Love it or hate it, the world needs stuff like this....
Christian Miller | UK | 02/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rituel is Boulez at his most accesible. An obssesive thredony, rich with oriental resonances, and jazzy 'improvisatory' woodwind polyphony, it owes a great debt to his teacher, Messian. Magical soundscapes of midrange instruments on Eclat and Multiple. As it's one of Boulez's indeterminate pieces (musicial events can be triggered in different orders and dynamics by the conductor), this piece would be best heard live, but retains an expectant tension on the recording. Multiples follows Eclat with vigor and verve. A hint for the uninitiated; listen to a little Boulez at first, and clear your mind of any preconceptions about harmony. Sampling a little each time, one can grow accostomed to his unique sounds, and begin to appreciate the music on its own terms. Personally, I like to listen to Boulez to clear my palette after a heavy meal of Romantic music, but many may find him a little dry.... Ah, well, I like it. Superb performance from the Ensemble. Sound suitably brilliant and clear throughout."
Among the best of Boulez
R. Hutchinson | a world ruled by fossil fuels and fossil minds | 08/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This disc, with either two or three Boulez pieces depending on whether you count "Eclat" and "Multiples" or just "Eclat/Multiples," is one of the best of the select output by the French composer and conductor. One simple rule I have learned is to beware of longer works -- "Repons" at over 40 minutes loses energy and interest (see my review), and "Pli Selon Pli," which is 60 minutes long in the 1969 Sony recording (see my review) and 70 minutes in the latest DG version (see my review) needless to say tests the outer limits of endurance.
"Rituel in memoriam Maderna" (1974/5 -- 25' 19") sustains interest for its entire duration! The BBC Symphony Orchestra tackled this modern work in 1976 with the same enthusiasm they showed in their 1969 recording of "Pli Selon Pli." Opening with a keening oboe over a steady timpani rhythm, it is a static work which fascinates through its creative use of varied percussion and suspense. "Rituel" may be the most Messiaen-ic of all Boulez's compositions, a shifting progression of fifteen tableaus, gradually increasing the size of the orchestra to the midpoint, and then diminishing.
"Eclat" and "Multiples" are performed by Boulez's own Ensemble Intercontemporain. "Eclat" (1965 -- 9'41") opens with piano, and its 15 instruments are divided into two groups -- instruments capable of sustaining tones (flute English horn, trumpet, trombone & strings) as "sonorous background" for a group of soloists, all instruments whose sound dies away (piano, glockenspiel, vibraphone, mandolin & guitar). The slightest familiarity with Boulez reveals that this is a very Boulezian choice of instrumentation, leading to a characteristically Boulezian timbre. I would recommend this brief crystalline work as an ideal introduction to the music of Pierre Boulez. "Multiples" (1966-1970 -- 17'02") is unfinished. We can only hope it remains that way, though the liner notes threaten that it is supposed to be doubled in length when completed. It takes the "Eclat" ensemble and adds nine violas and a basset horn. Louder and more exuberant, it becomes quite different in style and mood than the preceding "part," and variety is a virtue in any Boulez recording.
This disc, part of the fine Sony PIERRE BOULEZ series, can be recommended without reservation -- it makes a great bargain-price introduction to Boulez, and it is an essential addition to a Boulez collection already underway."
Wonderful pieces, best perfomances
roy | israel | 03/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Eclat is a peculiar sound world in which i'v experienced great beauty. the language of this work of art is pure, and the outcome is light and magical. Rituel is probably a masterpiece, and certainly this is the best recorded performance of it i'v ever heard, so do not purchase another cd but this one for Rituel. boulez conducts in this recording and does it so much better than anyone else in this case of his own works."