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Le marteau sans maître (The hammer without a master) is a composition by the French composer Pierre Boulez. It is a setting of the surrealist poetry of René Char for alto and six instrumentalists. It was first performed in 1955. Contents 1 Movements 2 History 3 Composition 4 Text 5 References 6 External links Movements The work has nine movements, four of which set the text of three poems of René Char. The remaining movements are instrumental extrapolations of the other four: Avant "l'artisanat furieux" (before "the furious craftsmanship") Commentaire I de "bourreaux de solitude" (first commentary on "hangmen of solitude") "L'artisanat furieux" ("the furious craftsmanship") Commentaire II de "bourreaux de solitude" (second commentary on "hangmen of solitude") "Bel édifice et les pressentiments", version première ("stately building and presentiments", first version) "Bourreaux de solitude" ("hangmen of solitude") Après "l'artisanat furieux" (after "the furious craftsmanship") Commentaire III de "bourreaux de solitude" (third commentary on "hangmen of solitude") "Bel édifice et les pressentiments", double ("stately building and presentiments", again) History Before Le Marteau, Boulez had established a reputation as the composer of modernist, and serialist works such as Structures I, and Polyphonie X, as well as his infamously "unplayable" Second Piano Sonata (Jameux 1989b, 21). Le Marteau was first written as a six-movement composition between 1953 and 1954, and was published in that form in the latter year, "imprimée pour le festival de musique, 1954, Donaueschingen" (though in the end it was not performed there) in a photographic reproduction of the composer's manuscript by Universal Edition, given the catalog number UE 12362. In 1955, Boulez revised the order of these movements, and interpolated three newly composed ones (Mosch 2004, 44–45). The original, six-movement form lacked the two "Bel édifice" settings and the third commentaire on "Bourreaux de solitude". In addition, the movements were grouped in two closed cycles: first the three "Artisanat furieux" movements, then the three "Bourreaux de solitude" ones, otherwise in the order of the final score. The first movement, though fundamentally the same composition, was originally scored as a duet for vibraphone and guitar—the flute and viola were added only in the revision—and numerous less significant alterations were made to playing techniques and notation in the other movements (Siegele 1979, 8–9). It received its première in 1955 at the 29th Festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music in Baden-Baden (Jameux 1989b, 21). Boulez's work was chosen to represent France at this festival. The French members of the committee were against this, but Heinrich Strobel, then director of the Baden-Baden Sudwestfunk Orchestra, scheduled to give all of the concerts at the festival, threatened to withdraw if it was not (Jameux 1989b, 21). The first performance was given on June 18, 1955 conducted by Hans Rosbaud, with Sybilla Plate as the solo singer. Boulez, notorious for considering his works to be always "in progress", made further, smaller revisions to Le Marteau in 1957, in which year Universal Edition issued an engraved score, UE 12450. In the years that have followed, it has become Pierre Boulez's most famous and influential work. Composition The instrumentation was quite novel for Western music at the time, lacking any kind of bass instrument, and drew some influence from the sound of "non-European" instruments, the Xylorimba recalls the African Balafon, the Vibraphone Balinese Gamelan, and the Guitar the Japanese Koto, though "neither the style nor the actual use of these instruments has any connection with these different musical civilizations" ("Speaking, Playing, Singing" (1963) in Boulez 1986, 341). Boulez chose the collection with a continuum of sonorities in mind: "a number of features shared by these instruments (forms) a continuous passage from voice to vibraphone" (Boulez 1986, 340). The purpose is to allow a graduated deconstruction of the voice into percussive noises, a compositional technique which has been common throughout Boulez's work (e.g. the recent Sur Incises of 1998 similarly breaks down the sounds of the piano by combining it with harp and percussion). The voice and five pitched instruments can be arranged in a line, each pair connected by a similarity, as in the following diagram (quoted from Grondines 2000): The vocal writing is challenging for the singer, containing wide leaps, glissandi, and even Sprechstimme, a device found in the work of the Second Viennese School before Boulez. There are also deliberate similarities to Arnold Schoenberg's song cycle, Pierrot Lunaire (Jameux 1989a, 19), one of which is that each movement chooses a different subset of the available instruments: Alto flute, Vibraphone, Guitar, Viola Alto flute, Xylorimba, Tambourine, 2 bongos, Viola Voice, Alto flute Xylorimba, Vibraphone, Finger cymbals, Agogô, Triangle, Guitar, Viola Voice, Alto flute, Guitar, Viola Voice, Alto flute, Xylorimba, Vibraphone, maracas, Guitar, Viola Alto flute, Vibraphone, Guitar Alto flute, Xylorimba, Vibraphone, Claves, Agogô, 2 bongos, Maracas Voice, Alto flute, Xylorimba, Vibraphone, Maracas, Small tam-tam, Low gong, Very deep tam-tam, Large suspended cymbal, Guitar, Viola The writing is often hermetic: the three cycles each use different serial techniques. The "L'Artisanat furieux" movements, for example, use a technique Boulez called "pitch multiplication" in Boulez on Music Today (Boulez 1971). Lev Koblyakov identified its use in Le Marteau (Koblyakov 1977, 1981, and 1990). Later, a complete explanation of the processes themselves was made by Stephen Heinemann (1993). Pitch, durations, and dynamic associations in the "Bourreaux de solitude" cycle were described by Winick (1986) and Wentzel (1991), and the deployment of these materials was discussed by Ulrich Mosch (1997 and 2004). The opening of the third movement in the flute is typical of the difficulties required of performers including wide range, large leaps, and complex rhythms such as the 16th note quintuplets in the fifth measure[original research?]: Opening of the third movement of Boulez's Le marteau with flute[1] features wide leaps and complex rhythms. ( Play (help·info)) Text The text for this work was taken from René Char's collection of poems, Le Marteau sans maître, written in the 1930s while Char "still shared the surrealist views of poets like André Breton and Henri Michaux" (Grondines 2000). Boulez had earlier written two cantatas, Visage nuptial and Le Soleil des eaux in 1946 and 1948, which also set poems of René Char. L'artisanat furieux La roulotte rouge au bord du clou Et cadavre dans le panier Et chevaux de labours dans le fer à cheval Je rêve la tête sur la pointe de mon couteau le Pérou. The furious handicraft The red caravan on the edge of the nail And corpse in the basket And plowhorses in the horseshoe I dream my head on the point of my knife is Peru. Bourreaux de solitude Le pas s'est éloigné le marcheur s'est tu Sur le cadran de l'Imitation Le Balancier lance sa charge de granit réflexe. Executioners of solitude The step has gone away the walker fell silent On the face of Imitation The Pendulum throws its load of granite reflex. Bel édifice et les pressentiments J'écoute marcher dans mes jambes La mer morte vagues par-dessus tête Enfant la jetée-promenade sauvage Homme l'illusion imitée Des yeux purs dans les bois Cherchent en pleurant la tête habitable. Stately building and the presentiments I hear marching in my legs The dead sea waves overhead Child the pier-savage sail Man the imitated illusion Pure eyes in the woods Search in tears the habitable head. References Boulez, Pierre. 1957. Le Marteau sans maître, score. London: Universal Edition. Boulez, Pierre. 1971. Boulez on Music Today. Translated by Susan Bradshaw and Richard Rodney Bennett. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-08006-8. Boulez, Pierre. 1986. Orientations: Collected Writings. Edited by Jean-Jacques Nattiez; translated by Martin Cooper. London & Boston: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-14347-4. ISBN 0-571-13811-X (cased). ISBN 0-571-13835-7 (pbk). Boulez, Pierre. 1991. Stocktakings from an Apprenticeship. Translation by Stephen Walsh. Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-193-11210-8. Boulez, Pierre. 2005. Le Marteau sans maître. Facsimile of the draft score and the first fair copy of the score, with an introduction in French and English. Veröffentlichungen der Paul Sacher Stiftung. Edited by Pascal Decroupet. Mainz: Schott. ISBN 3-7957-0453-7. Grondines, Pierre. 2000. "Le Marteau sans maître: Serialism Becomes Respectable". La Scena Musicale 6, no. 4 (1 December). Grout, Donald, and Claude Palisca. 2001. A History of Western Music, 6th edition. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, p. 726. ISBN 0-393-97527-4 Heinemann, Stephen. 1993. "Pitch-Class Set Multiplication in Boulez's Le Marteau sans maître. D.M.A. diss., University of Washington. Heinemann, Stephen. "Pitch-Class Set Multiplication in Theory and Practice." Music Theory Spectrum 20/1 (Spring 1998): 72-96. Jameux, Dominique. 1989a. "Boulez: Le Marteau sans maître", in booklet to Pierre Boulez, Le Marteau sans maître; Notations pour piano; Structures pour deux pianos, livre 2. CBS Masterworks CD MK 42619. (Reissued 2002, Sony 508164.) Jameux, Dominique. 1989b. "The Fate of the Work", in booklet to Pierre Boulez, Le Marteau sans maître; Notations pour piano; Structures pour deux pianos, livre 2. CBS Masterworks CD MK 42619. (Reissued 2002, Sony 508164.) Jameux, Dominique. 1991. Pierre Boulez. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-66740-9. London: Faber. ISBN 0-571-13744-X Koblyakov, Lev . 1977. "P. Boulez Le Marteau sans maître: Analysis of Pitch Structure". Zeitschrift für Musiktheorie 8/1:24-39. Koblyakov, Lev. "The World of Harmony of Pierre Boulez: Analysis of Le Marteau sans maître. Ph. D. diss., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1981. Koblyakov, Lev. Pierre Boulez: A World of Harmony. Chur: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1990. ISBN 3-718-60422-1. Mosch, Ulrich. 1997. "Wahrnehmungsweisen serieller Musik." Musiktheorie 12:61–70. Mosch, Ulrich. 2004. Musikalisches Hören serieller Musik: Untersuchungen am Beispiel von Pierre Boulez' 'Le Marteau sans maître'. Saarbrücken: Pfau-Verlag. ISBN 3897272539. Siegele, Ulrich. 1979. Zwei Kommentare zum «Marteau sans maître» von Pierre Boulez. Tübinger Beiträge zur Musikwissenschaft 7. Neuhausen-Stuttgart: Hänssler-Verlag. Wentzel, Wayne C. 1991. “Dynamic and Attack Associations in Boulez's Le Marteau sans maître”. Perspectives of New Music 29, no. 1 (Winter): 142-170. Winick, Steven D. 1986. “Symmetry and Pitch-Duration Associations in Boulez' Le Marteau sans maître” Perspectives of New Music 24, no. 2 (Spring): 280-321. ^ Whittall, Arnold. 2008. The Cambridge Introduction to Serialism. Cambridge Introductions to Music, p.178. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-68200-8 (pbk). External links [1] at Frenchculture.org.