Where does one note begin and another end. Think about Pierre Boulez when he greets you with Sonatine for Flute and Piano, Op. 1 (1946; revised 1949) as danger dances in the air mere moments after the end of the Second World War. Why should music remain the same. The safety of nostalgia never seemed so tempting. The intensity is almost terrifying, yet completely engaging and thrilling.
The accompanying booklet contains a number of quotes from the composer whose defiance is both parts refreshing and informative. Likewise the notes expand and inform on the story of this iconic, disruptive figure in full. In ways the music spanning his early works feels found somewhere in-between the expression of black and white and the explosion of technicolour. While each story is being told it is constantly caught off-guard. His experiments with magnetic tape conjure up a whole other abstraction that is as timeless as it remains radical: Deux études de musique concréte For Magnetic Tape (1951-2). However these words do little justice to the sheer exhilaration of pieces like La Symphonie mécanique musique concrète, for a film by Jean Mitry (1955) as his involvement with France’s Groupe de Recherches de Musique Concrète testifies.
As an addition this brilliant four disc compilation includes music from other composers who occupied a similar orbit, as well as his work as a Conductor – a word that perhaps best describes Pierre Boulez.