This upcoming recording will be the 1st to cover Boulez's complete piano work, 3 sonatas plus early & recent short pieces.
Marc Ponthus is the first soloist to have done live performances covering the complete piano music of Pierre Boulez (before the publication of Incises and une page d’éphéméride). These performances took place in New York, Boston, and at the BBC in London.
The work of Pierre Boulez as a whole and his piano music particularly, represent a creative achievement that resonates in the music of our time, and across any period. Boulez is one of few artists whose work exploded the limits of Music and in a larger sense of Art, in the middle of the 20th century. Our understanding of musical language and of formal structures was fundamentally altered. His work continues to be a highly dynamic part of the larger culture.
The impact this music can have on a larger audience, and the connection with the music’s degree of complexity, lays in its organic power, that a non-specialize audience can perceive intuitively. The audience is also aware of the degree of commitment that a performer engages with the work, which, if done with some level of realization, does not permit gratuitous affect or manipulation, and leads to a more real experience of music and of performance. There is some sense of mystery on how great complexity can transform into outward power. It cannot be fully explained or understood.
The extreme demands Boulez puts on the performers, in the second sonata, is the necessary charge permitting to enter a musical space of great complexity, the very experience of performance and of unyielding time. What is at times an extreme, propelling energy transforms at other moments of his music into a very supple and flexible movement of time. The profoundly sensuous quality of his writing is often overlooked, in part because performers must deal with this high degree of complexity. The intellectual and mental demands, in a work such as the third sonata, moves the performer and the listener into a world of imagination and an exquisite sonic space.
During a conversation with Pierre Boulez, he suggested that I experiment with a second piano to approach better the rendering of the unusually exacting notation, especially regarding overtones and resonances. Consequently, after a couple of experiments in different directions, I decided to work with natural, acoustical sound, rather than with electronic assistance. For this, the New York Steinway Concert Department built for me a pedal extension that permits me to control the dampers of the second piano as I play on the first piano. With a careful positioning of both pianos, the principal piano with its lid taken off, and the secondary piano with a stick extension that provide the most effective angle, the possibility to control and modulate the overtones and resonances have clearly advance the realization of a work that is unique, and a particular acoustical challenge. That is in addition to its formal aspect that is both extraordinarily free and adventurous, as well as exacting in its concept and notation. As a performer, when approaching moments of realization of such a work, the illusion of operating on a rarified creative region is nothing short of magical. It carries an exhilarating affect, not in spite, but because and through the mental and acoustical charge. I felt that very sharply when I performed Constellation-Miroir at the BBC some years ago. That part of the 3rd sonata is constructed in the manner of a labyrinth. There are very many different ways of traversing the work, going from one small structure to the next, each different arrangement of these structures affecting the morphology (a computer can figure out a few thousand different ways). The performer, usually, figures out one single way through the maze that works, and can be actually done, and prepares it in advance (one can take many directions that does not permit to complete the work, where one gets lost in the maze). I had performed the work a few times, and when preparing it for the BBC, I decided to prepare a few options, that I could opt during the performance. This added a degree of mental involvement that created a special energy, and a mental image that carried some unpredictability, bringing extra adrenaline into the musical adventure.
Although a recording is an apparently more static experience, I, for one, approach recording as I do a live performance, simply with a more controlled environment. The perception of a performance, in its edgy, dynamic energy, must cut through the recording. What I look for is that very essence of what a performance is, the experience and implication of time being projected through the recording, and that can be perceived. The way one approaches the moment of recording as well as the way one edits a recording is of crucial importance (trying to minimize the extent and fragmentation affect of editing). This viewpoint, for me, separates a performance from a more neutral representation, which can flattens the perception, formal, directional and acoustical.
To perform the music of Boulez in concert halls implies going through a particularly intense experience of performance. To record these works brings in other factors and constituents, without moving away from the raw experience of performance.
I will perform the 3rd sonata on August 26 in Beijing, China, at NCPA (the National Center for the Performing Art). Some plans are being made for a performance in the Fall in Baltimore.
at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, at 155th West in Manhattan
I have recorded the 3 sonatas. the 2nd is edited, the 1st and 3rd have not been edited yet (funds needed for that). and I plan to record the 12 notations, Incises (2nd version), une page d'éphéméride, this coming November. that will be all of it.
pledged of $10,000 goal
seconds to go
Jul 6, 2012 - Jul 24, 2012
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Our heartfelt thanks and appreciations for being part of this project and ongoing updates of the project developments.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
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Personalized thank you e-postcard and ongoing updates of the project developments.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
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Pre-release signed 2CDs of the complete Boulez piano Music.Estimated delivery: Jul 2013
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Pre-release signed 2CDs of the complete Boulez piano Music plus a copy of Ponthus's recording of the complete Xenakis piano music and Ravel's "Gaspard de la nuit".Estimated delivery: Jul 2013
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Pre-release signed 2CDs of the complete Boulez piano Music plus a copy of Ponthus's recording of the complete Xenakis piano music and Ravel's "Gaspard de la nuit" plus a video of the making of the Boulez recording.Estimated delivery: Jul 2013
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Pre-release signed 2CDs of the complete Boulez piano Music plus a copy of Ponthus's recording of the complete Xenakis piano music and Ravel's "Gaspard de la nuit" plus a video of the making of the Boulez recording, and an invitation to a party for the release of the Boulez recording.Estimated delivery: Jul 2013