Boulez: ... Explosante-fixe...

February 8, 2005 | Format: MP3

$9.49
Also available in CD Format
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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: February 8, 2005
  • Release Date: February 8, 2005
  • Label: DG
  • Copyright: (C) 2005 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:09:25
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B000V6ONWE
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,521 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This Deutsche Grammophon disc--originally released in 1996 but reissued in the "Echo 20/21" series for Pierre Boulez's 80th birthday--contains three pieces by the great French composer, conductor, and theorist. The first two pieces are writen for piano, "Notations" is performed by Pierre-Laurent Aimard, and on "Structures pour deux pianos, Livre II" Aimard is accompanied by Florent Boffard. The third, "...explosante-fixe..." is for solo MIDI flute (Sophier Cherrier), two flutes (Emmanuelle Orphele and Pierre-Andre Valade), electronics, and orchestra, here the Ensemble Intercontemporain conducted by Boulez himself.

"Notations" (1945) is a series of twelve piano miniatures written in the very early days of Boulez's career and is fact the earliest piece he has published. Initially neglected after their composition, two Notations (5 and 9) were quietly used in "Pli selon pli", and then the work was fully uncovered in 1970s, when the composer embarked on orchestrating them. While the orchestral versions--much longer and of course with a greater range of colour--are impressive, the original piano Notations are a delight as well. Each consists only of twelve measures, featuring a twelve-tone row in much the same fashion as the work of Anton Webern. In spite of certain formal commonalities, however, the pieces widely range from free (e.g. 1) to tightly rhythmic (4, 6), contemplative (3) to frenetic (2). If you like Gyorgy Ligeti's "Musica Ricercata", you'll find this quite enjoyable. Aimard's performance here is so confident and poised, the man is a titan of contemporary piano repertoire.

"Structures, Livre II" (1956-61) shows that a decade later Boulez had come out from Webern's shadow and was expanding serialism with original contributions.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Autonomeus on March 19, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Pierre Boulez, the tireless champion of Webern and the Second Vienna School, wrote three major pieces in what I now think of as his late period -- Repons (1981-84 -- see my review), "...explasante-fixe..." (1991-93) and Sur Incises (1996/98 -- see my review). I have never found the shimmery, Debussian electro-acoustic "Repons" to be particularly impressive. "Sur Incises" sounds better with time, and I now hear more clearly how it fits in Boulez's project than when I first it several years ago. And while "...explosante-fixe..." doesn't sound quite as amazing now as it did initially, I still consider it to be the best of the "late trilogy," a swirling, impressionistic electro-acoustic flute concerto.

The midi flute of Sophie Cherrier is featured, along with two more flutes (Emmanuelle Ophele and Pierre-Andre Valade), and the Ensemble Intercontemporain, with electro-acoustic realization by Andrew Gerszo of IRCAM. The form is three instrumental movements separated by two electronic interludes (interstitiel). It's ironic, perhaps, that when Boulez decides to let fly with his most powerful work he does it with a flute piece, but this is no ordinary flute -- the electronic amplification makes it possible for Cherrier to cut through even the densest of passages. The IRCAM technology is utilized to its fullest. On first listening, I thought it sounded more like Xenakis than I do today. Boulez's soundworld is very different from Xenakis's, very French and very Debussian. The electronics are not hard-edged or forceful, rather they created swirling clouds of sound.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G.D. TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 12, 2009
Format: Audio CD
It is rather ironic, I guess, that Pierre Boulez - the most radical of the radical in the 1950s - currently enjoys a position as a Grand Old Man of the musical establishment. And it isn't undeserved - indeed, some people have claimed that Boulez is the greatest musician alive, and I might, in fact, tend to agree. ... explosante-fixe ... is for all practical purposes and extensive flute concerto, and it contains all the usual Boulez touches; strong ideas developed with meticulous care and unusual and imaginative sonorities with the flute interacting with electronics and ensemble, but with a lyrical streak perhaps lacking in some of his other works. This is not, even if one were to take a dismissive view, a squeak-bang work of the kind many people associate with the avant-garde, but a beautifully controlled, imaginative work, with subtle uses of enhancements to color and pitch in an ever-enchanting manner. The performances are superb. Notations is early Boulez, more barnstorming, perhaps, than explosante-fixe but also revealing more obviously Boulez's connection to tradition (Stravinsky, impressionism) and it receives a powerful expression here. Structures, Livre 2 is rendered with explosive power, yet remarkable restraint, by Aimard and Boffard. The recordings are superb and really serve to support what is, indeed, a taxing but rewarding musical experience. Recommended with enthusiasm - maybe not so much to those who are already skeptical of the avant-garde, but I cannot imagine that anyone with an open mind will be disappointed with the music here.
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