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  • Author or Editor: François-Gildas Tual x
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After his studies with Messiaen recompensed with a first prize in Harmony, the young Pierre Boulez joined Simone Plé-Caussade's conservative fugue class and produced an exercise in the style of the Music for strings, percussion and celesta. At that time, he received as comments a brief warning: “Yes, Bartók is a nice boy, but the light comes from the ancient masters”. Boulez kept only few memories from this course but never stopped to defend Bartók's scores, including them in the program of Domaine musical before recording them with the BBC, New York and Chicago orchestras. More than just an admiration, his music demonstrates more or less influences from the Sonata for two pianos and percussion, of which he finally did appreciated its exceptional rhythmic freedom (1948). A rhythmic originality analyzed by Karlheinz Stockhausen some years later (1951). About Le Marteau sans maître, he has not hidden to be indebted to some resonant arrangements from Music for strings, percussion and celesta. An admiration sometimes mixed with some critical judgements. Why is the Hungarian compositor not more present in his writings? Perhaps Boulez was embarrassed by the idea of compromise, mentioned by René Leibowitz in an important article (1947). Author of the leaflet on Bartók, in the Fasquelle encyclopaedia, Boulez, who did not understood the reasons why the folklore aspect over passed the success of composer-creator, wrote: “from the ancient world, of which he cannot surmount the contradictions, he, probably, is the last representative endowed with spontaneity: Generous up to becoming prodigal, cunning up to the risk to appear naive, pathetic and impoverished.”

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