Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Boulez on Boulez

Years later, in conversation with Joan Peyser, [Boulez] casually dismissed his early ventures in total serialism, saying that Structures 1a had been not "Total but Totalitarian." He also brushed away the formerly dire necessity of the twelve-tone composition. "I've often found the obligation to use all twelve tones to be unbearable," he said in 1999. In the end, the notion of musical progress proved to be contingent and subjective, its definition changing with the seasons. The philosophy of modern music was unmasked as the rhetoric of taste. All the same, Boulez adroitly maintained the illusion of being out in front -- the signature of a master politician.

Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise, p. 434

Who says pop stars invented music marketing?

[photo credit: jonrawlinson]

1 comment:

Chimp said...

A little aside, how can the "obligation" to use all twelve tones NOT become unbearable, sooner or later? Does every poem have to be a sonnet?

Why don't we all compose in C, on Tuesdays, when it's raining?