He couldn’t have found a more apt description of the process that led to Le Marteau sans maître in When Boulez talks about “making. After sur Incises, Dérive 2 (/) is Boulez’s most extended recent work. Like sur Incises, it is a sonic firework display in which three groups of relatively. With Le Marteau sans maître, year-old Pierre Boulez achieved his decisive breakthrough as a composer in Among his best-known.
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Before Le MarteauBoulez had established a reputation as the composer of modernist and serialist works such as Structures IPolyphonie Xas well as his infamously “unplayable” Second Piano Sonata Jameux b In Boulez revised the order of these movements and interpolated three newly composed ones Mosch44— In addition, the movements were grouped in two closed cycles: The first movement, though fundamentally the same composition, was originally scored as a duet for vibraphone and guitar—the flute and viola were added only in the revision—and numerous less significant alterations were made ,arteau playing techniques and notation in the other movements Siegele8—9.
Boulez’s work was chosen to represent France at this festival.
Boulez: Le Marteau Sans Maître; Dérive 1 & 2, Summers/ Ensemble InterContemporain/ Boulez
The first performance was given on 18 June conducted by Hans Rosbaudwith Sybilla Plate as the solo singer Steinegger— Boulez, notorious for considering his works to be always “in progress”, made further, smaller revisions to Le Marteau inin which year Universal Edition issued an engraved score, UE In the years that have followed, it has become Pierre Boulez’s most famous and influential work Hughes[ not in citation given ].
The remaining movements are instrumental extrapolations of the other four:. These movements are grouped into three cycles by Boulez. Movements V and IX make up the third cycle. It is well known that Boulez is reluctant to explain his own compositions.
When asked to supply program notes for the first performance of Le Marteau in at the Baden-Baden International Society for Contemporary Music, Boulez laconically wrote, as quoted by Friederich Saathen: The text is partially sung, partially interpreted through purely instrumental passages.
Despite having been published in andanalysts were unable to explain Boulez’s compositional methods until Lev Koblyakov in Heinemann This is partially due to the fact that Boulez believes in strict control tempered with “local indiscipline”, or rather, the freedom to choose small, individual elements while still adhering to an overall structure compatible with serialist principles.
Boulez opts to change individual notes based on sound or harmony, choosing to abandon adherence to the structure dictated by strict serialism, making the detailed serial organization of the piece difficult for the listener to discern Lerdahl97— The instrumentation was quite novel for Western music at the time, lacking any kind of bass instrument, and drew some influence from the sound of non-Western instruments. The xylorimba recalls the African balafon ; the vibraphonethe Balinese gamelan ; and the guitarthe Japanese kotothough “neither the style nor the actual use of these instruments has any connection with these different musical civilizations” “Speaking, Playing, Singing” in Boulez Boulez chose the collection with a continuum of sonorities in mind: The purpose is to allow a graduated deconstruction of the voice into percussive noises, a compositional technique which has been common throughout Boulez’s work e.
The voice and five pitched instruments can be arranged in a line, each pair connected by a similarity, as in the following diagram quoted from Grondines There are also deliberate similarities to Arnold Schoenberg ‘s song cycle, Pierrot Lunaire Jameux a19one of which is that each movement chooses a different subset of the available instruments:.
The opening of the third movement in the flute is typical of the difficulties required of mrateau including wide range, large leaps, and complex rhythms:.
Boulez uses many serial composition techniques, including pitch multiplication and pitch-class association. Boulez groups these notes into five sets according to five different rotations on the pattern 2—4—2—1—3, reflecting the highly mathematical nature bouldz which this piece is composed. Using the five possible rotations of this pattern, Boulez creates five rows of five ssans each:.
Using these 25 groups in conjunction with pitch multiplication, Boulez is able to create 25 “harmonic fields” within each set. Koblyakov in his analysis assigns a letter to each cluster within a set, such that two sets multiplied together can be notated as “aa,” “bc,” “ed,” etc.
Koblyakov5. Boulez’s form of pitch multiplication can be thought of more as pitch addition. With this technique, Boulez takes two clusters and takes the sum of every possible pairing between the two clusters.
For example, if we were to multiply groups b and c within set I, we would have the following:. Boulez then eliminates any duplicate pitches, which in houlez case would leave us with the set 11 10 7 8 2 1.
For the first 11 measures, Maitee mostly sticks to one pitch multiplication set per measure. Mzrteau, Boulez begins to use multiple pitch fields at a time, further complicating the analysis. Koblyakov’s analysis reveals that the harmonic fields Boulez employs at certain parts of the piece are laid out very systematically, showing that the movements’ overall forms are complexly mathematical as well Koblyakov7— Through these movements, especially movement VI, Boulez uses a technique called “pitch-duration association” by Steven Winick.
Winick calls this a pitch-duration association or PDA based on C. As with the first cycle, Boulez’s overall formal structure is quite complex and shows many patterns. Arrangements in pitch order throughout these PDAs reveals many symmetrical and palindromic arrangements, which are further explored both in Winick’s and Koblyakov’s analyses. In addition to coordinating durations with certain pitches, Boulez assigns dynamics and attacks to pitches in a similar manner.
In addition, the first note within a pair receives an attack of some sort—legato for piano and pianissimoaccent for mezzo forte and mezzo pianoand sforzando for forte and fortissimo.
