Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sur Incises

I came across this You Tube video of Pierre Boulez doing a kind of presentation of parts of his piece Sur Incises. It reminded me how much I love this piece. The audio quality of the You Tube video does not really do it justice, but I thought I would post it anyway.

The ensemble is very unique - 3 pianos, 3 harps and 3 percussionists (usually playing vibraphones). The combined sound is something so wonderful - a white crystalline sound world, sometimes shimmering with an ethereal beauty, other times pulsing with brutal primal rhythms.

I would highly recommend checking out the real recording, but even that cannot match how this piece sounds when heard live - it's amazing. To hear this huge collection of big strings (in the pianos and harps) and the aluminum bars of the vibraphones in the air of the hall - you can feel the air vibrating all around you, even in the quietest moments.

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