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Q&A

Which of Pierre Boulez's composition(s) are considered unlistenable, and/or the (Modernist) Emperor's New Clothes?

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I can brook listening to Boulez's 3 Piano Sonatas, Le Marteau sans maître, Pli selon pli, and Répons. I've listened to Boulez's OTHER compositions THE PAST 20 YEARS, but nothing else of his resonates with me!

Which Boulez's other compositions do musicologists judge to be merely Modernist balderdash, pretentiousness?

I quote Robert Greenberg (BA Music magna cum laude, Princeton, PhD music composition UC Berkeley) in Great Music of the 20th Century Course Guidebook, p 114:

  • Most Ultraserialist music was created without any thought to how it might be perceived by an actual listener in real time. As a result, it should come as no surprise that most of this music makes no perceivable sense.

  • It is a most unfortunate fact that the seemingly random, frantic ugliness of the vast majority of Ultraserialist music and its rejection by the musical public actually served to reinforce the composers’ sense that they were on to something special. They thought that they were an aesthetic and intellectual elite.

  • In 1999, Boulez was asked in an interview to explain why so few Ultraserial works from the 1950s and 1960s were still performed. Boulez’s response constitutes one of the great understatements of all time: “Well, perhaps we did not take sufficiently into account the way music is perceived by the listener.”

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3 comment threads

x-post https://www.reddit.com/r/contemporary/comments/ux8ptd/which_of_pierre_boulezs_compositions_are... (1 comment)
x-post https://www.reddit.com/r/musiccognition/comments/uv07ei/which_of_pierre_boulezs_compositions_a... (1 comment)
x-post https://musicfans.stackexchange.com/questions/12479/which-of-pierre-boulezs-compositions-are-c... (1 comment)

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