Posts Tagged ‘Pierre Boulez’

Desmond Painter. Boulez, oorspronklikheid en tradisie

Thursday, November 4th, 2010
Pierre Boulez

Pierre Boulez

Pierre Boulez is een van die groot ikone van die 20ste-eeuse musiek. Beroemd (en dikwels berug) as komponis, dirigent, teoretikus, polemikus, en ook as kampvegter vir nuwe musiek, was Boulez nog altyd ‘n verdelende figuur: ‘n man wat musikale grense getrek het en skeidslyne soms absolutisties, amper puriteins in stand kon hou, maar wat terselftertyd ook ‘n verskuiwer en vernietiger van grense was, ‘n konstante bron van musikale kreatiwiteit, vernuwing en inspirasie. Boulez is ‘n vreemde fenomeen: ‘n swaargewig in die klassieke musiek establishment wat neus optrek vir Schubert en Brahms, maar wat Frank Zappa se orkesmusiek opgeneem het…

En nou is die enfant terrible van die Franse musiek, hierdie tydgenoot van filosofiese eweknieë soos Barthes, Foucault en Derrida, 85 jaar oud. In ‘n onderhoud wat Philip Clark onlangs vir die tydskrif Gramaphone met Boulez gevoer het, word kwessies van oorspronklikheid, artistieke vernuwing en die tradisie telkens weer aangespreek — op maniere wat ek dink nogal insiggewend sal wees vir skeppende mense in enige dissipline. Hier is ‘n paar lekker polemiese aanhalings: “It is not enough to deface the Mona Lisa because that does not kill the Mona Lisa. All art of the past must be destroyed.” “The more I grow, the more I detach myself from other composers… in my opinion we must get rid of [history] once and for all.” “We need to restore the spirit of irreverance in music.” En dan wonder jy waarom die maestro eerder Zappa as Beethoven dirigeer?! En verbeel jou nou Boulez het gesê “digkuns” eerder as “musiek”…

Nie dat Boulez ahistories en akontekstueel dink oor die kreatiewe proses en die betekenis van die kunswerk nie; glad nie. Hy sê byvoorbeeld: “The aim of music is not to express feelings but to express music. It is not a vessel into which the composer distills his soul drop by drop, but a labyrinth with no beginning and no end, full of new paths to discover, where mystery remains eternal.” En oor sy eie komposisies: “When I compose, I have Debussy, Stravinsky and Berg in my background. For an audience to listen to my compositions, it must have the same background as that.” Hier beroep Boulez homself op ‘n spesifieke, kuns-teoreties gefundeerde tradisie, nie op Die Tradisie nie. Vir Boulez is dit nie net moontlik nie, maar noodsaaklik vir enige kunstenaar om sekere elemente van Die Tradisie radikaal te verwerp. 

Philip Clark, die Gramaphone onderhoudvoerder, maak in hierdie verband ook ‘n interessante opmerking oor die verskille tussen Boulez en daardie ander groot musikale rebel, John Cage (terloops, Boulez dink nie veel van Cage se werk nie): “Cage defined himself as an anarchist and largely x-ed himself out of the classical slipstream. But Boulez tackles the problem of tradition head-on, insisting that the most traditional thing about tradition is the inner dynamic of its radicalism; its relentless evolution towards now. Composers who, in the name of tradition, freeload off the hard-earned expressive language of their forefathers distort tradition. As Boulez tells me, ‘the more you are adventurous, the more you must be critical’. But Boulez has kept the faith, and remains the conscience of Western tradition. Like all Popes, of course, there have been hopelessly weak disciples and times when purist doctrine has obscured other worthwhile gospels (apropos Cage and Feldman). So it’s no surprise that Boulez’ Big Church finds room for Ravel, Szymanowski and Mahler, alongside progressive, thoughtful New Music. Post-modern sinners at the money temple? Repent, for tomorrow is now.”