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Pierre Boulez - Rituel And Eclat/Multiples

Boulez: Rituel And Eclat/Multiples
The seven-minute chamber work Eclat (1965) sounds like a direct continuation of the musical world of Pli selon pli, with its shiny percussion sonorities and mesmeric fixity. In 1970, Boulez added a new continuation, Multiples, to the original Eclat, with the intention, he said, of eventually writing a forty-minute piece using ever greater numbers of instruments – though thirty years later he has yet to fulfil this promise and the work remains unfinished. Despite this, the existing torso contains some of his most thrilling music, as the stasis of Eclat is gradually transformed into the propulsive energy of Multiples.

Boulez’s next major work is very different. Composed in an uncharacteristic fit of decisiveness in 1974, Rituel is Boulez’s least typical work, but also one of his most effective. Designed as a tribute to the late Italian composer-conductor Bruno Maderna, the work’s austere soundworld and ritualistic effect is quite unlike anything else in Boulez’s music, achieving an overwhelming effect as an ever-expanding sequence of wind refrains slowly pile up – accompanied by an exotic array of percussion instruments, who supply a constant accompaniment of assorted chimings, bangings and scratchings.

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Rituel; Eclat/Multiples: BBC Symphony Orchestra; Ensemble InterContemporain; Boulez (Sony SK 45839).

Boulez’s recording of Rituel was made with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1976, shortly after his stint as their chief conductor had ome to an end, and this fine performance offers eloquent proof of their long and fruitful association. The Ensemble InterContemporain, which Boulez helped found in 1975, give a characteristically virtuosic account of Eclat/Multiples.

Sheet Music by Boulez