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Of Folding

An attempt at reading Pierre Boulez's notation (s) 1 (1)


It is always a remarkable point in the history of music. In 1945, Boulez, a 20-y
ear-old, composed a cycle of 12 short piano pieces, each of which has a length o
f exactly 12 bars and whose work is varied in terms of their density, their mate
rial and their methods. In 1978, the Universal Edition publishes a portfolio tit
led notations I - IV pour orchestre, which refers to the abovementioned youth wo
rks, albeit under changed circumstances. The pieces in the version of 1945 are m
ore like a collection of loose, singular structures, the sequence of which has b
een designed according to the idea of film-cut-offs, although their sequence was
determined by binding and numbering by the composer.
Boulez writes this looseness in the text of the orchestral version:
Notations consists of 12 pieces. The individual parts can be listed independently
in any order. The minimum is four pieces selected for the contrast of tempo and
character. In the case of the first four pieces, the order is recommended:
1, 4, 3, 2. "
Already at the first, comparative listening one becomes aware of the difference:
The piano piece notation, one to eight-voice, formally divided into eight small
sections, is presented in the orchestral version, stretched out to 56 bars, by a
large apparatus (consisting of 136 instruments). It is striking that the seriou
sness of unanimity does not appear here. Above all, the density in the vertical
section and the stretching to more than four times the length indicate that it c
an no longer be the simple instrumentation of a piano original. Such a method is
based on the view that a piano piece works as a black-and-white drawing, which
is to be colored in the orchestration. As early as the turn of the century the r
epresentatives of the Viennese school realized that the translation of an abstra
ct, colorless entity into an orchestral set is primarily an aesthetic problem an
d less than a technical one. On various occasions the question was discussed as
to the extent to which coloring already interferes with the model or the colorin
g is necessary to interfere with the original and to what extent one has to remo
ve it. Webern, in the letter of January 1, 1938, to Hermann Scherchen, with rega
rd to his instrumentation of the Bach ricercar from the Musical Sacrifice, had r
elied on the fact that his reading of the motive context, which "in the secrecy
of this abstract presentation by Bach himself, Starting point and motivation of
his work. Webern locates an aspect of the composition of Bach, which, although n
ot immediately perceptible, is nevertheless at work in the work.
To make this point clearer-to lead him to an interpretation-he sees as his task.
In the case of the notation, I understand the adaptation to the orchestral piec
e as the deconstruction of the piano presentation, whereby the original is also
given the possibility of a later extension. Deconstruction, because this concept
provides a search and tracking of possible updates, in which processing and ori
ginal, by means of multiple references, merge into a meaning-basin. In orchestra
tions, the question of the meaningful action also arises with a certain right. T
his may mean that, under certain conditions, an instrumentation clarifies the in
tention of the submission, improves it in its opinion, and in the extreme makes
this submission superfluous. Such a dissolution is not given in notations: the l
onger the acquaintance with both versions, the more clearly one hears the piano
piece like a bone skeleton in the orchestral version - the piece is not a single
d-out composition with different expression but coagulated into the couple.
The original / notation I (1945)
The first four elements (A-D) are related to each other (see p. 65). B, with its
dry descent, responds with a certain negativism A, the two structures breaking
open the musical space by the change of position of B during the exposure phase.

C and D continue this aspect. C has a synchronous version of A and B as its opp
osition element D: the highest position, the most violent dynamics and the great
est density (eight-voice, with a remarkable, striking octave doubling, by the wa
y the only one In the entire piece) in C, followed by the radical karmaticity of
the irregular tonal repetitions of the element D. The phase of reflection of th
e exposed material begins at the center of the piece, at bar 7: E and F can be s
een as further variants of C will. The element G, or G ', can be understood as t
he continuation of the reference, which is still embryonic in C, and which has a
lready been contrasted with respect to the line, but emancipated from the subjec
t. The two-part consistency of G has, as a consequence in the other direction, i
ts root in the above mentioned octave doubling. The point of the strictest refer
ence (H as an ideal reversal of A) marks at the same time the abolition of the c
omposition, as if an approximation to the identity would be a crisis Trigger tim
e flow. The contrapuntal method in the last measure may assume a higher rank in
a conceivable hierarchy of essential equations, for example, the recurrence of c
hords in bars 4, 7, and 8. Element A appears, superficially, only in the first a
nd last bar in its motivic characteristic Present - it acts like a staple. At th
e same time, however, all the figurations which follow also refer to A, so that
the image of the figure from the first to the last bar is governed by the whole
piece. At the moment when the structure of his flip side encounters, the play no
longer wants to continue. It strives, in passing through its duration, to its o
wn stopping.

