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Lot n° 24

BOULEZ Pierre (1925 - 2016)

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autograph musical manuscript, Le Visage nuptial (1947); 13 folio pages (on 4 double sheets).
Boulez's first major vocal cycle, on poems by René Char.
It was in 1946-1947 that Pierre Boulez wrote the first version of Le Visage nuptial, on a suite of five lyrical poems by René Char, collected in Seuls demeurent (Gallimard, 1945), for soprano, contralto, ondesMartenot, piano and percussion; this version, in two movements, was premiered in 1947. In 1951-1952, he developed a second version with the two soloists, a women's choir and orchestra, which was premiered in Cologne on December 4, 1957 under the direction of the composer, and which was published by
Heugel in 1959; it has never been recorded. But Boulez was dissatisfied, and undertook a new revision of his work, which was completed in 1989.
Manuscript of the second version of the work, here for voice (solo soprano, solo alto and women's choir) and orchestra reduction, written down very carefully in black ink on 32-line paper; it was used for the engraving of the Heugel edition in 1959. The central piece is missing.
The manuscript includes:
I. Conduct (3 p.), marked Assez modéré; très libre;
II. Gravity. The Walled (4 p.), marked Slow;
IV. Escapist (2 p.), marked Moderate, but quite lively;
V. Post-scriptum (4 p.), marked Very slow.
According to Antoine Goléa, Le Visage nuptial is "a work of lava and delirium, of sensuality and supreme lyricism", where Boulez's music is magnificently combined with Char's texts. Dominique Jameux sees in it, "in the quasi-graphic sense of the term, a parable of love [...], of the anxious expectation of the Other (Conduite), of meditation and interiorization before the beloved object (Gravité), of the shared dazzlement of the encounter (Le Visage nuptial), of the serene but already somewhat detached calm that follows (Évadné), of the solitude irretrievably rediscovered in the aftermath of the encounter (Post-scriptum).
BIBLIOGRAPHY Dominique Jameux, Pierre Boulez (Fayard 1984), p. 41-45.
DISCOGRAPHY 1989 version: Pierre Boulez, BBC Symphony Orchestra (Erato 1990).

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