Orientations: Collected Writings PDF Ç Orientations:

Orientations: Collected Writings [KINDLE] ✾ Orientations: Collected Writings By Pierre Boulez – Thomashillier.co.uk This collection of writings enhances Boulez s unrivalled reputation as a lucid and compelling expositor of the modern composer s world This collection of writings enhances Boulez s unrivalled reputation as a lucid and compelling expositor of the modern composer s world.

  • Paperback
  • 542 pages
  • Orientations: Collected Writings
  • Pierre Boulez
  • English
  • 12 September 2018
  • 0571143474

About the Author: Pierre Boulez

Pierre Louis Joseph Boulez CBE March January was a French composer, conductor, writer and founder of several musical institutions He was one of the dominant figures of the post war classical music world.

10 thoughts on “Orientations: Collected Writings

  1. Snufkin Snufkin says:

    Book Review Pierre Boulez Orientations, Part Three Looking Back Orientations is a collection of Pierre Boulez s essays that encompasses so much that it seems as though it expresses all his thoughts and beliefs spanning the whole musical landscape The first section covers his ideas and concepts about the foundations of music, such as time and form, using examples of his own works This acts as a bridge into the middle section which turns next to works by other composers he deems influential, Book Review Pierre Boulez Orientations, Part Three Looking Back Orientations is a collection of Pierre Boulez s essays that encompasses so much that it seems as though it expresses all his thoughts and beliefs spanning the whole musical landscape The first section covers his ideas and concepts about the foundations of music, such as time and form, using examples of his own works This acts as a bridge into the middle section which turns next to works by other composers he deems influential, from past to present The final section looks at the current state of contemporary music and looks to the future This is a real guided tour of the whole world of music, seen from every angle, as the title suggests Boulez takes the lead, using his knowledge and experience from so many musical angles composer, conductor, researcher and searcher, in order to open our eyes to the current situation of music through these essays.Particularly this third part of the book is of interest, which focuses on music today and the changing concepts of the composer performer audience relationship, not forgetting the maker of instruments as well Boulez stresses the importance of communication from all angles of the music profession He was the founder of IRCAM Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique Musique a research centre in Paris, which was created to go deep into the science of music, a combination that Boulez was so keen to explore His structured thoughts do not stand as theory alone but can be put into action in the real world today.Ironically Part 3 is entitled looking back when it is so forward looking This refers to a reflection on current happenings in the contemporary world The various essays are grouped into sections, starting with the Domaine Musicale Of the four essays that comprise this section, 10 years on is the most in depth, talking of the importance of composers to have a guiding idea communicated by performers to a definite public p434 , concerts being the moment that this live communication takes place Boulez aimed as a conductor for acomplete composer performer link, avoiding music becoming grossly caricatured by musicians misunderstanding the composer s true intent, and to re establish communication between composers of our own time and a public interested in promoting its own age p434.The most interesting section however is entitled composer and audience , consisting of seven essays They all convey the same core message, such as the importance of unity in action , everyone to have a unified idea to move towards a new expression, by finding a simplicity in the foundations of a new universal language It is vital not to choose ignorance, but to follow our curiosity and question our heritage, even in the face of hostility from those favouring nostalgia , looking back to a mythical Golden Age that never wasHe eventually expands the question to speak of the problems encompassing music in general He speaks against confinement in boxes such as solely contemporary music alone calling them specialists in nothing p449, which echoes the saying that a specialist knowsandabout less and less until he knows everything about nothing Hence the reason for Boulez having such a wide ranging musical career, conducting works from Wagner through to his own contemporaries The importance is active listening and selection by intelligent participation rather than the same old concert system with a public who are bored but dare not say so p453 The change must come from this root, with effort on the listeners part too, as well as musicians presenting a work to be judged freely rather than presenting predetermined so called masterpieces This wider change also incorporates instruments, which seem to have stopped developing after reaching equal temperament and no longer interested in further evolution, when all our new technological development and electronics encouragescollaboration with scientists to create instruments and sounds that illuminate the composers needs rather than vice versa This mental change returns us to music unbound by physical limitations, intellectual necessity overruling economic and financial obstacles As Morrie says in Mitch Albom s Tuesdays with Morrie , The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn t work, don t buy it Instead, change the culture Perhaps Boulez s ideas can be seen as stemming from Aristotelian ideas, as he speaks of the two opposing musical branches, the nostalgic past and the pull of the unknown future In many ways the essence of Boulez essays are not about reaching an ideal purely in thoughts and ideas, but a sincere wish for action not reaction This seems to be the difference between a Platonic search for philosophical Truth in fact Boulez even says there is no natural truth and Aristotle spractical writing A lot of Aristotle s writings seem logical to the point of scientific, even when covering cloudy aspects like the soul which he also divides into two Then looking to Boulez two aspects of sound as potential and actual , also to his reflection of the general versus the individual , a definite parallel can be seen Everything about Boulez s ideas boils down to a balance or synthesis of the binary opposites, finding Aristotle s Golden Mean They are both foxes as well in terms of Isiah Berlin s essay The Hedgehog and the Fox Here Berlin separates people foxes who know a vast range of things, and hedgehogs who knows a lot on one thing Both Aristotle and Boulez look widely and from many different angles to come to their aesthetic conclusions, rather than focusing on one aspect alone The way Boulez has experience as conductor, composer, performer, researcher, to come to his musical beliefs, is just like Aristotle covering areas such as politics, music, pleasure, friendship, to come to his philosophical views I also prefer to see Boulez