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Pli selon pli [Import]

Pierre Boulez , Ensemble Intercontemporain , Christine Schäffer Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Price: $23.48 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 5 Songs, 2002 $9.49  
Audio CD, Import, 2002 $23.48  

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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
listen  1. Boulez: Pli selon Pli (1957-62/84/89) Portrait de Mallarmé - No. 1 Don (version nouvelle 1989) ["Je t'apporte l'enfant d'une nuit d'Idumée"]Ensemble InterContemporain15:09Album Only
listen  2. Boulez: Pli selon Pli (1957-62/84/89) Portrait de Mallarmé - No. 2 Improvisation I sur Mallarmé (1958/62) le vierge, le vivace et le bel aujourd'huiEnsemble InterContemporain 5:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Boulez: Pli selon Pli (1957-62/84/89) Portrait de Mallarmé - No. 3 Improvisation II sur Mallarmé (1957) une dentelle s'abolitEnsemble InterContemporain11:47Album Only
listen  4. Boulez: Pli selon Pli (1957-62/84/89) Portrait de Mallarmé - No. 4 Improvisation III sur Mallarmé (1959/84) à la nue accablante tuEnsemble InterContemporain21:08Album Only
listen  5. Boulez: Pli selon Pli (1957-62/84/89) Portrait de Mallarmé - No. 5 Tombeau (1959-62) ["une peu profond ruisseau calomnié la mort"]Ensemble InterContemporain16:16Album Only

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Pierre Boulez was born in 1925 in Montbrison, France. He first studied mathematics, then music at the Paris Conservatory, where his teachers included Olivier Messiaen and René Leibowitz. In 1954, ... Read more in Amazon's Pierre Boulez Store

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Pli selon pli + Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra; Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta; Hungarian Sketches + Messiaen: Quartet for the End of Time
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Product Details

  • Performer: Christine Schäffer
  • Orchestra: Ensemble Intercontemporain
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Composer: Pierre Boulez
  • Audio CD (May 14, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B0000630Q9
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,024 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Pli Selon Pli (Fold by Fold) is a portrait of Mallarmé, whose poems are set in fragmented fashion throughout the work's five movements, which Boulez rewrote and added to until they assumed final form in 1989. His 1969 Sony recording had an icy, frozen surface and a general air of impenetrability. Age may have mellowed the maestro, for this version, while still challenging, is more accessible. Textures are more finely drawn; the delicate colorations of winds and plucked instruments, including a mandolin, are more sensuous; and a traditional French sensibility is more obvious. The singer, soprano Christine Schäfer, is more communicative, too: her high notes are smoothly produced, her lines seamlessly woven into the orchestral fabric. The voice is effectively an instrumental line in the work's structure, and texts are fragmented into discrete words and syllables. For all their importance, they occupy a relatively limited portion of the piece's 70 minutes. The crack instrumentalists of the Ensemble Intercontemporain are masters of Boulez's style, and it's hard to imagine a better performance of this modernist milestone. --Dan Davis

