|P.Boulez, Piano Sonatas, |
For less erudite or less theoretically inclined ears, what remains is a jumble of sound, an intellectual challenge. And yet, I cannot but enjoy the music utterly. Of course, the enjoyment is not quite the same as when listening to a middle Beethoven sonata, or even a late one, but anyone who knows what it takes to learn to like LvB's op. 92 string quartet, a work as austere as Boulez's sonatas are (seemingly) erratic, is on his way to find entertainment, solace, pleasure in these keyboard paintings. If looking at Barnett Newman's work can fill you with an inexplicable sense of awe (what a gorgeous white—look at the evocative power of the red stripe down the middle!)—and it does, to me—you will likely enjoy these works, so engagingly and convincingly told by Boulez's hand-picked pianist Paavali Jumppanen. I remember listening to Debussy preludes for the first couple of times with similar enjoyable incomprehension. Not the music counted then, but the faintly grasped, hardly understood pictures it evoked.
If this does not sound like a ringing endorsement, it's because this music—quite obviously—is not for everyone. But those seeking an expansion of both their musical and mental horizon via Boulez ought to treat themselves.