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#3075006 01/27/21 07:29 PM
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Hey folks!

I found this amazing performance of the Boulez 3. A masterful performance IMO, and recorded and videoed very nicely. Does anyone know more about the form and organization of this work? Is it like a build your own novel?

I have promised myself that one day I will perform and record the 12 notations and Sonata 1... and I wonder, would I ever go so far as 3? (2 is outright... Im not that skilled, nor do I have enough time)

Looking forward to your thoughts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_99N6QudZx8

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My thoughts are that less than 1% of classical music audience would enjoy hearing this piece. I only listened to about two minutes. I also don't think anyone but a professional pianist or composer could make any sense of it.

I heard one live performance of the Boulez Sonata
No. 2. I had only two thoughts during the performance:
1. When will this end?
2. Why would spend the enormous time it would take to learn it?

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laugh I understand.

Once a pianist came to the Penn Alps festival, and played a lovely concert of Beethoven's Waldstein (Aurora) Sonata, and some other classics... I forget his name but he was young and very good.

Anyway, after the concert I asked him "Have you ever looked at the Boulez sonatas?" He replied (hilariously in retrospect) "Why would I do that? I dont have that kind of time, and there are too many great works which take greater priority"

I cant help but feel, however, that the 12 notations are different and could easily fit into the great programs of the 21st century.

Might look into finding a copy of the score of the 3rd sonata. I have a feeling it will be like 120 bucks or something crazy.

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The burning question is: Would anyone know (actually, would anyone care) if you were playing all the right notes, and if not, why bother to learn it? wink

BTW, I've played Thomas Adès, Kaija Saariaho and Carl Vine - and enjoyed their music.

Have you heard Boulez's compatriot Gérard Depardieu play his own (very enjoyable) version of Pierre?
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0vyMuAkOYQ thumb


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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Har Har. That sounds a bit more like Nancarrow or something

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Originally Posted by MinscAndBoo
I cant help but feel, however, that the 12 notations are different and could easily fit into the great programs of the 21st century.
I listened to the notations and found them much more palatable, although I'm not sure why. It could have simply been that I knew they'd be over in a short time or each one was so short. I have no idea if they'd ever be considered great music or how much others might like or dislike them.

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It should be said that the notations are very different, and from a different period of Boulez's life than the 3rd sonata.
I absolutely adore them. They are each novel, individual, and ingenious (IMO). and I could absolutely tell you if there was a wrong note played. And in that way, they may be more recognizable and digestible. If you played the 16th minute of the 3rd sonata to me out of context on a random day I could probably tell you its Boulez, but I wouldn't recognize the music or what piece it comes from. But if you picked a middle notation, I could tell you immediately.


Also, the 12 notations are an interesting commentary on the 12 tone approach, and I cant wait to learn more about that when I study them for recording and performing

Last edited by MinscAndBoo; 01/28/21 11:33 AM.
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One more thing. Even if you dont like the music, there are great innovations in form. The 3rd sonata, for example, gives the performer more creative liberty in choosing the order and structure of the work. In my own work, I am trying to involve the performer in the construction and realization of the piece much more. It seems like he is revolutionizing the very concept of what a score can be

Last edited by MinscAndBoo; 01/28/21 11:38 AM.
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Originally Posted by MinscAndBoo

As very much a traditionalist whose playing experience goes little beyond Debussy, I have to say that I don't understand this music. While others have said they don't have the time to learn it, I am at a stage in life where I don't have enough time left to understand such compositions.

That said, some of the "effects" are fascinating and intriguing, but what I can not feel is any sense of structure or direction to this music. We can't even talk about melody or theme, obviously. Nor can I determine any harmonic structure. To me - and the more initiated may hear what I don't - this doesn't have the traditional beginning, middle and end. Perhaps it is not supposed to, I don't know.

As I said, what I have left is too short to put effort and time in trying to understand and hence appreciate this music. I'll have to remain in the dark and let M. Boulez enlighten others.

Regards,


BruceD
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BruceD #3075298 01/28/21 12:45 PM
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Just some stray things:

Main thing: I love and find it very impressive that we have a thread on a Boulez piece.

