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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 structure.'

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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