Paul Driver, 26 September 1991
Show More Gabriel Fauré: A Musical Life by Jean-Michel Nectoux, translated by Roger Nichols.
Cambridge, 646 pp., £45, April 1991, 0 521 23524 3Show More
Pierre Boulez by Dominique Jameux, translated by Susan Bradshaw.
Faber, 422 pp., £25, March 1991, 9780571137442Show More
Stocktakings from an Apprenticeship by Pierre Boulez, translated by Stephen Walsh.
Oxford, 316 pp., £40, August 1991, 0 19 311210 8Show More
“... The near-simultaneous appearance of these volumes prompts thoughts on the development of French music out of the last century and into the next. One’s first thought, though, is bound to be: do Fauré and Boulez have anything in common at all? Could two composers linked by nationality ever have seemed at first sight so antipodean? Fauré the Proustian saloniste (an important model for Vinteuil) and Boulez the blazing theorist, for whom even the music of Messiaen was little better than salon music (‘brothel music’ was what he called it); Fauré the apogee of civility, refinement and classicism, and Boulez, the apostle of mathematical determinism and absolute modernity, Fauré the diffident man and cautious innovator, Boulez the scathing polemicist and compulsive revolutionary: these standard conceptions of the respective composers would seem to exclude them from any common ground except that of genius ...”