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Absolute Modernity

Paul Driver, 26 September 1991

Gabriel Fauré: A Musical Life 
by Jean-Michel Nectoux, translated by Roger Nichols.
Cambridge, 646 pp., £45, April 1991, 0 521 23524 3
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Pierre Boulez 
by Dominique Jameux, translated by Susan Bradshaw.
Faber, 422 pp., £25, March 1991, 9780571137442
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Stocktakings from an Apprenticeship 
by Pierre Boulez, translated by Stephen Walsh.
Oxford, 316 pp., £40, August 1991, 0 19 311210 8
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... 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 ...

Donald Mitchell remembers Hans Keller

Donald Mitchell, 3 September 1987

... information. Two contributors in the Memorial Symposium touch interestingly on this aspect of FA: Susan Bradshaw, who remarks that Hans’s ‘greatest original invention’ may have been ‘his destined compositional outlet’, and Alexander Goehr, who claims that ‘behind the form of his Functional Analysis stood a being who really wanted to ...

Liberation Music

Richard Gott: In Memory of Cornelius Cardew, 12 March 2009

Cornelius Cardew: A Life Unfinished 
by John Tilbury.
Copula, 1069 pp., £45, October 2008, 978 0 9525492 3 9
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... him to the European avant-garde – Webern, Boulez and Stockhausen – to which his contemporaries Susan Bradshaw and Richard Rodney Bennett were also drawn. The mecca for music students in those days was Stockhausen’s headquarters at Darmstadt, where the ‘Darmstadt Headbangers’, as Tom Lubbock describes them, treated Britten and Shostakovich with ...

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