reflecting ancient Greek philosophy because it reminds me of bacchanalia when he talks of his unifying group consiousness and ideas on losing individuality It is also important to see Boulez reflected in the world he often talks about in his essays science He has much respect for the Max Planck institutes , and aspects of quantum physics do link into music His rephrasing of the musical question to how do we perceive sound in relation to its constituent elements is indicative of how current science has focused on the importance of the observer does the universe exist if we re not looking This is when Boulez talks about active listening , hence the observing listener, the importance of consciousness Boulez also talks of a state of uncertainty in a positive sense, which must have come from the uncertainty principle, where Werner Heisenberg realised that it is impossible for both the position and momentum of a particle to be measured exactly All of Boulez musings on invention seen as irrational hence why people don t immediately combine science with music is like Brownian motion, how the movement of individual particles in water seems chaotic and random at a microscopic level because we cannot calculate every movement reaction, but as a flow seems uniform In fact invention, our mental ideas, come as an infinite number of definite reactions past life experience all adding up to calculable individual nerve impulses , where enough computing power would show it is a definite and logical predictable solution, but we simply don t have the means, hence it seems mysterious.Compared to other books I tried to read this was a real delight, the conversational style purely conveying his heartfelt beliefs The bitesize essays help break up this large book in a similar way to Cage s Silence I guess all collections of essays are in digestable slices , but the downside is that it becomes a tad repetitive Ideas like freedom and flexibility was repeated so often it has become like a mantra, and perhaps Boulez would be happy about this Taken in isolation some of Boulez thoughts seem contradictory For example he talks of individuality becominggeneralised for a unified movement as mentioned before see paragraph 4 , then saying invention is a purely individual act He criticises sounds developing alone without adapting to a musical idea, yet in another essay insists on the importance of sounds purely as sounds alone However, each section sends a very clear message and different aspects refer to different contexts and aims in each essay.When he talks of classical music as taking people back to their youth it is a concept I cannot agree withperhaps because I am still a youth and cannot see this from a different angle However I definitely don t think all classical music is a reminder of youth and memories, this is a generalisation that is unsubsantiated perhaps Boulez himself has particular happy memories associated with certain pieces but this is so subjective I don t think he can claim such a universal thing Another view I find hard to swallow is that there is no natural truth Just because different cultures and their music developed in different ways it doesn t rule out a natural truth There simply IS a truth, surely the harmonic series is an example of this, but this ultimate Truth is not fully graspable by Man, so he expresses what he can grasp of the truth in his own way But this truth is the base of all things, not even just music which is organised nature but Man himself is created by nature, as is all reality It should not be possible to deny truth in anything.Boulez refuses to give exact directions for how we can achieve his ideas for action in the musical world, however at no point does he pretend to be a manifesto or a manual, so this is also a positive thing It gives us a base to take in his ideas how we like, and act in our own individual way His concepts can be seen in non musical situations, such as working together for a longer term goal the feedback loop of composer performer, then musician audience, is just like James Lovelock s Gaia hypothesis, which sees Earth as part of the feedback loop keeping us alive One cannot exit without the other, just like the different parts of the music world composer, performer, audience, and maker As Brian Greene states at the end of the elegant universe , As we collectively scale the mountain of explanation, each generation stands firmly on the shoulders of the previous, bravely reaching for the peak Whether any of our descendants will ever take in the view from he summit and gaze out on the vast and elegant universe with a perspective of infinite clarity we are fulfilling our art, contributing our rung to the human ladder reaching for the stars.How can I summarise this book which constantly seems to want to expand Perhaps the most important thing about this is that it talks to everyone, all people, not restricted to musicians even It is an honest look in the mirror at humanity itself, facing the parts that are not working so they can be fixed But he never pretends to be above anyone else, never preaches or orders us to act how he believes we should Instead he leaves room for us to figure out in our own way how we should develop the musical world It is all about give and take, the composer needs performers to bring a potential piece of music into actuality, and they both in turn need a public to hear their voice, who in turn need to hear an expression of their current time, the world today The composer performer audience chain like a series circuit each needing to work towards the same goal for the bulb to light, and when one element does not function misunderstandings occur and contemporary music gets the squeaky gate title When everyone is in phase things work better and faster it is the same is schools, by agreeing on a method of teaching throughout a department there are no mixed messages and the knowledge is passed onthoroughly to the pupils Of course in any age we have rose spectacled people who believe the past was better, music of the past periods, even Plato writes of the impolite youths of his day Although Boulez can be enjoyed by everyone, perhaps it is most important for us youth to read it he has confidence in the young too We have the most chance to evolve our views before stepping into the world, the most empty space in our heads which can be filled with a bigger purpose The world is ours to change

  2. Mick Bordet Mick Bordet says:

    Packed with interesting views about music that, despite being written 40 years ago, mostly holds true today It took me quite a while to get through the whole book, as several times I went back to re read earlier essays in the collection that had sparked a chain of ideas On the other hand I also found the mid section about other composers a bit stodgy, which is probably because most of them I had very little interest in or was unfamiliar with the particular pieces Boulez was discussing.

  3. Ethan Frederick Ethan Frederick says:

    For the most part, the insights within this collection remain startlingly applicable to contemporary music.

  4. Yuval Yuval says:

    Terrific writings well worth the re visit.

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