Music Lessons: The Collège de France Lectures, Boulez
Editors: Jonathan Dunsby, Jonathan Goldman, Arnold Whittall
Format: Hardcover, 688 pages
Publisher: University of Chicago Press (2019)
Music Lessons marks the first English publication of a groundbreaking group of writings by Pierre Boulez, presented and prepared for the Collège de France between 1976 and 1995. Inside, Boulez — long central to the conversation around contemporary music — offers a sustained intellectual engagement with themes of creativity in music, exploring the processed through which musical ideas are realized in full-fledged compositions, the complementary roles of craft and inspiration and the degree to which the memory of other musical works can influence and change the act of creation. Boulez also gives a penetrating account of problems in classical music, such as the often-crippling conservatism of established musician institutions.
Woven into the discussion are stories of his own compositions and those of fellow composers whose work he championed, including a range of twentieth century composers exemplifying late romantic, impressionist and serialist styles.
Also included are a foreword by famed semiologist Jean-Jacques Nattiez — a close collaborator and friend of the composers — and an illuminating preface by Jonathan Goldman. Retaining Boulez’s fierce convictions, cutting opinions and signature wit, Music Lessons is an essential and entertaining volume.
About Pierre Boulez:
Pierre Boulez (1925–2016) was a French composer, conductor and music theorist. He conducted with major orchestras in the United States and Europe, including the Cleveland Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Berlin Philharmonic. Over his career he won 26 Grammy® Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences — 8 of which were recorded with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He received the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. He was appointed as principal guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1995; in 2006, he became its Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus.