Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Total Immersion: Pierre Boulez at 90

Live from the Barbican, London, BBC Symphony Orchestra under Thierry Fischer in music by Pierre Boulez: Notations I, VII, IV, III, II; Pli selon pli (with soprano Yeree Suh).

Live from the Barbican

Presented by Sara Mohr-Pietsch

Total Immersion: Pierre Boulez at 90. The BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Thierry Fischer celebrates this iconic composer with two major works: Notations and Pli selon pli.

Boulez: Notations I, VII, IV, III, II

c. 7.50pm: Interval ****

Boulez: Pli selon pli
Yeree Suh (soprano)
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Thierry Fischer (conductor)

It's hard to think of a more influential figure in post-war European music than Pierre Boulez. As a composer, conductor, thinker and cultural leader he has interrogated multiple pathways and possibilities in music, and asked the big questions. His relationship with the BBC Symphony Orchestra began in the 1960s, blossomed during his years as Chief Conductor, and went on to sharpen and invigorate the whole British music scene.

Pli selon pli, literally translated as 'fold by fold', is widely regarded as Boulez's seminal masterwork. His distinctive sound world is inspired here by the work of French poet Stéphane Mallarmé. As the five movements develop, Boulez reveals his portrait of Mallarmé. Each setting uses intriguing and different instrumental forces. The BBC Symphony Orchestra is joined by celebrated soprano Yeree Suh.

Boulez's 12 Notations for solo piano were composed in 1945, and in the 1970s and 80s he revisited the set - orchestrating five of them. The BBC Symphony Orchestra opens the concert with these miniatures, affording the listener a thrilling insight into the compositional development of a true provocateur.

This is the third of the three concerts in the BBC Symphony Orchestra's Total Immersion: Pierre Boulez at 90 - day of celebration at the Barbican in London.

2 hours

Music Played

  • Pierre Boulez

    12 Notations

    Performer: Soares, Alexander.
  • Pierre Boulez

    Pli selon pli


Role Contributor
Performer BBC Symphony Orchestra


  • Sat 21 Mar 2015 19:30

Pierre Boulez at 90

Pierre Boulez at 90

Petroc Trelawny pays tribute to the French composer and conductor.

New Music on Radio 3

New Music on Radio 3

A chance to listen to recent broadcasts of new music - including premieres - on Radio 3.