BOULEZ Pli selon Pli / Schäfer 4713442

Boulez's 40-year-old 'portrait de Mallarmé' remains his most ambitious conception in its uncomporomising elaborations and proliferations. It is nevertheless fundamentally lyrical at heart, with a soprano -- here the supremely refined Christine Schäfer -- singing settings of the great French poet, and the composer's aural imagination is at its most subtle and translucent in this superb recording, the first to include revisions made in the 1980s. This music reaches out towards that idea balance between complexity and immediacy which, for Boulez, is what being true to Mallarmé involves. No more rewarding disc in the contemporary field has been issued this year.