Coltea | Amarouch | Boulez
Seventy years ago, Polyphonie X was performed for the first and thus far only time. Its fragmented sounds, subjected in all their parameters to a radically serial approach, caused a veritable scandal at the premiere. The attention abruptly catapulted Pierre Boulez, then 26 years old, to the forefront of the musical avant-garde. To his colleague John Cage, Boulez had compared the Polyphonie project to the hubris of building the Tower of Babel, quipping, “I hope I don’t fall on my face balancing on the curb like this.” After the premiere, he deleted it from his official catalog of works because he felt it was too theory-laden. The score never appeared in print; the only evidence of the work until now has been the live recording of the premiere. The Ensemble of the Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra offers a new encounter with Polyphonie X – which is to say with a fascinating Boulezian work concept that marks an important step in his development. It will be juxtaposed with two brand-new works by representatives of the young generation of composers, both written for the same instrumentation.