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1 3rd June 22:37
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Posts: 1
Default Marteau recordings (was Boulez at Zankel) (may think time spirit singer)

To my knowledge, there have been seven recordings of Boulez's Le marteau sans
maître, four with Boulez conducting. A fifth Boulez recording is due out on
DGG coupled with Boulez's recent Dérive II.

The earliest recordings have never been reissued on CD:

1. A recording made by Robert Craft for Columbia Records later reissued on
Odyssey coupled with a Craft performance of Stockhausen's Zeitmasse. (I think
this was recorded before Boulez's first recording, but I'm not entirely

2. A recording made in the late 50's with Boulez conducting the ensemble of
the Domaine musical with Marie-Thérèse Cahn. This was originally released on
the French label Vega and in the States on Westminster.

The following have been (or will be) issued on CD:

1. Adès 14.073-2

Recorded in 1964 with Jeanne Deroubaix and Boulez conducting the ensemble of
the Domaine Musicale. This is the recording long available in the States on a
Turnabout LP. The Adès CD also includes a performance of Boulez's Sonatine for
Flute and Piano and a performance of Messiaen's Sept Haikai with Boulez

2. Japanese CBS/Sony 73DC-254-6

This is Boulez's 1972 Columbia recording with the Ensemble Musique Vivante and
Yvonne Minton. This set was a 3-CD compilation of all of Boulez's CBS
recordings of his own music up to the date of issue: Pli selon pli, Livre pour
cordes, Rituel, Éclat-Multiples, and Marteau. With the exception of Marteau,
these recordings have all been reissued in Sony's Boulez edition. This
particular compilation went out of print when Sony bought CBS outright and the
Japanese CBS/Sony label disappeared.

3. CBS Masterworks MK 42619 (still in print under this catalogue number but
also in print on French Sony)

Released in 1989, this is a live recording made in 1985 a few days after
Boulez's 60th birthday. The recording was made at a Boulez festival in
Baden-Baden with Boulez conducting the Ensemble InterContemporain. Elisabeth
Laurence is the soloist. The CD also features live recordings of Boulez's 12
Notations for piano and the Second Book of Structures for Two Pianos by EIC

4. DGG (forthcoming)

Boulez and the Ensemble InterContemporain. Coupled with Dérive II.

5. Stradivarius 10028

This is a live performance of Le marteau sans maître that took place in Rome on
Jan. 28, 1961, with Bruno Maderna conducting an ensemble including Severino
Gazzeloni, flutist. (Gazzeloni is also the flutist in Boulez's Domaine
Musicale and Ensemble Musique Vivante recordings of Marteau.) Carla Henius is
Maderna's soloist. The couplings on this disc make it a must for those
interested in Boulez's music. One coupling is a live recording of Boulez
conducting the Deux Improvisations sur Mallarmé in Rome on June 14, 1959, with
Eva Maria Rogner, soprano, and the Orchestra della RAI, Rome. This recording
is in quite decent sound and dates from the period when Boulez had just
completed the Improvisations and was working on the rest of Pli selon pli. A
remarkable singer with a strong clear voice, Rogner was the soprano in all of
the early performances of Pli selon pli, and this is a terrific performance.
The other coupling is a live Figures, doubles, prismes with Bruno Maderna
conducting the Hague Residentie Orkest in Venice on 9/9/68. This is a wild if
ragged performance, much faster than Boulez's commercial recording made two
decades later. Maderna's performance lasts about 15 minutes versus Boulez's
roughly 20 minutes, but Boulez himself would undoubtedly have given a more
"kickass" performance in the late 60's himself. (The 1964 premiere of an
earlier version of Figures with Boulez conducting is strong evidence of this

6. Lorelt LNT 108

Released in Britain, this recording features Odaline de la Martinez conducting
the Lontano ensemble with Linda Hirst. I've never heard of any of these folks,
but Arnold Whittall gave it a fairly enthusiastic review in The Gramophone.
This disc includes a recording of Boulez's First Sonata with a pianist named
Marc Ponthus.

Although I have a copy of the Westminster LP, I only heard Boulez's first
recording once a long time ago. It's also been a very long time since I heard
Craft, but Robert P. Morgan admired its "devil may care recklessness" in his
review of the 1972 Boulez recording in High Fidelity magazine. 1964 Adès and
1985 CBS/French Sony are both very lively performances, but 1972 CBS is pretty
bland and dull although very smooth and polished. Maderna is alert and lively,
if a bit ragged around the edges in a couple spots, and Gazzeloni and Henius in
particular supply some of the most lovely lyrical phrasing I've ever heard in a
Marteau performance (despite her somewhat matronly sounding voice).
If I could only keep one Marteau, it would probably be Adès, but I like Maderna
and 1985 CBS a lot, too. I also have a terrific live Marteau with Boulez,
Bryn-Julson, and the EIC from a European broadcast. Boulez is more "deadly
earnest" in 1964. In 1985 and with Bryn-Julson he's most concerned to let
Marteau's pretty jangling sounds sound. In that sense 1964 and Maderna (and
presumably the old Vega/Westminster and probably Craft, too) are more faithful
do***ents of the intensely earnest spirit of the period that produced Marteau.

-david gable
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