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Pierre Boulez’s path to total purity

Pierre Boulez's musical works were a beautifully decorated cul-de-sac

By Ivan Hewett   March 2016

Charismatic and intransigent: Pierre Boulez in 2004 ©Louis Monier/Bridgeman Images

The death in January of Pierre Boulez at the age of 90 robbed the musical world of a great conductor, a brilliant polemicist and an agitator for musical modernism. He was also a charismatic and intransigent human being—charming and generous to those who shared his vision, but prepared to thwart those who did not.

That much is certain about Boulez. But there is also his other role, the one he would…

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