The Complete Webern Edition
In a century with no scarcity of remarkable figures, Webern
nevertheless occupies a special place. Revolutionary? Certainly, but
without any fuss and with an incredible discretion. Radical? Absolutely,
but with a kind of unworldly naïvete - creating music that gradually
distanced itself from immediate seductiveness to achieve the fascination of
a deliberate asceticism. Purity - of language, of expression, of intention:
this is perhaps the best word for summing up the character of this music,
seemingly sparse yet rich in its multiple repercussions.
|For me and for many other musicians, Webern's works have been an
essential touchstone - one of supreme significance - which has forced us, as
it were, to take sides, to reveal ourselves to ourselves. The composer's
discreet personality has exerted a profound, almost dictatorial influence,
to the point that it became hard to free oneself from it in order to move on.
|His music poses problems to its interpreters that call into question
a good many acquired habits - problems stemming less from its technical demands
than from its extreme concentration of idea and expression. The severe writing
must be invigorated, even exalted by a sensitivity in performance: this
involves a learning process which has been encouraged but not made easier
over the passing years.
||The music of Webern, sensitive in the extreme, has
proved to be an exacting paradigm, like that of few other composers. I believe
it will remain so, permanently etched from now on in the profile of the 20th century.
Pierre Boulez, Paris, October 1999