These are Lectures Pierre Boulez gave from 1976 to Spring 1995 at the College de France in Paris Initial Lectures,1976 to 1988 were published assembled by Jean Jacques Nattiez in 1989 under the title Jalons , pathways places, steps ten years of Lectures, and then the points de repere Volume III are edited and re assembled lectures supervised by Boulez for which this English translation covers There are Lectures beyond 1989 from the Jalons publication herein 1990 to 1995.
There are writings beyond these Lectures, assembled in the first two volumes of points de repere If you follow Boulez you must know of his Orientations , in English from 1986, points de repere volume I.
Much admiration to Jonathan Goldman,long a Boulez scholar for bringing these Lectures, these traversals of modernity into reality and the translators as well Jonathan Dunsby and Arnold Whittall.
Within the time frame given,per year Boulez gave 9 one hour lectures and 5 Two Hour Lectures after his inaugural address in December 1976.
In 1993 and 1994 there were no Lectures He would write a Lecture, some 20 pages, and develop differing ideas as the year progressed Jurgen Habermas said that modernity never had a chance to reveal itself, develop itself the near extinction of Europa, 1933 1946.
He was speaking beyond aesthetics, communicative formalism of the new contractual regimes of USA to Europa within post war society For Boulez however, we find within these Lectures,quite profound observations how materials come to modernity, how to sustain thought within overstepping the boundaries set under your own aesthetics.
Boulez had some hidden odyssey not quite known, although he wrote his entire life.
in polemics, provocative and pedagogical especially when he had the institutionalizations of this thought to some degree realized at IRCAM in Paris.
all for modernity,,,Curious that he never abandoned its problems, its paradigms and creative dimensions,and had conducted musical works of selected creators who thought thru similar creative conceptual problems Ligeti, Berio, Birtwistle, Dufourt, Eotvos.
Adorno as well also from the post war mileau said this of philosophy in his Negative Dialectics that it never had a chance to fulfill itself so it lives on in some form,and there are those who as Boulez never abandoned what modernity was suppose to be.
How does it live by co optation, great palettes of re configurations with other disciplines what we have seen in the work of Levi Strauss, Barthes, Foucault,Lyotard andso Gilles Deleuze where he brought the forms the physics assemblages of science into philosophy along Spinoza like lines.
For Boulez the continuity was always what time,duration does to music materials, how density is deployed, how time shapes the architecture of rhythmhow music space, high middle low is deployed and shaped into something contemplated under a conceptual longevity We find in these Lectures how Boulez sought how time directs,envelopes an aesthetic, one that can be then re garnered generated, within the next work.
, a morphology that acts as an infrastructure.
We can trace this thinking as far back as the early Sixties,the Darmstadt Lectures assembled in the book On Music Today thinking of the problems within music So complexity and how to control it was something to resolve,the relationship between what happens vertical and horizontal in music and Boulez recall was always thinking of alternative solutions even within his own works, the differences between striated and smooth spaces how meaning merges from these extremes.
defined and quasi indeterminate within controlled realms.
something he brought to his conducting of Mahler, and Wagner, like a variations for he often re worked his compositions.
How time shapes effects music we find herein Boulez discusses the 20th Century repertoire thematic isms beginning in Wagner and Mahler,how themes develop or are left abandoned.
how narratives frames came to dominate musical thinking, post romanticism.
continuing within the 12 Tone School, Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern Interesting how Boulez compares for example the aesthetic reductions of Anton Webern to Piet Mondrian the two never knew each other s work ,or the free abstractions of Schoenberg with Wassily Kandinsky Schoenberg we find discovered linear space, how themes can be fragmentized and spaced over beyond a musical phrase or we have variations without themes, as Webern s Piano Variations.
simple development of short ideas.
All these are ways,realities of the durational frame The metaphors,music to visual do stop at some point Boulez recall was very fond of Paul Klee.
his Notebooks Also the one of Ferdinand Leger and Edgar Varese I d say Varese, his bold block architectures of resonance hadto do with painter Franz Kline, some years after Varese had completed his primary works.
The Lectures here engage quite generic profound thinking, differences and repetitions of music materials.
Boulez knew quite well the work of Gilles Deleuze, and thought thru within these years the gradations, the densities, orthotropic spaces of music materials The paradox is that these issues, problematic continue for many years to come, concepts, realms from these Lectures develop over 20 yearsWe find in this volume regimes of invention , technique , language 1976 or how themes develop, variations and form 1983 84 the eye and ear 1985 86.
Within the context of what is now after post modernity,current reality, I think Boulez saw past these conceptual fashions, these regimes buzzes of the market, to look past the aesthetic games pursued within the post war period, from indeterminate compositions, graphic notations to minimalism These were escapes, retractions,distractions from modernity which in Boulez s mind still lived,still inhabited a reality in some form The problem is to work it out,to find solutions and these Lectures reveal how he thought about working these arduous quagmire realities for modernity.