Friday, 8 January 2016

Boulez - the last interview

Pierre Boulez - the last interview,  early in 2014.  "Are programmers risk averse?" asks the interviewer. "They are too shy, much too shy" answers Boulez. "If you insist on too narrow a repertoire, the audience becomes passive. But when you give a piece that is provocative, well written but provocative and interesting, then youy don't have to fear the reactions of the audience.  On the contrary!  The audience will maybe say 'Ah ! I have heard that. I was shocked and I don't understand what the composer means, but maybe....' I think, to have this provocation, and this doubt inserted into programmes, that is important". 

Doubt? The very concept of doubt no longer has meaning these days. For Boulez, culture meant being open to possibilities.  All too often, the less someone knows the more certain they are that no-one else can know. That's why Boulez is dangerous. He thinks. I cannot use the past tense for a man so mentally and creatively alive.   Boulez didn't suppress anyone who wasn't already suppressed in themselves.  Since opinions are controlled by wide market forces, society itself creates suppression. It's nuts to project that resentment  onto someone who represents the opposite  of groupthink. Doubt is the antidote to mindless assumptions, to demagogue groupthink. No wonder so many defer to supposedly Holy Writ. Doubt and provocation, the engines that drive the eternal quest for wisdom and knowledge, growth and renewal. If that's scary, so then is the whole concept of civilization.

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