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Boulez: Répons / Dialogue de l'Ombre Double Import

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Audio CD, Import, April 13, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Written in the mid-1980s, Répons represents Pierre Boulez's first major work after his controversial tenure conducting the New York Philharmonic. It's also a demonstration of how live instruments could be used in conjunction with computer-generated sound. He's been strangely hesitant to record it, which is even more mystifying the more one listens to this new DG release. It's one of the longest uninterrupted spans of music Boulez has ever composed. And while not as provocative as some of his early works, it's a marvel, a forest of sound that one wants to return to again and again.

The live instruments (which include a Hungarian cimbalom) are dominated by richly textured percussion, which doesn't exactly make Répons unmelodic as beyond melody. Initially, the effects seem repetitive--alternating activity and stasis--but what later unfolds is a rich, gratifying, thematically unified exploration of sound with a meticulously planned exposition, development, and recapitulation. The companion piece, Dialogue de l'ombre double, is more modest and in some ways more charming, exploring spatial effects and pedal points between the live and computerized clarinet sound. Those interested in the future of music--both in terms of means and content--must hear this. --David Patrick Stearns

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. Boulez: Répons (1981 - 1984) - IntroductionEnsemble InterContemporain 6:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Boulez: Répons (1981 - 1984) - Section 1Ensemble InterContemporain 2:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Boulez: Répons (1981 - 1984) - Section 2Ensemble InterContemporain 2:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Boulez: Répons (1981 - 1984) - Section 3Ensemble InterContemporain 2:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Boulez: Répons (1981 - 1984) - Section 4Ensemble InterContemporain 5:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Boulez: Répons (1981 - 1984) - Section 5Ensemble InterContemporain 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Boulez: Répons (1981 - 1984) - Section 6Ensemble InterContemporain 5:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Boulez: Répons (1981 - 1984) - Section 7Ensemble InterContemporain 5:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Boulez: Répons (1981 - 1984) - Section 8Ensemble InterContemporain 3:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Boulez: Répons (1981 - 1984) - CodaEnsemble InterContemporain 4:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Boulez: Dialogue de l'ombre double (1985) - Sigle initialAndrew Gerzso 1:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. Boulez: Dialogue de l'ombre double (1985) - Strophe IAndrew Gerzso 2:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
13. Boulez: Dialogue de l'ombre double (1985) - Transition I à IIAndrew Gerzso 1:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
14. Boulez: Dialogue de l'ombre double (1985) - Strophe IIAndrew Gerzso 1:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
15. Boulez: Dialogue de l'ombre double (1985) - Transition II à IIIAndrew Gerzso 1:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
16. Boulez: Dialogue de l'ombre double (1985) - Strophe IIIAndrew Gerzso 1:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
17. Boulez: Dialogue de l'ombre double (1985) - Transition III à IVAndrew Gerzso0:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
18. Boulez: Dialogue de l'ombre double (1985) - Strophe IVAndrew Gerzso 1:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
19. Boulez: Dialogue de l'ombre double (1985) - Transition IV à VAndrew Gerzso0:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
20. Boulez: Dialogue de l'ombre double (1985) - Strophe VAndrew Gerzso 1:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
21. Boulez: Dialogue de l'ombre double (1985) - Transition V à VIAndrew Gerzso0:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
22. Boulez: Dialogue de l'ombre double (1985) - Strophe VIAndrew Gerzso 1:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
23. Boulez: Dialogue de l'ombre double (1985) - Sigle finalAndrew Gerzso 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Performer: Vincent Bauer, Florent Boffard, Frederique Cambreling, Michel Cerutti, Daniel Ciampolini, et al.
  • Orchestra: Ensemble InterContemporain
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Composer: Pierre Boulez
  • Audio CD (April 13, 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Dg Imports
  • ASIN: B00000IIZ3
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,129 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Satoshi Akima on December 24, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I have literally waited years to hear Repons and am not disappointed. For years it had been talked about as landmark work from this, the arguably most profound of post-war composers. Boulez, as always succeeds in creating his own hynotic, jewelled, glittering, and almost mystical sound world. It is a sound world which has over the years matured to become even more subtle, more evocative, more obsessively fascinating. Through huge stretches of the work time seems to held in suspended animation only to be allowed to erupt forth from its former captivity with frenetic energy only moments later. Boulez's many enemies have always claimed that his music lacks the power to move the listener. But whoever really listens - yes, really listens to this work can only but be deeply moved, not by its wearing heart on sleeve, but by the sheer sense of boundless awe and wonder which the work so effortlessly evokes. As arpeggio is layered upon arpeggio, and amplified seemingly into infinity the sense of awe is like that of the starry night sky, for like it the impact is not one of a simple and singular emotive response but one that is somehow abstract - and thereby utterly impossible to convey with words. Indeed this is truly one of the artistic landmarks of the 20th century
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 14, 2006
Format: Audio CD
For several years after Pierre Boulez launched the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) in Paris in 1977, critics wondered why he himself had nothing to show in the field of electronic music. But when he finally unveiled "Repons" in 1981, he showed himself a comfortable with the new technology, and many called the work his masterpiece. On this Deutsche Grammophon disc, part of the "20/21" series of new music recordings, we finally get a recording of "Repons", performed by the composer's own Ensemble Intercontemporain with Boulez himself conducting, along with "Dialogue de l'ombre double" for clarinet and electronics.

"Repons", here in its completed 1984 version, is a piece of massive proportions. It is scored not only for orchestra, but also for six soloists (two pianos, harp, vibraphone, xylophone & glockspiel, and cimbalom), and at the time of its unveiling the electronic manipulation of its sounds depended on the behemoth 4X computer. The work also requires a special distribution of the instruments in the concert hall, with six speakers surrounding the audience.

It might sound complicated and eggheaded, but the musical structure Boulez builds out of these parts is ingenious and instantly likeable. The first of its ten sections is a simple chugging along by the orchestra, which sounds just like any ensemble effort. But then, this traditional music is torn asunder by the entrance of the soloists playing six simultaneous chords, amplified and bounced around the hall from speaker to speaker. Each of the soloists then plays individually an arpeggio, whose individual notes are captured by the electronics and themselves broken down into an arpeggio.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 27, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Boulez hesitated to record this masterpiece. And it's odd, very odd that we here the other side of the Atlantic had to wait this long to hear it. Of course you could have been like writer Jean Genet, who returned from a writing assignment in the Middle East to hear "Repons" in Paris. Boulez gives us long,richly textured timbral fields of sounds. You always sense control, that things, the various string tremoli for instance or the fast and frantic,clipped woodwinds never go off uncontrollably. The concept here of arpeggiated sound works well it gives a propulsive impetus,like electric charges,or short lightining bolts recharging the proceedings. Boulez was always fond of the harp and piano broken chords,(arpeggios) and ringing sonorities. This is here repeated as in his vocal works, only with a deep global-like maturity. Moments recede into the deeply textured sustained chords. You have never heard Boulez like this in "Repons" It is music one needs I think to be nourished in some creative emotive way. Long static screens. So powerful was this work that Boulez's people in Paris couldn't help an indirect copy like Peter Eotvos's "Chinese Opera" composers, Murail and Dufourt all owe something here to "Repons" and its conception. The "Dialogue de l'ombre double" when put along "Repons" comes off like a modest etude. Still it is the best piece yet featuring the solo clarinet with its "shadow".
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Fox on December 20, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Pierre Boulez is, with Stravinsky, Bartok, Schoenberg and Webern, one of the 5 greatest composers of the 20th century, and Repons is a towering masterpiece. You simply must hear it. His command of energy, color and structure is as moving and powerful as anything the past masters of previous centuries achieved, and in this work he opens up new fields of expression and technique that are simply astonishing. If you listen closely, you may be moved. Don't be put off. This is titanic art from a titanic mind. Needless to say, the performance is definitive.
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