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Pierre Boulez: Complete Music for Solo Piano / Marc Ponthus, piano

Album Summary

>Boulez, Pierre : Sonata for Piano no 2
>Boulez, Pierre : Notations (12) for Piano
>Boulez, Pierre : Incises, for piano
>Boulez, Pierre : Sonata for Piano no 1
>Boulez, Pierre : Une page d'éphéméride, for piano
>Boulez, Pierre : Sonata for Piano no 3
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Pierre Boulez's solo keyboard output remains heavily weighted in favor of the most radical, intransigent phase of his development - his twenties - although it is no coincidence that these were also his most productive, self-assured years as a composer. As Charles Rosen, one of Boulez's important early interpreters, observed, the piano "is a traditional outlet for experimentation: it allows an immediate control over the musical idea," one that "often indicates at once the nature of the revolution and suggests its limits." Those limits would be reached in earnest with the unfinished Third Sonata, one of the essential termini of the postwar avant-garde project in its most "heroic" phase, and in many respects the decisive venture of Boulez's creative life. On these discs, Marc Ponthus plays all of Boulez's solo piano music, including the expanded 2001 version of Incises.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: The American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York city (07/01/2015); The DiMenna Center, New York City (07/01/2015); The American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York city (2012-12-11_2012-12-12&2013-); The DiMenna Center, New York City (2012-12-11_2012-12-12&2013-).



Reviews

Played with authority
Boulez didn't write much for solo piano. But what he lacked in quantity he certainly made up for in quality. This release contains all six of Boulez's published solo piano works, and it makes for a fascinating program.

All three piano sonatas are included, of course. The 1948 Second Sonata's probably the best known, and (I believe) the most difficult. Yet I heard none of that technical difficulty in Marc Ponthus' playing. Ponthus clearly has a deep understanding of this work, and his interpretation helps clarify some of the denser passages.

According to the liner notes, Ponthus has performed a program pairing Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata with Boulez's Second Sonata. And that makes sense. Boulez used the Hammerklavier as a starting point for his own composition. I'm sure knowing both works intimately informed Ponthus' interpretation of the Boulez sonata.

Ponthus performs the published version of the Third Sonata, which includes two of the five formants, or movements, of the work plus an incomplete version of a third. According to Ponthus, in order to get the effect Boulez wanted, he recorded with a second piano whose dampers he could control via a special foot pedal. The piano he played (with the lid off) affected the freely vibrating strings of the second, creating a subtle sound cloud of overtones.

Ponthus worked with Boulez, discussed the performances of his music with the composer, and is fully invested in the realization of Boulez's vision.

Make no mistake, this is foreground listening all the way and often difficult listening at that. But each playing can reveal something new to the careful listener.
Submitted on 08/22/16 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>Boulez, Pierre : Sonata for Piano no 2
  • Performer: Marc Ponthus (Piano)
  • Notes: The American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York city (2012-12-11_2012-12-12&2013-)
  • Running Time: 28 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1947-1948

>Boulez, Pierre : Notations (12) for Piano
  • Performer: Marc Ponthus (Piano)
  • Notes: The American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York city (2012-12-11_2012-12-12&2013-)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1945

>Boulez, Pierre : Incises, for piano
  • Performer: Marc Ponthus (Piano)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1994-2001

>Boulez, Pierre : Sonata for Piano no 1
  • Performer: Marc Ponthus (Piano)
  • Notes: The American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York city (2012-12-11_2012-12-12&2013-)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1946

>Boulez, Pierre : Une page d'éphéméride, for piano
  • Performer: Marc Ponthus (Piano)
  • Notes: The American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York city (2012-12-11_2012-12-12&2013-)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 2005

>Boulez, Pierre : Sonata for Piano no 3
  • Performer: Marc Ponthus (Piano)
  • Notes: The American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York city (2012-12-11_2012-12-12&2013-)
  • Running Time: 11 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1955-1963