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff, but I wouldn't be without the SONY version September 7, 2002
Format:Audio CD
I first heard this work back in 1984, when Boulez conducted the LA Philharmonic at UCLA in a program with music by Debussy and Carter. I had never heard anything like it. This was music like from some exotic, undreamt of world. Watching the huge forces arrayed on stage producing such delicate and timbrally rich sounds was a delight, and the waves of percussion-led music that gradually built up like huge waves of crashing sounds was thrilling. After that concert I purchased the old CBS recording, made in the 1960s, with Halina Lukomska in the soprano part. The Sony Walkman was just out, and I found myself listening to this music on headphones every where I went, so mesmerizing was it, so unpredictable sounding: it was perfect music to listen to while out and about on foot, it seemed to capture the sense of movement and surprise that you have when you are on the city streets, not knowing what is going to come upon you, living your life moment by moment, step by step, the music here in tune with your pulse, there at some odds, but nicely so.
I grew enormously attached to the CBS version as a result of these repeated hearings/wanderings, and was disappointed by the next version that was recorded, on ERATO, with Phyllis Bryn-Julson, because it struck me as having prettified the music. Edges were now smoothed out, the playing of the orchestra was much more polished, less on edge. My favorite remained the CBS version. Now this new one comes along on DG. It continues down the path of the ERATO version, bringing Boulez more in line with Debussy than ever. The playing is superb, the sound much gentler on the ear, the textures less forest-like, more crystalline. This sounds more like equisite chamber music now, and less like a journey into an atonal tropics. It's a beautiful performance, but I would never want to be without the old CBS (now SONY) version.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twelve-Tone Impressionism July 19, 2002
Format:Audio CD
Pli Selon Pli is the first piece by Boulez that I heard back in the 70's. At the time, it's orchestration struck me...modern and uncompromising, and yet still distinctly French. Time has mellowed Boulez and the piece. Now it seems to me that the ties to the Impressionists are very strong in the composer, much stronger than one might have guessed back in the 50s when he was an anti-traditionalist firebrand.
Pli Selon Pli is a work for large forces, though these are used sparingly and in a chamber music fashion. The opening and closing movements of the work feature the full ensemble. Embedded in the piece are three "Improvisations sur Marllarme" which began their lives as separate pieces and were encorporated into the complete work later. They retain most of their original soprano and chamber ensemble setting. The language is Boulezian - totally serial and uncompromisingly dissonant, and yet, especially in this new recording of the finalized work, it is sensual, with moments that are achingly lovely. Boulez's genius for instrumental sonority has never been better showcased than in this piece (though Le Martel sans Maitre comes close). Boulez fans will want both the original recording from the 70s and this one as there are many interesting points of comparison. Those who are curious about the composer would do best with this recording only. Pli Selon Pli is oe of the composer's most attractive works and a great place for anyone with adventurous ears to start learning about this seminal figure in 20th century music.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Modern Song-Cycle July 5, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Pli Selon Pli (Fold by Fold) is one of the best, if not the very best, song-cycles to come out of the 20th Century. It was written by the venerable Pierre Boulez, one of the most original and provacative living composers--also probably the greatest. Most of his works are still "in progress", and this one had a multi-decade gestation period, but it's finished now, a perfectly balanced work that begins and ends on the same definitive chord.
The great French poet Mallarme may have been shocked to hear what sort of music Boulez wrote to accompany his poems, but the word-setting, though hardly hummable, has a strange beauty all of its own, and acutally lends more melody to this work than you'll find in most atonal pieces--after all, an orchestra can play just harmony and rhythm, but a soprano can only sing a melody, no matter how large the leaps it makes. Christine Schafer dispatches Boulez's difficult lines well--she may be slightly troubled by the high note near the end, but it comes out clearly and maybe is even more convincing this way. Who wouldn't find it tough?
But, in true Boulez fashion, no matter how beguiling the vocal lines it is ultimately the orchestra which dominates. This is no tragedy, however, because in M. Boulez we have one of the master orchestraters of all time. You can see from the pictures included in the liner notes what a battery of percussion is at the disposal of the Ensemble InterContemporain, and Boulez makes good use of all of it. The shimmering sonorities are instantly attractive.
Let me qualify that: they will be attractive assuming the listener has had some experience appreciating atonal music. It would be possible to fall in love with this at first listen, but I doubt if that happens often.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Some additional details Boulez fans should know
Why another recording of Pli Selon Pli? As you may already know, Boulez has tended to continually revise and/or pull out of circulation works with which he's not completely... Read more
Published on December 5, 2010 by William F. Shively
1.0 out of 5 stars An already flawed work revised until it just falls apart
Readers here are always quick to revolt against 1-star reviews of respected figures, but hear me out here. Read more
Published on August 6, 2006 by Christopher Culver
5.0 out of 5 stars the brilliance of this piece & performance are beyond words
Most of the avant-garde music from Pierre Boulez's generation is characterized by noise & chaos, but this cd somehow resonates with such a beautiful profound sense of balance,... Read more
Published on November 21, 2003 by I X Key
5.0 out of 5 stars rarefied encrustations of text,timbre of time, and topology
On February 18, 1890, Mallarme delivered a lecture in Bruges,Belgium to honor Villiers de l'Isle Adam, who died the previous year, the title "pli selon pli" occurs on the fourth... Read more
Published on October 21, 2002 by scarecrow
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best version of "Pli Selon Pli" for soprano and ensemble
Oliver Messiaen captured Boulez's sound world with this pithy quote -- "To his Webernish pursuits he added a bit of my rhythmic restlessness and, above all, a Debussyian... Read more
Published on September 25, 2002 by Autonomeus
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern masterpiece
I can not think of any better improvment about this work when you have Boulez himself as a conductor and "papa" here (a bit more "mellow" too than 10-15 years... Read more
Published on June 19, 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow.
I have just purchased this CD (the day it came out!) and from what I've heard, it is amazing, surpassing (but not replacing) Boulez's earlier recording. Read more
Published on May 15, 2002 by "merdestone"
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