C1447. PIERRE BOULEZ Cond. Cleveland S.O.: Symphony #26 in d (Haydn); Symphony #4 in c (Schubert), Live Performance, 2 Dec., 1972, Severance Hall; PIERRE BOULEZ Cond. NYPO: Gymnopédies Nos. 1 & 3 (Satie); w.Gerard Schwarz: Trumpet Concerto in E-flat (Haydn), Live Performances, 1975-76, Avery Fisher Hall. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-351. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“’Audacity, innovation, creativity — that is what Pierre Boulez was for French music, which he helped shine everywhere in the world’.
Mr. Boulez belonged to an extraordinary generation of European composers who emerged in the postwar years while still in their 20s. They started a revolution in music, and Mr. Boulez was in the front ranks.
But his influence was equally large on the podium. In time he began giving ever more attention to conducting, where his keen ear and rhythmic incisiveness could produce a startling clarity. (There are countless stories of him detecting faulty intonation, say, from the third oboe in a complex piece.) He reached his peak as a conductor in the 1960s, when he began to appear with some of the world’s great orchestras, like the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra. By the early ’70s, he had succeeded Leonard Bernstein as music director of the New York Philharmonic, an appointment that startled the music world and led to a fitful tenure. It was his reputation as an avant-garde composer and as a champion of new music that prompted his unexpected appointment in New York. After the initial shock at his arrival, there was hope that he might bring the orchestra into the 20th century and appeal to younger audiences. But his programming often met with hostility in New York, and he left quietly six years later. ‘I had to learn about that music, to find out how it was made’, he once told OPERA NEWS. ‘It was a revelation - a music for our time, a language with unlimited possibilities. No other language was possible. It was the most radical revolution since Monteverdi. Suddenly, all our familiar notions were abolished. Music moved out of the world of Newton and into the world of Einstein’. To start on this route, he took lessons in 1945-46 with René Leibowitz, a Schönbergian who had settled in Paris. Soon he was integrating what had been separate paths of development in the music of the previous 40 years: Schönberg’s serialism, Stravinsky’s rhythmic innovations and Messiaen’s enlarged notion of mode. As Mr. Boulez saw it, all these composers had failed to pursue their most radical impulses, and it fell to a new generation - specifically, to him - to pick up the torch.
‘He never ceased to think about subjects in relation to one another; he made painting, poetry, architecture, cinema and music communicate with each other, always in the service of a more humane society’, the office of President François Hollande said in a statement. Even so, the achievements embodied in his published works and recordings are formidable, and his influence was incalculable. The tasks he took on were heroic: to continue the great adventure of musical modernism, and to carry with him the great musical institutions and the widest possible audience.”
- Paul Griffiths, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 6 Jan., 2016
“Gerard Schwarz is one of America's top conductors, particularly noted for championing the first great age of American symphonists. He is also a gifted trumpet virtuoso. He began studying the trumpet at the age of eight. He attended the National Music Camp in Interlochen, Michigan, during the summers of 1958-1960 and studied at New York's High School of Performing Arts. He studied trumpet with William Vacchiano, principal trumpeter of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra (1962-1968). He received his Bachelor's Degree from the Juilliard School in 1972.
He joined the American Brass Quintet in 1965, and with it toured the United States, Europe, and Asia, remaining with the ensemble from 1965 to 1973. He was a trumpeter in the American Symphony Orchestra from 1966 to 1972, becoming its first trumpet in 1969. With that orchestra he played a considerable quantity of new and American music. During this period is was also a member of the Aspen Festival Orchestra and the Casals Festival Orchestra. He was appointed co-principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra from 1972 to 1975. As a trumpet player he made a number of important recordings, many of which are now in the CD catalogues. He was the first wind player to win the Ford Foundation Award for concert artists (1971-1973), which enabled him to commission a trumpet concerto from Gunther Schuller, and commissioned a number of other trumpet works from composers including Dlugoszewski and Brant.
Meanwhile, he pursued a conducting career. In 1968 he began conducting for the Eliot Feld Dance Company, of which he became Music Director. He also was music director of the Waterloo Festival, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. In 1975 he was appointed music director of the 92d Street Y Chamber Symphony, which was later renamed the New York Chamber Symphony, and has maintained that position since. He became music director of New York's Mostly Mozart Festival in 1982. In 1981 he founded the Music Today contemporary music series in New York, serving as its music director through 1989.
In 1983 he was named Music Advisor of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. In 1984 he became its Principal Conductor, and in 1985 its Music Director. With the Seattle Symphony he has become known for having one of the most innovative and wide-ranging programming of any major symphony orchestra, with a strong emphasis on music of the great American symphonic composers such as Hanson, Diamond, Creston, Copland, and their contemporaries, a large amount of which he has recorded. He has guided the orchestra to its highest artistic level, and seen it through construction and occupancy of its new venue, Benaroya Hall. He is also artistic adviser of the Tokyo Bunkamura's Orchard Hall, where he conducts the Tokyo Philharmonic in six concerts annually.”
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com