Musicians surrounded by audience, audience surrounded by soloists in Boulez score at NYC Armory

Posted on: October 3, 2017

“In the early ’90s, the composer, conductor and modernist crusader Pierre Boulez, whose hallmark work, ‘Répons,’ will be performed at New York’s Park Avenue Armory on Oct. 6 and 7, was giving a Carnegie Hall workshop for young conductors,” writes Stuart Isacoff in Friday’s (9/29) Wall Street Journal (subscription required). “Mr. Boulez raised his own arm in a single sweeping gesture and the ensemble suddenly came to life, the music opening up like a blossoming flower. Despite his reputation for mathematical precision and formal rigor, the French master was avowing the primacy of sonic beauty.… No Boulez work demonstrates this philosophical friction more than ‘Répons’ (‘Response’), a 1981 composition (later revised) for six pitched-percussion soloists, an ensemble of strings and winds, and live electronics, lasting 45 minutes. … The Ensemble Intercontemporain, a group founded by Mr. Boulez and now conducted by composer Matthias Pintscher, will be performing the work in … the Armory’s 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall … Mr. Boulez also had a particular spatial configuration in mind when he composed ‘Répons’: The ensemble is surrounded by the audience, which is in turn encircled by the soloists, as well as by speakers issuing streams of amplified sound waves.”

Posted October 3, 2017