Berlin-based Orchestras

Berliner Philharmoniker / Pierre Boulez

Boulez the composer. Boulez the interpreter. “I would risk the assertion that never before in the history of music has an artist been active with equal significance in the areas of creation and interpretation. Here, it is a question of the specific differentiation of interpretive activities: as a writer, conductor, pedagogue, and as an organizer who also intervenes in musical politics. To list all of these areas amounts to a precise definition of interpretive activity as such.” (Wolfgang Rihm) Pierre Boulez the interpreter selected the works for this concert – the program is his composition in the truest sense of the word. He composed … explosante-fixe … in memory of Igor Stravinsky, just as the latter composed his Symphonies for Wind Instruments as a memorial to Claude Debussy. And just as Stravinsky honoured Debussy by concealing allusions to his music, the references to Stravinsky and to Symphonies for Wind Instruments contained in … explosante-fixe … our held beneath the surface of the immediately audible sound impression. Almost like cryptograms.

Boulez also chose Stravinsky’s Nightingale, namely the entire ballet score. A variety of musical layers intermingle here: old Russian songs, indications of a new tonal language, hardened sonorities and exotic atmospheres, associated in some cases with a floating suspension of the sense of time. In this fable, set in China, the song of a living creature is played off against that of a mechanical apparatus – a relationship concerning which Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale, which forms the basis of the ballet’s plot, does not have the final word.

Concert Programme

Pierre Boulez [born 1925]
… explosante-fixe …
for flute with live electronics, 2 flutes and ensemble [1991/93]

Igor Stravinsky [1882–1971]
Le Rossignol
a musical fairy tale in three acts [1908/14, rev. 62]
libretto by the composer and by Stjepan Mitussow
based on a story by Hans Christian Andersen


Barbara Hannigan soprano
Stephanie Weiss mezzo soprano
Julia Faylenbogen alto
Edgaras Montvidas tenor
Roman Trekel baritone
Georg Zeppenfeld bass
Peter Rose bass
Jan Remmers tenor (from the choir)
Wolfram Tessmer bass (from the choir)
Emmanuel Pahud flute, also MIDI flute
Marion Ralincourt flute
Sophie Cherrier flute

IRCAM Paris sound direction

Rundfunkchor Berlin
Simon Halsey coach

Berliner Philharmoniker
Pierre Boulez conductor

An event of the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker in Kcooperation with musikfest berlin | Berliner Festspiele