Boulez destroyed ... but is it art?
Karl-Heinz Stockhausen's deplorable unguarded comments (following the 11
September 2001 tragedy) about international terrorism being the greatest art --
perhaps a quick gut reaction, and ever-so quickly withdrawn -- set me thinking about
the dangers of terrorism, media and art, and my discomfort with the rather frightening
prospect of 'terrorism art' -- a kind of vying between different groups of terrorists
to capture the attention
of the world by killing ever increasing numbers of people in more horrific ways.
This worrying vision of the future, in which we're all turned into TV voyeurs and
in which our supposed freedom of thought, speech and action is gradually eroded,
is certainly not my happiest.
But we're stuck with this world we live in -- with its good, bad, and
everything in between, and
it's up to us to make sense of it -- a task becoming ever more daunting as the
amount of information available, the difficulty of life's decisions and choices,
the gap between rich and poor, and the uncertainness of life, all increase.
In art and music, the 'cutting edge' is continually under pressure to push
itself (and the artist's career and visibility in the media) just that bit further,
provoking us to continue to ask those cliché questions: 'is it art?' and
'is it music?'
My reaction to a news item received here at M&V describing a project
to collect -- and then destroy -- copies of the works of the veteran French composer and
conductor Pierre Boulez (born 1925) is no -- not art, certainly not music,
and not even a new or original idea, but just sick sensationalism.
The comments Boulez made in his youth about destroying older music do seem
to have come back to haunt him during the later years of his life, however.
Some of these early Boulez comments
inspired Jeff Talman's wicked 2000 eMuse feature here at M&V --
Boulez is Dead (and please note the capital D!).
They do say, though, that there's no such thing as bad publicity ...
IRCAM -- the Boulez stronghold
Boulez alive at Sony Classical
A Boulez biography at the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra
The Karlheinz Stockhausen website
Jeff Talman's Boulez feature at M&V
News item about Stockhausen's unfortunate comments
The suspect Boulez project
In the USA, 2002-03 is the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra's farewell season to
its rather active Music Director Kirk Trevor, who has been in the post since 1985.
Trevor is also Music Director and Principal Conductor of the
Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and, in the Czech Republic, Chief
Conductor of the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic of Zlin.
Born in England, Trevor studied cello and conducting at London's
Guildhall School of Music, and was a conducting student of Adrian Boult and
Vilem Tausky. He has become one of the leading teachers of conducting,
as co-founder and Artistic Director of the International Workshop for Conductors,
held annually in the Czech Republic.
As Principal Guest Conductor of the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra in
Bratislava, in a relationship beginning in 2000, Trevor has begun making
recordings of American music (one of which was
reviewed here recently).
You'll find information about Kirk Trevor at both the
orchestra sites below.
Kirk Trevor at the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra
Another (presumably) self-exiled Englishman is the composer Ronald Senator,
a pupil of Egon Wellesz at Oxford University in the 1940s, who lives in the USA
with his American pianist wife Miriam Brickman. I had the good fortune to meet
them both just over a year ago, and they're very good company.
The Senator and Brickman 'his and hers' websites, announced just recently,
are very plain and not particularly exciting to look at, but the information here
is portrayed very
clearly, loads instantly, and although often brief, is rather interesting,
especially the information about the Holocaust Requiem (1990), Senator's
educational project Musicolor and a wide range of photographs on the
Brickman site. No music samples here yet, which is a pity. We await more!
Ronald Senator's website
Miriam Brickman's website
Miriam Brickman plays East European music in London
ars-acoustica.com was formed at the beginning of 2002, with bases in Vienna
and London, as a service to help the careers of self-promoting musicians.
This is a slick, modern flash-enabled site with sound, and is promoting something
called the 'calling card' as a solution for artists wishing to promote their
Finally today, a bit of fun with a site which, although not specifically about
music, can be used to find out what the world's web designers and publishers
think about your favourite music and musicians. Ask it about people, things,
places and dates, and get an instant (and often hilarious) answer.
Click on the link below, and you'll see a selection
of answers to the question 'who is Stockhausen?', drawn from websites around the
world, as indexed by the Google search engine, but filtered using software
developed by an Australian web company. In time, I'm sure this kind of tool will
become more common, as the web becomes a repository for yet more information about
everyone and everything.
Googlism -- who is Stockhausen?
Googlism -- who is Boulez?
Googlism -- who is Mozart?
Copyright © 12 December 2002 Keith Bramich,