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Commentary

10 Oct 2004

Daily Telegraph Interviews Pierre Boulez

Mistakes? I've made a few... (Filed: 04/10/2004) Pierre Boulez, the greatest and most uncompromising composer-conductor of our time, is mellowing as he approaches 80. He talks to Ivan Hewett However hard one normally prepares for interviews, there's always the feeling...

Mistakes? I've made a few...
(Filed: 04/10/2004)

Pierre Boulez, the greatest and most uncompromising composer-conductor of our time, is mellowing as he approaches 80. He talks to Ivan Hewett

However hard one normally prepares for interviews, there's always the feeling that with Pierre Boulez one has to try that bit harder.

This is, after all, the fiercely polemical grand maître of the musical avant-garde, the man who once wrote that any composer who did not follow the serial method of Schoenberg was USELESS (his capitals, not mine), the man who once declared that he'd like to blow up all opera houses.

His book On Music Today, which sets out to formalise the language of music, is famously difficult (or at least famously obscure). And for 20 years or so he was leader of IRCAM, the world's most lavishly funded musico-technological research institute, built in Paris at the behest of President Pompidou himself, with whom Boulez was on tu-toi terms. And, as if that weren't enough, he's sought after as a conductor of extraordinary fastidious ear and structural command by the world's most prestigious orchestras, from Cleveland to Vienna.

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