The concert begins with Debussy’s Syrinx (1913). Only around three minutes in length, it was the first significant solo flute piece composed since 1763, and opened up the instrument to greater prominence in the twentieth century. With an emotive heft and great potential for interpretation, it is an indispensible gem. Boulez’s Mémoriale (1985) picks up where Debussy left off, with the flute leading the ensemble. This will be a communion between the two sides of the twentieth century.
The line-up continues with two pieces by Boulez’s acolytes – Pintscher and Yann Robin. The former’s Choc (Monumento IV) (1996) has already become something of a modern classic. Inspired by a line of Arthur Rimbaud’s poetry – “Music, veering from the abyss and the shock of icicles against the stars” – it is a piece that pierces and shatters, moving through the whole gamut of emotions in a mere twenty minutes. Robin’sAsymétriades (2014), which centres around the double bass, has a compositional rigour that places him firmly in Boulez’s footsteps.
Finally, there will be a chance to hear one of Boulez’s very finest pieces, Sur Incises (1996). Scored for three pianos, three harps and three tuned percussion instruments, it teems with colour and feeling, refracting the ideas of an earlier piano piece into an entire universe of sound. As proof that contemporary music can still be suffused with wonder, there is little else like it.
|What||Boulez at 90: Ensemble InterContemporain|
|Where||Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Barbican (underground)|
On 28 Apr 15, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Website||Click here to book via the Barbican’s website|