Boulez is dead.


He created around himself a mythology of radical avant-gardism without ever really putting it into practice in his own work, at least after his early years. His prescriptive view of what was acceptable in new music, and what wasn't, was in my opinion a dead hand on French musical culture for many years. His dismissal of so many things from free improvisation to Xenakis wasn't justĀ a matter of personal opinion but a statement with systematically accrued political clout behind it. This isn't to detract from the many impressive and memorable things he did as a composer and conductor, even if I don't feel personally very involved in most of his compositional work when I hear it. Let's celebrate his passing and that of his generation by looking forward not backward.

(6 January 2016)