However, while these dynamic and attack associations are consistent enough to be unmistakably deliberate, Boulez returns again to the idea of “local indiscipline” Savage A number of these discrepancies are accounted for by differences among the printed and manuscript sources, but it is impossible to say whether any are deliberate compositional decisions Wentzel— The third cycle consists only of movements V and IX, making it the shortest of the three cycles. However, both of these movements play essential roles in the piece, especially when one takes into account the extreme levels of symmetry and pattern employed by Boulez in his composition of the work.
Movement V occupies the central position in Le marteauand the movement itself may be broken up into six sections. Boulez designates these sections in his tempo markings and orchestrations—the three odd-numbered sections are written only for instruments and marked assez vifwhile the three even-numbered sections are scored for voice and instruments and marked plus large.
Boulez (Le) marteau sans maître
An interesting characteristic of Boulez’s orchestrating during the even sections is that the voice and instruments seem to be in opposition, with the instruments playing similar rhythms and dynamics or at least more similar maitge between the instruments and the voice. In the sections where the voice is not present, the writing for the instruments is more contrapuntal.
Movement Bouulez also uses Sprechgesang while vocal parts in the other cycles do not Koblyakov Movement IX is broken up into three large sections, with the third being broken up further into a number of smaller fragments. The first large section includes variations of quotations from the central movements of all three cycles movements III, V, and VI along with the text from movement 5.
The movements are quoted in reverse order i. mrateau
The second mrteau section, also the main section of the movement, includes a voice part without text and is built on a similar set of PDAs as the second cycle of Marteau while also drawing on movement V.
The harmony for this section is interesting in that Boulez entirely avoids minor seconds as well as bboulez thirds though their inverse, major sixths, are used instead.
Unisons are used very rarely Koblyakov The third section of movement IX serves as both a coda to the movement and to the piece. It is scored only for flute and percussion. Another interesting characteristic of movement Martequ is that all of its tempos are drawn from previous movements. Tempo shifts also almost always increase by a ratio of 1.
The red caravan on the edge of the nail And corpse in the basket And plowhorses in the horseshoe I dream the head on the point of my knife Peru.
The step has gone away, the walker has fallen silent On the dial of Imitation The Boylez throws its instinctive load of granite.
I hear marching in my legs The dead sea waves overhead Child the wild seaside pier Man the imitated illusion Pure eyes maitrre the woods Are searching in tears for a habitable head. It is a work in which marreau can also hear the profound influence of extra-European music, sanx all from Asia and Africa.
Perhaps later the second line and the third will be familiar, but one mustn’t try to hear them in the tonal-harmonic sense” Stravinsky and Craft Stravinsky said that repeated hearings, through the availability of recordings, would aid performers more quickly to overcome maltre difficulties presented by the music: As it is this same Marteauconsidered so difficult to perform a few years ago, is now within the technique of many players, thanks to their being taught by record” Stravinsky and Craft Writing some 40 years since Le Marteau first appeared, composer and music psychologist Fred Lerdahl criticized Koblyakov’s approach to analyzing Le Marteau:.
For one thing, competent listeners to Le Marteaueven after many hearings, still cannot even begin to hear its serial organization, Of course a musician of Boulez’s calibre would not use a compositional system without drawing crucially upon his musical intuition and experience.
CD: Boulez: Le Marteau Sans Maître; Dérive 1 & 2 | Music | The Guardian
Music-generating algorithms alone have always produced primitive outputs; not enough is known about musical composition and cognition for them to succeed.
Boulez had the intellectually less ambitious goal of developing a system that could just produce a quantity of musical material having a certain consistency. He then shaped his material more or less intuitively, using both his “ear” and various unacknowledged constraints. In so doing, he listened much as another listener might.
The organization deciphered by Koblyakov was just a means, and not the only one, towards an artistic end. Lerdahl Lerdahl cautions, however, that “There is no obvious relationship between the comprehensibility of a piece and its value” Lerdahl While considering “complicatedness to be a neutral value and complexity to be a positive one”, and therefore that only musical surfaces leading to complexity employ “the full potential of our cognitive resources”, many kinds of music satisfy such criteria e.
Balinese gamelan because of its “primitive pitch space” and rock music on grounds of “insufficient complexity”, while much contemporary music without specific reference to Boulez “pursues complicatedness as compensation for a lack of complexity” Lerdahl— As a result, Scruton says that, especially where pitches are concerned, Le Marteau “contains no recognizable material — no units of significance that can live outside the work that produces them” Scruton Scruton also feels that the involved overlapping metres notated in the score beg “a real question as to whether we hear the result as a rhythm at all” Scruton Richard Taruskin found “Le Marteau exemplified the lack of concern on the part of modernist composers for the comprehensibility of their music” Taruskin From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
BOULEZ ENSEMBLE XVI – Pierre Boulez Saal
Composition for voice and ensemble by Pierre Boulez.
The composer in The Furious Craftsmanship The red caravan mafteau the edge of the nail And corpse in the basket And plowhorses in the horseshoe I dream the head on the point of my knife Peru. Hangmen of solitude The step has gone away, the walker has fallen silent On the dial of Imitation The Pendulum throws its instinctive load of granite. Stately building and presentiments I hear marching in my legs The dead sea waves overhead Child the wild seaside pier Man the imitated illusion Pure eyes in the woods Are searching in tears for a habitable head.