A new recording of the carefully refined, endlessly revised oeuvre of Pierre Boulez is always worth celebrating, but this one stems from a source hitherto unknown in the composer’s own instrumentarium: the recorder. In 2011 Boulez granted special permission to the Dutch recorder virtuoso Erik Bosgraaf to make his own transcription of the spectral adventure in musical space that is Dialogue de l’ombre double, originally composed for clarinet (and pre-recorded/live electronics). A later piece along similar lines, Anthèmes II for violin has become better known, but Dialogue weaves its own theatrical magic.
Boulez’s eyesight is sadly reduced as he approaches his 90th birthday, and his compositional activity is at a standstill, so this new transcription is a moving celebration of the composer’s decisive contribution to postwar culture, and one to which he has happily given an imprimatur, as Bosgraaf writes in the booklet: “I noticed that Mr Boulez liked the texture right away. And he told me why. It reminded him of the origin of the piece, which was a rain song in South East Asia, where they applied a similar kind of melody technique with the human voice.“
To complement Dialogue de l’ombre double, Bosgraaf and Tamminga have created their own Dialogues between acoustic and electronic media which they call ‘Comprovisations’, in which little is written down, but much agreed beforehand thanks to the deep understanding and seven-year partnership between the two musicians. Tamminga uses software (and it should be remembered that nearly all sophisticated music software owes its origin to the work of the French institute IRCAM established by Boulez as a centre of acoustic and electronic research) to capture, mutate and feedback Bosgraaf’s recorder. As Bosgraaf remarks of this fascinating release, “The food is freshly prepared every time; it doesn’t come out of the microwave.“
The world premiere of an important work by Boulez, in a new arrangement!
Recorder virtuoso Erik Bosgraaf was personally granted permission to arrange for recorder Boulez’ “Dialogue de l’ombre double”, originally for clarinet and electronics. Bosgraaf says: ‘I noticed that Mr Boulez liked the texture right away. And he told me why. It reminded him of the origin of the piece, which was a rain song in South East Asia, where they applied a similar kind of melody technique with the human voice.’ The result is a dynamic interplay between Bosgraaf’s recorder and the fascinating electronic timbres and colours.
The second work on this release is a musical dialogue between Bosgraaf and electronic wizard Jorrit Tamminga, creating unheard-of sounds of the recorder interwoven in electronic sound tapestries.
A great addition to the Boulez discography! And a testimony of the versatility of Erik Bosgraaf, equally at home in Baroque as in contemporary music, always curiously finding new expression possibilities for his instrument.