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Tag: Pierre Boulez

Berliner Philharmoniker – Pierre Boulez and Pierre-Laurent Aimard perform works by Ravel, Bartok and Boulez 2009 720p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

There are a number of 20th-century works that owe their existence to a war injury: the Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein, the older brother of the philosopher Ludwig, lost his right arm in World War I. With the intention of continuing his musical career he commissioned leading composers of that day to write works for the left hand. In addition to such artists as Paul Hindemith, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Benjamin Britten and Sergei Prokofiev, Maurice Ravel also complied with the wishes of the industrialist’s son. His Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, premiered in 1929, is unquestionably the most important of the compositions written for Wittgenstein. In a concert of the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Pierre Boulez, soloist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, who is acclaimed not least for his interpretations of contemporary music, gave a brilliant performance.

The programme reflected a chronological and stylistic focus typical of Boulez: Béla Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, which is characterized by rhythmic elan, conceptual refinement and unusual instrumentation, was composed only six years after Ravel’s Concerto. The origins of Boulez’s own Notations also date back to the same period of music history, namely 1945, when he composed the first version for piano. Boulez was not only fascinated by developments in music history but also strived for ongoing growth in his own works. The last of the five pieces, arranged for large orchestra and substantially expanded in structure and length, did not appear until 1997, 52 years after the original version.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – European Concert 2003 in Lisbon 2003 1080p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

Every year since 1991 the Berliner Philharmoniker have commemorated their foundation on 1 May 1882 with a European Concert, which, as lovers of these events are aware, is always held in a different – but invariably special – location. In 2003 the choice fell on the 16th-century Mosteiro dos Jerónimos just outside Lisbon. The monastery, which attests to Portugal’s golden age as a naval power, has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1987.

On this occasion the conductor was Pierre Boulez, who has been a regular visitor to Berlin since his first appearance with the orchestra in 1961 and who is famed for the translucency of his interpretations, a quality especially beneficial to the opening piece on the programme, Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, allowing listeners to hear even the tiniest details in the instrumentation. Above all, the oboist Albrecht Mayer deserved an extra round of applause. The next work on the programme was Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20, in which the soloist was Maria João Pires, who brought a Portuguese note to the concert. Although she has rarely shared a platform with Boulez, the two seemed to understand one another quite effortlessly. In the words of one critic, the result was “a living and entirely convincing interpretation of one of the most important works in the mainstream repertory”.

After the interval, the orchestra played Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and was able to demonstrate yet again what each of its members is capable of, in which respect they were admirably accompanied and supported by a benevolent Pierre Boulez: “Sometimes I hear when a musician wants to give something more, and so I let him do so. They are all great individuals and have their own ideas about the piece. I accept that. Otherwise I would be violating their individuality. And that isn’t good!” Conductor and orchestra thanked the audience for their enthusiastic applause with an encore, Debussy’s Fêtes, bringing this musical celebration to a wonderful conclusion.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – Boulez meets Stravinsky 2010 1080p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

Pierre Boulez has set standards as a conductor of the music of Stravinsky. But his own works were also profoundly influenced by the elder composer, who for his part, had great respect for the first compositions of his younger colleague. The interrelationships between these two doyens of modern music are revealed in this concert from 2010 with Boulez conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker.

Boulez’s … explosante fixe … was composed as an homage to Stravinsky, following his death in April 1971. It was actually intended simply to mark out the framework for a free improvisation, but over the years, … explosante fixe …developed into a sophisticated composition, with electronic music playing an increasingly important role. As technology has advanced, this role has become ever more refined, culminating in this version from the 1990s. One solo flute is connected to a computer through a MIDI system, so that the electronics react almost spontaneously to the flute, played here by Emmanuel Pahud.

Just like … explosante fixe …, Stravinsky’s opera Le Rossignolalso had a long development process. The first act of this operatic version of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale still belongs to the musical world of Rimsky-Korsakov and Debussy. Stravinsky then set the manuscript aside in order to discover his own revolutionary musical language in the ballets The Firebird and Le Sacre du printemps, which ultimately influenced the last two acts of Le Rossignol. Pierre Boulez was totally fascinated by this new idiom when he first heard a radio broadcast of the opera in 1942 – his first encounter with the works of Stravinsky and the beginning of a lifelong admiration.

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Michael Barenboim, Daniel Barenboim & Pierre Boulez – Schoenberg: Violin & Piano Concerti (2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

Michael Barenboim, Daniel Barenboim & Pierre Boulez – Schoenberg: Violin & Piano Concerti (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 57:28 minutes | 589 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: PrestoClassical | Front Cover | © Peral

Dating from 2005 and 2012, these are the Vienna Philharmonic’s first recordings of two of Schoenberg’s works: the Piano Concerto with soloist Daniel Barenboim under Pierre Boulez and the extremely challenging Violin Concerto starring father and son: Michael Barenboim as soloist under the direction of his father Daniel. Even today the virtuosity of the Violin Concerto instils a sense of awe in many violinists; for a time Jascha Heifetz regarded the work as unplayable.

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