Music through Time: From Bach to Boulez

In an historic interview by Gramophone magazine with Pierre Boulez in 1967, the French musician and conductor refuted any idea of an objective approach to the works he directed. He then added that “scores don’t exist as passive objects”, and must be interpreted in the spirit of the time.

He gave two practical examples: "How Bach was played in 1920 is not how we like to hear it today", and "the superficial elegance that people appreciated in Mozart is not what we admire in him in 1967.”

The idea was clear: in every visit to the past, however informed each interpretation, musicians and conductors relate to each piece from the present, a present with specific social and historical contexts. Even the accumulated knowledge that we gather about the periods of the original creations depends on the facts and the views that have been collected up to today.

In the thematic period "The Time of Music - from Bach to Boulez" it is also from today that we relate to a huge temporal arc, from the Renaissance and Baroque periods to contemporary artistic languages, through the interpretations of an ensemble specialising in ancient music, such as Jordi Savall’s Hespèrion XXI, or one of the experts on the work of composers such as Boulez, as is the case of the violinist Michael Barenboim, who is also a member of the Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival Ensemble. To witness this time frame is also to see how the different periods communicate with each other and how the present is all the richer as we understand how to relate to the past and integrate it into our own times.

Updated on 06 June 2019