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In the pre-concert talk, Mr Boulez explained the circumstances of his return to Notations. He was at Bayreuth, for the famous -- and definitive -- Patrice Chereau production of Wagner's Ring. To be sure, this is hardly a miniature of anything, but combined with the second of the two events, led him to re-examine his work. He says:

I read ... that in some Egyptian tombs they found corn seeds, and they put
these seeds in water and in earth, and the seed produced again. I think that's
a little bit of the process here: the seeds were there, far away, and then I
began to conceive these as seeds for new thinking, for new development.
And so it began.

(Actually, his verbal description was entirely charming, but I couldn't begin to repeat it as he said it then, so am resorting to the program notes, as provided by the orchestra.)

For this performance, he chose the order of I, VII, IV, III, II, and altogether, they occupied roughly seventeen minutes, so one can see that they were greatly expanded from their original twelve measures each, while yet maintaining a sense of brevity. As in many compositions by Mr Boulez, the pieces are visual in presentation as well as aural -- one can literally 'see' the music come to life as it goes from instrument to instrument. Number I, which uses two sets of steel drums (a total of six altogether) was my favorite for its exotic, somewhat languid combination of sounds. Number II, the final selection featured the percussion in a propulsive, infectious rhythm.

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Copyright © 1 May 2005 Kelly Ferjutz, Cleveland USA


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