Author's statement regarding the
eMuse feature article 'Boulez is Dead'
It is my view that humorous, ironic and impassioned writing enriches
aspects of art and life for the thoughtful reader at least as much as plodding,
logistical essays. This is one reason we more often read critical writing
as opposed to mathematical treatises. By definition critical writing must
deal in the subjective. Parody, which can be blindingly funny and withering
in the same instant as in Swift and Baudelaire, is a tool of criticism.
Those who tiresomely noted that the feature article 'Boulez is Dead'
used Boulez's own methods of attack and bombast failed to note that this
is at the heart of parodistical writing, that this was using Boulez to criticize
Boulez. This might have been apparent from the title alone. Furthermore,
a close reading of 'Boulez is Dead' will demonstrate that it promotes the
acceptance of many sorts of music. Boulez has made a career of denying anything
but serial /atonal work and the warhorses he uses to sell it.
Boulez created outrage. Imagine Pierre jeering in theatres at Stravinsky.
It would be as outrageous today as it was then. Dominique Jameux in 1991
noted in Pierre Boulez:
'Today, it is hard to imagine the effect of Schoenberg is Dead
upon contemporary readers: some found it inspiring, whilst others were profoundly
shocked. It caused a particular furore in America, where the works of the
Austrian composer - latterly an American citizen - enjoyed all the esteem
appertaining to the idea of the avant-garde within the ghetto-like university
That Boulez's methods were capable of prompting a small outrage to an
article about Boulez himself is parody that has found its mark.
Copyright © 1 April 2000 Jeff Talman,
New York City, USA
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