Boulez Mémoriale; Dérives

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COMPOSERS: Pierre Boulez
ALBUM TITLE: Boulez Mémoriale; Dérives
WORKS: Mémoriale; Dérive 1; Dérive 2
PERFORMER: Fabrice Jüngle (flute); Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain/Daniel Kawka


The lined face of modern music’s elder statesman peers thoughtfully from the cover of this CD. Tucked alongside is a name which at a glance looks like ‘Ensemble Intercontemporain’, Boulez’s own ensemble. In fact it reads Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain. The closeness of the name symbolises the spirit of fervent homage that hangs over the CD. Conductor Daniel Kawka is clearly in awe of Boulez, but fortunately he doesn’t handle the music with reverence. These performances are thrillingly virtuoso, and the recorded sound has an edge-of-the-seat immediacy that beats Boulez’s own recordings.

The CD also contains two miniatures, Mémoriale and Dérive 1, both delicious and yet ultimately melancholic in the way they circle towards their own extinction. By comparison Dérive 2 is on an epic scale. The thought of 50 minutes of Boulez’s nervous glitter made me quail, but the music’s quick-footed variety (including seductive moments in parallel thirds like something out of Chausson) kept my attention. Boulez’s logic may seem fearsome when explained, but in performances as good as these, it carries you irresistibly along.


Ivan Hewett