BOULEZ CONDUCTS MAHLER 4779528

His Mahler recordings, begun in the mid-1990s and presented complete in this 14-CD set, are among his most illuminating confrontations with the music of the past. A composer linked inextricably with modernism, Boulez's inclination is toward clarity, texture, and structure. Among the revelatory aspects of these recordings are the slower tempos he often chooses, allowing little-noticed aspects of the music -- a pungent dissonance, a peculiar instrumental color -- to emerge. Other conductors have done this, with varying levels of success, but few can challenge Boulez's ability to unearth these hidden features without losing sight of a movement's larger form. No performance demonstrates this better than the Seventh Symphony, from which he drew so much inner detail that it will permanently alter the way one hears the piece . . . There's a light, transparent feel to the First and Fourth symphonies, and Boulez is able to draw deep, heartfelt intensity in the Third and Ninth. He's even able to make the unruly Eighth Symphony sound surprisingly well ordered. Perhaps the biggest surprise is how effectively Boulez captures the nostalgic character of the settings of "Des Knaben Wunderhorn." A CD of songs includes the "Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen" cycle, sung with unstinting ardor by the great baritone Thomas Quasthoff . . . It's a marvelous reminder of his artistry at its peak. Finally, it should also be noted that one thing is consistent across the entire set: the marvelous playing that the conductor elicits from four ensembles -- the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Berlin Staatskapelle.

. . . [une] odyssée irrésistible . . . Le cycle entier prend valeur de miroir artistique d'autant plus captivant s'agissant d'un chef compositeur parmi les plus cultivés et les plus affûtés de notre époque . . . [une] intégrale magicienne . . . La baguette claire, équilibrée, volontiers cérébrale, est d'une fièvre maîtrisée et d'une élégance arachnénenne superlative, autant dire que malgré la diversité des orchestres américains (Chicago, Cleveland) et européens (Staatskapelle de Berlin) le maestro suit sa route d'une évidente cohérence, un legs qui frappe par sa maturité, son assise, sa vision très architecturée et finement articulée, ce dès la Titan . . . la perfection de sa métrique, la subtilité de sa gestion agogique : la science et une pudeur spécifique, --retenue et mesure aspirant à la lumière --, dialoguent irrésistiblement avec le "bavardage mahlérien" ; osons même dire que Pierre Boulez lui apporte une rigueur, une concision et une intensité rares qui évitent bien souvent le déballage expansif de la confession a voce sola. Le souffle que le maestro insuffle à l'ensemble de l'épopée mahlérienne force l'admiration. Intégrale événement.