The processing / notations I (1978)


Element A only occurs in bar 9/10 (wind instruments). At the beginning of the pi
ece, the event is divided into two layers. On the one hand, strings, harps, and
percussions attempt to pave the way for a later street. This texture, structural
ly structured by transposition and multiplication8, is superimposed by a second,
linearly organized development process, which takes place with the aid of B. Th
is is done in three stages (groups of 4 + 3 + 3), whereby the genesis of the mot
ifs of the 2nd violins (supported by blowers) is visible:
(notes...)
Fig. 5 blur the clear rhythmic separation of the two layers: they produce a kind
of partial reverberation, a shadow. This fraying of the contours affects the pe
riphery of those shapes which can be traced back to element A. They seem to prov
ide space and are helpful in the constitution of the introduction, which has bee
n conquered by the orchestral version of the piano version. The following elemen
t B (T. 11/12) intersects the original form and magnification.10 In the bars 1316, Boulez shapes the figure C.11 The opening figure, exposed in bar 13, will em
ancipate in the course of the rest of the play . This circumstance is comparable
to the development of the introduction: since its appearance the opening figure
belongs to the repertoire of the composition, in which it fulfills changing tas
ks. We shall see in the coda how this figuration connects with the counterpart o
f the introduction. The element D (T. 17-21) - with its five dry strings (Contra
-G), packed in the contrabass, and the following E (bar. 22-28), are closer to e
ach other in the orchestral version: the hard contrast, Which prevails between t
hem in the piano version, has now been worked away by the strong vertical densit
y in D and the recurring pre-configuration. The fifth-act group (T. 29-33) formu
lates the decompressed ritardando of the original (T. 8 / 0re- voice: [notes]) a
s a clock pulse (3/8, 3/4, 4/4) .12 G (T. 34-39), already noteworthy in the pian
o, sets a hierarchy: the main voices are brass players, who present the two-part
movement of the original; The secondary voices keep the formations (opening fig
ure, shadow effect) worked out in the previous form parts in evidence. The setti
ng of main and secondary voices, not necessarily derivable from the piano versio
n, reminds of older techniques known from the history of music. In this area, ju