I don't get it either, and don't feel close to getting it.

My main complaint about the video, though, is the half-minute of intro stuff on the screen before the playing starts. I know that many videos do that. I think it's a little nuisance, almost no matter what is being shown in that initial part.

The main thing that strikes me about the playing (BTW I only watched about the first minute of the playing) is that he's using the score, and how he's using it.
It's very possible that what I mean about it is fairly opposite of what most others might think. First, while most others might marvel at someone playing such a piece by memory, I find it hard to fathom that someone might be able to play it without knowing it by memory; and besides that, the way the guy keeps looking up and down and back and forth before playing a given passage grin .....I don't know that I've ever seen anyone do that before, for anything. What is going on there?
What it reminds me of is what I do when I'm driving and I'm waiting to cross or make a turn at a complicated intersection, and repeatedly look back and forth to make sure nobody is suddenly speeding through.
But I don't notice any traffic there at the piano. ha
All I can imagine, besides some kind of nervous tic, is that maybe he looks at each staff separately, placing the hand where it needs to be from what he saw and then looking at the other staff (or another one, if there are more than 2) and then looking back to the keyboard to place the other hand.....

I find if odd, and really pretty funny.


Originally Posted by BruceD
....what I have left is too short...

I hope not!!!

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Is anyone ever actually moved to tears by stuff like this?

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Originally Posted by chopinetto
Is anyone ever actually moved to tears by stuff like this?


Have you ever been brought to tears by your own critical thinking? To me this is intellectual music... the music of how the mind works in the modern era

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So... no? Great.

The emperor is buck, people.

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Music can express all parts of the human experience... not just the emotional

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If it's really the music of the modern mind, why does almost everyone think it's nonsense? Why do I fail to ever once feel a single positive emotion when I listen to it? I'd rather study mathematics. There are at least profound concepts there. Boulez sounds like an alien race devoid of all emotional capacity trying to imitate human music.

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Originally Posted by MinscAndBoo
Music can express all parts of the human experience... not just the emotional
Art is supposed to stimulate the mind and the heart.

You might have your own definition, and that's fine. I was just initially curious as to whether or not anyone is ever moved by this kind of thing, and I think I already knew the answer.

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Originally Posted by chopinetto
Originally Posted by MinscAndBoo
Music can express all parts of the human experience... not just the emotional
Art is supposed to stimulate the mind and the heart.

You might have your own definition, and that's fine. I was just initially curious as to whether or not anyone is ever moved by this kind of thing, and I think I already knew the answer.


Dont jump to a conclusion to that question without knowing you can. Dont be hasty.

Ill use the 12 notations as an example, because I am familiar with them... ive played half of them, and some in concert, and know the 3rd sonata very little.

The 9th notation fills me with the spirit of a huge placid ocean. A calm, a gentleness, a darkness, and a sense of oscillation, just as much as any work by Debussy. A real emotion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dh_daZ2IY4c

The crooked rhythms of the 4th notation instill me with a sense of panicked hurrying. A rushed fervor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXPTJaDLkZE

I could keep going of course, writing a short emotional template on each of the 12 notations. They all affect me very emotionally. Some regard Boulez an emotionless dictator, but I feel like they miss the mark.

Simple answer Chopinetto... I am your example. I am moved by this kind of thing. And if there is one, there are many

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Those are really evocations, rather than emotions. Debussy can do both simultaneously to me. Heck, even Chopin can sometimes, especially in the Mazurkas.

I'm curious: 1) Have you ever been moved to tears by music? 2) Have you ever been moved to tears by Boulez's music?

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And there is so much more to this music. If you considered the 3rd sonata an "etude on form, touch, dynamics, rhythm, and timbre" you would come out much the wiser after learning it, and something like the Ligeti etudes would be much more attainable, and the Beethoven sonatas would be easier. Indeed you may reconsider the revolutionary way Beethoven regarded form after learning the 3rd sonata. It is a revolution in form, and Boulez is someone who knew all the rules before breaking them, much like Beethoven

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