Stocktakings : From an Apprenticeship

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Pierre Boulez (born 1925) is a major figure in French musical life, being not only the leading French composer of his generation, but also an outstanding conductor. He is also a prolific writer on music, and this is a translation of his first collection of essays, published in France in 1966. In these essays Boulez worked out many of his most significant ideas about music, and he sets forth his views with characteristic intellectual vigour and acuity. The essays are divided into four parts, the first three concerned with a common preoccupation (aesthetic, technical, polemical), the last a collection of entries intended for a music encyclopaedia. Boulez writes mainly on the giants of twentieth-century music - Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Debussy, Messiaen, Ravel - and he offers penetrating and at times provocative analyses of some of their music and musical styles, such as neo-classicism and serialism. His illuminating comments arise from intimate knowledge of the music, and the resulting collection is an essential document of post-war modern more

Product details

  • Hardback | 348 pages
  • 161.5 x 234.7 x 28.2mm | 716.69g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • music examples, line drawings
  • 0193112108
  • 9780193112100
  • 1,656,586

Table of contents

Introduction; I: In search of a musical aesthetic; II: Towards a technology; III: A few squibs; IV: Entries for a musical encyclopaedia; Postface; Indexshow more

About Pierre Boulez

Leading French composer and conductor and writer on more

Review quote

'crucial document ... The passion behind Boulez's polemics is perhaps the most old-fashioned aspect of these essays - and also perhaps the most admirable.' David Schiff, Reed College, Notes, March 1993 'Walsh's translation not only has the advantage of making musical (and, unlike much of Weinstock's, grammatical) sense but also reads well. The book should perhaps be read mainly for its value as a historical document charting some of the main lines of thought in European music in the period after the Second World War.' Douglas Jarman, Music and Letters, Vol. 73, No. 3, Aug '92 `there are several particular reasons to welcome Stephen Walsh's new translation, whose connotatively neat (and newly allusive) title Stocktakings from an Apprenticeship, usefully facilitates its separate identification ... Readers will benefit from Walsh's careful footnoting ... This assistance helps to establish a more informed understanding of the nature of Boulez's enterprise ... Stephen Walsh's new translation is of considerable help to the reader. Its quality of straightforwardness and general fluency is evident' LMusical Times 'an enlightening source of information on Boulez's position within the French literary tradition. Stocktakings is a major work, clarifying Boulez's discovery of sound worlds, his "apprenticeship" as a composer, and his place within contemporary artistic circles.' Fiona Richards, Goldsmiths' College, Modern and Contemporary France, No. 49, April 1992 'Throughout, one is impressed by Boulez's assuredness, his meticulous assessment of the musical score, his determined if narrow vision of the "right" path to the musical future.' F. Goossen, University of Alabama, Choice, Apr '92 `Stephen Walsh's translation of Relevds d'apprenti is excellent and fulfils the need for a much more lucid and more available text than was formerly the case. Jonathon Harvey, Times Literary Supplement 'the quality of Walsh's work is itself a salient reason for acquiring this volume ... this translation amounts to a much-needed critical edition of the Releves - meticulously referenced and footnoted, and encompassing such details as can be traced of the revisions made by Boulez when the collection was published in book form ... The result is a tour-de-force of the translator's art, unselfseekingly equal to the restless protean virtuosity of the pronouncements of Young Boulez Rampant. Virtually everything else is essential reading; indeed the whole book is studded with passages that absorb, provoke, fascinate, and enchant in their voracious cultural awareness, breadth of reference, and keenness of insight.' Malcolm Hayes, Temp, 3/92 `These jibes, japes and brilliant theoretical flourishes date from his twenties and early thirties. But Stephen Walsh's translation at last makes one of the century's key musical books available in strong, supple English.' Paul Griffiths, Times Saturday Review `a new translation - an impressive job by Stephen Walsh - of Boulez's first (1966) gathering of manifestos and trenchant analyses.' London Review of Books `...there are several particular reasons to welcome Stephen Walsh's new translation, whose connotatively neat (and newly allusive) title stocktakings from and Apprenticeship, usefully facilitates its separate identification. ...Stephen Walsh's new translation is a considerable help to the reader. ...few composers can ever have possessed so radical a sense of music history and given it such complete definition as Boulez achieves in these pages. ...Its welcome reappearance in this considered and scholarly translation will meeet needs in both respects.' David Wright, The Musical Timesshow more

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