder: “Der Lied Der Waldtaube”.
Swiss pianist Ingrid Karlen makes her ECM debut with Variations, of which the program is as provocative as the title is vague. Beyond variations in the traditional sense, these are, rather, mise-en-abymes of abstractions. Or so they might at first aural glance seem, for within these sometimes troubling clusters of false starts breathes a unity at once organic and contrived. Anton Webern’s Variations for Piano, op. 27 (1935/36) is the primary example, for the only variations they seem to engender stem from that which cannot be notated. These pieces behave as might a solo violin sonata, jumping fluidly and bow-like through their ephemeral 12-tone links. They are the anti-motif, a stretch of childhood unable to be sifted.
In 1976 French director Patrice Chéreau's cenentenary staging of Wagner's "Ring"-Cycle unleashed the greatest scandal in Bayreuth Festival history but, by the end of its last performance in 1980, this epoch-making production was acclaimed with an hour and a half of thunderous applause. "Götterdämmerung presents a world in which no values exist any more. The only refuge is in the past" (Chateau). "The videotaped Bayreuth Ring succeed triumphantly."
"The central part of the "Ring" tetralogy is precisely this: a hero has been created who would actually have had all the attributes of freedom, but nobody remembered to tell him…" (Patrice Chéreau). "One can only marvel at how enthrallingly Chéreau has made visible every ramification of this malignant idyll and bitter comedy. In its faithful service to this fabulously polished staging Brian Large's video direction is a model" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung).
The second part of Patrice Chéreau's epoch-making Bayreuth "Ring" is a radical re-imaging of "Die Walküre", unprecedented in its psychological penetration. "This Wagnerian drama", says Chéreau, "which is at once classical theatre and domestic comedy, enables us to interpret the myths in terms that are both anecdotical and sublime … With Wagner one is dealing with a drama tuned virtually white-hot by the music." "Nothing ever seen before on television has given a better insight into Wagner's genius." (The New York Times)