Monday Tune: Pierre Boulez, Piano Sonata No. 1


It’s Monday night and I am already so tired I could swear it is Friday – well, I figured I would post a tune for all of you tired instructors of young and impressionable minds – something special to cheer you up: Pierre Boulez, Piano Sonata No. 1 (performed by Pierre-Laurent Aimard). 

 

From Musical Quarterly, 60:2 (1974), 319:

Piano Sonata No. 1 (1946) is a two-movement work of variegated interfaced materials: thin, crystalline motivic fragments, arpeggiated and chordal globs of sound, driving brittle toccatas, and lyrical outpourings of tantalizing beauty. The music is propelled through constantly changing meters and tempos, sometimes unfolding accentless melismas, or pausing to savor a particularly delicious sonority. Without suggesting that this is a derivative work, the influence of Debussy (textural clarity, juxtaposition of materials in a convincing though hard-to-explain succession, and delight in a single sonority), Stravinsky, Messiaen, and even Bartok (motoric, additive rhythms) and Webern (pitch determination and the opposition of registers) are more apparent here than in subsequent compositions.

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