st before the entrance of the Coda, a veiled viewer emerges, as if by a veil. Th


is look, however, has nothing to do with the quote: it is the result of a moldin
g process. If it is to be understood, it requires the linear sequence of bars 133, without which it could not create a fragmentary history. The fact that the c
onsequence of a development in a historical view, which has been traced from his
tory, does not coincide with this historical image, is self-reliant and groundle
ss, is a hindrance to postmodern activity, which often denies us the consistent
action in the material. With regard to its content, the play appears to have led
to this state, which has been defined by traditional means of musical history,
since the beginning of its sounding - a picture appears in the picture.13 The cl
osing part H (bars 40-56) responds in several respects to the first : On the one
hand the exposure of the B-material (T. 3, 2.Violinen) appears as a counter-fig
ure (T.40), which is subjected, as a slowing process, as the head of four wave-l
ike movements (clock groups: 4 + 4 + 4 + 5). On the other hand, the actual figur
e of the element, analogous to A, is again placed at the end of the section (bar
s 55/56, contrabasses); She decides the play. Further, we should point out a ref
erence to the proportion of introduction and coda: the parts are almost exactly
in the ratio 1: 2 (10:21 bars)
Template and editing: a pli, a rhizome?
The relationship between the two patches must be interpreted, especially since t
he transition from the one to the other state has been deflected by important di
rections of impact of the original. The orchestral version has sustained a longlasting effect, especially with regard to contrasts. It appears as an unfolding
of the template, which tries to go out of the same material, but adds another qu
ality to this template. The leveling of opposites accelerates the flow of the co
mposition, makes it more smooth; Although the idea of breaking away is preserved, the
way in which the time passes by in the orchestral section favors a more obstinat
e conclusion. After both versions are extreme expressions of a behavioral strand
, the recognition of one position without consideration of the others is hardly
possible: the piano piece has not been completed by the instrumentation. Instead
of the either- or occurs here the pair, the two-interpretation. This ambivalenc
e in the mind is reflected in the assessment of compositional performance. Since
we know the starting point and the goal15, it becomes possible to follow the pa
th of the fold, 16 and to recognize the fine strategies in the interpretation of
the material.
Notation pour orchestre, as a fold-out of the piano piece, is not, however, a ce
rtain freedom of setting. Boulez 'would not be the only possible solution. In de
tail, the same processes can also be represented differently. Especially with re
gard to the design in the vertical, this system would open very quickly and allo
w for variants which the composer 's established in his functions. The vertical
section thus proves to be a neuralgic point of composition; As a fork in the roa
d, which provides clear solutions. A composer who wishes to follow tact on the b
eat must, under these conditions, decide for one, his way, though the nature of
his wandering adheres to the variable, the strolling. Such a proliferation in th
e harmonic range, achieved technically by multiplication, is several times signi
ficant: the phenomenon of derivation marks a train to the serial. However, the o
riginality of the design system originally conceived in serialism is here broken
open by the influx of arbitrariness. The serial, more literary than musical ori
gin, was in its strictest form a complete representation of combinatorics. Heinz
-Klaus Metzger pointed out that this saturation was system-forming in the mode o
f representation. It has already described the structures as hermetic in the beg
innings of serialism. The attempt to subordinate the musical material to a consi
stent rationalization can be summed up as follows: "The highest attainable degre
e would still be the compositionistically technically long-overdue organization
of the divergent parameters of the sounding phenomenon by total serialization, a
s Boulez and Scockhausen once envisaged. It is, incidentally, the late decay pro
duct of an idea of the French Revolution: Sade was the first to apply the serial princ

iple, in the orgies of his centenaries, to the permutations of the mobile relati
ons between the bodies to the different bodily openings From solo to intimate, a
s it were chamber music groupings to the great orchestra. The transfer of the or
iginally purely sexual idea of seriality, the object of which was human beings, to the
comparatively uninteresting material of the musical tones, allows the entire co
unterrevolutionary descent of art to be measured. "

[FINAL PARA]
If, on the one hand, the harmonic technique is rhizomatic in the notations pour
orchestre, on the other hand, the piano and the orchestral version also form a r
hizome. The recycling of a youth work is probably not meant as a task of composi
tional claim. This kind of staged relegation of older material into a more recen
t work process proves to be a program: the older, more experienced composer answ
ers the younger one, who perhaps could not yet see the consequences of his setti
ng. This game with the once and now touches but also a basic problem of postmode
rne. Their definitions are extremely disparate and contradictory. If one assumes
that the modem is overcome in it, the liberation from the dogmatism of the mode
m is supposed to be reached, which makes the artist appear to be "uninhibited."
The dream, of not being obliged to return from the duty to return behind once at
tained positions, signifies an attitude which was already skeptical of the modem
. However, modernity is by no means complete with regard to its relevance. If th
e distinction between "modern" and "postmodern" is meaningful at all, it is only
because modernity has owed us its radicalization. This postmodern drugginess wi
ll all too often come under the table. The continuation and redeeming of moderni
sm is posed by Postmoderne as a task - some of this seems to have been successfu
l in the work on notations.