Gerard McBurney, the CSO’s artistic programming adviser, pays tribute to his friend and colleague, Pierre Boulez, who died Jan. 5 at age 90, in an article recently published in the Guardian:
There are all sorts of ways to remember Pierre Boulez.
As a composer of impenetrably difficult music. Or — on the contrary — as a composer of music that washes and tinkles over the head in the most delightfully unstructured way, like gamelan half-remembered in a dream.
As a conductor who changed the repertoire and placed the early 20th-century masters at the centre of our musical solar system. As an organiser of institutions, and a street-fighting theorist and polemicist. As a teacher and mentor, beloved of generations of loyal and adoring students – composers, conductors and performing musicians.
But at this moment I prefer to remember him in another way, as one of the naughtiest of great artists. His humor, like that of many amusing people, is hard to recapture in written words. It depended on his twinkling eyes, his perfect timing, his infectious schoolboy giggle, and his reckless compulsion always to say what the other person would not expect. And, when speaking English, on his Inspector Clouseau accent, which he sometimes played to the hilt.
To read the complete tribute, click here.