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  • Boulez: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-3
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Boulez: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-3

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Audio CD, September 19, 1995
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Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Piano Sonata No. 1: I. Lent - Beaucoup plus allant 4:34$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Piano Sonata No. 1: II. Assez large - Rapide 5:51$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Piano Sonata No. 2: I. Extremement rapide - Encore plus vif 5:29$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Piano Sonata No. 2: II. Lent 9:11Album Only
listen  5. Piano Sonata No. 2: III. Modere, presque vif 2:05$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Piano Sonata No. 2: IV. Vif - Tres modere? Tres librement?10:42Album Only
listen  7. Piano Sonata No. 3: Glose 2:12$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Piano Sonata No. 3: Texte 1:21$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Piano Sonata No. 3: Parenthese 3:12$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen10. Piano Sonata No. 3: Commentaire 3:28$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen11. Piano Sonata No. 3: Piano Sonata No. 3, Formant 3: Constellation - Miroir15:41Album Only

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Product Details

  • Performer: Idil Biret
  • Composer: Pierre Boulez
  • Audio CD (September 19, 1995)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • Run Time: 64 minutes
  • ASIN: B00000147K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,984 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 2, 2000
Format: Audio CD
A lot of people like Pollini's recording of Boulez's Second Sonata. I think it's very good. But it was Idil Biret's recording that made me fall in love with the piece. Biret shapes the lines more vividly, and her dyanmic range is astounding. Such things really do count while playing such a piece! Pollini is rather monochrome in comparison. In fact, I dare say Biret's performance of the Second Sonata is the sort of thing one might use to convince people of the intensity and beauty of Boulez's music.
I'm not entirely sure about the other Sonatas though. Biret does a good job with the first movement of the First Sonata (with a wonderful sense of disturbed stillness), but the final movement is not as fiery as I've heard in a now unavailable Erato recording (I think the pianist was Pierre-Laurent Aimard). And, to be honest with you, as a composition I don't care much for the Third Sonata. But this is a relatively cheap CD, and the priceless interpretation of the Second Sonata makes it a real bargain
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 2, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Pierre Boulez's three piano sonatas are early works indeed. The first two were written in his early 20s, while the third came not long after. On this budget-priced Naxos disc Idil Biret performs. I was a bit nervous about the recording, since Biret's performance of the Ligeti etudes (also on Naxos) was a total disaster, but this recording is relatively satisfactory and may be a good addition to the Boulez fan's collection.

Even for those familiar with much serial music, even if you've heard everything else Boulez composed, the piano sonatas can be difficult listening. In fact, in the beginning one might think it merely a series of bleeps and bloops without order. Gaining insight into these takes time, and in the beginning one should focus on the simple succession of individual gestures even if the musical development on a large scale can't be perceived. Over time, however, the sonatas unlock their secrets, and one begins to notice motifs and clever form.

The first two sonatas are not Boulez's first pieces--they were preceded by the recently rehabilitated "Notations" for piano (1945)--but they are Boulez's first individual achievement. In the "Piano Sonata No. 1" (1946) the sonorities of Webern (especially the "Symphonie" op. 21), coexist with an interest in dynamic and attack which is pure Boulez. The first movement is developed out of merely four opening gestures: a rising minor sixth, an appoggiatura, an isolated note, and a brusqe arpeggio. The second movement opens with cells all over the keyboard, and the dashing between octaves hints at Boulez's later solo piano work "Incises".

For much of his career has sought to take serialism beyond mere miniatures, like Webern, to grand designs. The four-movement "Piano Sonata No.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Luke birkla on April 5, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Idel Biret's incredible rendition of the three Boulez Piano sonatas reigns untrammelled by the glossy facade of the Deutsche grammaphon and Montaigne efforts.

There is a sense of will, Biret guides the listener inexorably through the music with consumate artistry, giving the right amount of tension and repose to every corner of Boulez's music.

Biret brings out the ravelian nature of the second sonata better than anyone else. wonderful
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful By scarecrow VINE VOICE on August 14, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is a hard call;Pollini's monochrome timbre(in the Second Sonata)intentionally creates the rhythmic (furious) untrampled drive the work needs which is exciting,you don't need a listening agenda to consume this violence.Pollini would rather have some purest conception at work(as here in his early Eighties reading) sacrificing all, than drifting aimlessly over the generous violence the Second imparts.The Second Sonata, for the most part moves at such a fever pitch that many times you are not appraising the gradations of timbres(as Biret strives for),but simply the motions and movements of registers which occur in rapid-fire quicksilver formations over the entire keyboard. That's why Biret's First Sonata reading is far superior than anyone I've heard,save Fredric Rzewski,Biret knows how to construct drama and the First still had remainders and leftovers of that for the young Boulez was trying to get,subvert tradition out of his creativity.The First Sonata still has its registral movements in fairly obvious successions,and Biret shapes those outlines admirably. Her Second(I agree) lacked demonic spirit which you find in Pollini.Boulez(at the time of the Second) was reading Antonin Artaud and the Theatre of Cruelty mixed with the surreal poetry of post-war occupied France,somewhat disturbing ambiences for a man in his Twenties.It's incredible that the young Boulez had only a clangorous upright piano to try out his revolutionary new work, this one.
The Third Sonata is rather opaque and ill-focused, and I've never heard anyone yet who plays it with any degree of conviction,Aimard,Rosen.And Biret here as well strives for summoning a mystery out of this indeterminate mapping of the beautiful multi-coloured score.
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