First performed in 1955, it sets the surrealist poetry of René Char for contralto and six instrumentalists. The original, six-movement form lacked the two « Bel Édifice » settings and the le maître et le marteau PDF 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. Boulez’s work was chosen to represent France at this festival.
1942, année sombre de l occupation de la France par les Allemands. Isaac Roth, juif, français, est maintenu dans son poste de professeur d Université grâce à certaines lois préservant les juifs Anciens combattants. Décidé à une « »résistance passive » », il ignore que sa plus jeune fille, Sarah, et son fils, Joshua, sont entrés dans un groupe de résistants. Joshua est arrêté par la gestapo. La solidarité, l honnêteté, la morale face à la délation, aux préjugés, à la corruption, vont constituer les forces actives pour vivre le drame familial.
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. The work has nine movements, four of which set the text of three poems of René Char. These movements are grouped into three cycles by Boulez. The first cycle consists of movements I, III, and VII. The second cycle is movements II, IV, VI, and VIII. Movements V and IX make up the third cycle. It is well known that Boulez is reluctant to explain his own compositions.
When asked to supply program notes for the first performance of Le Marteau in 1955 at the Baden-Baden International Society for Contemporary Music, Boulez laconically wrote, as quoted by Friederich Saathen: « Le Marteau sans Maître, after a text by René Char, written for alto, flute, viola, guitar, vibraphone, and percussion. 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-Western instruments. Sprechstimme, a device found in the work of the Second Viennese School before Boulez. Boulez uses many serial composition techniques, including pitch multiplication and pitch-class association. 3, reflecting the highly mathematical nature in which this piece is composed. Using these 25 groups in conjunction with pitch multiplication, Boulez is able to create 25 « harmonic fields » within each set. Koblyakov in his analysis assigns a letter to each cluster within a set, such that two sets multiplied together can be notated as « aa, » « bc, » « ed, » etc.
Boulez’s form of pitch multiplication can be thought of more as pitch addition. Boulez then eliminates any duplicate pitches, which in this case would leave us with the set 11 10 7 8 2 1. In fact, this is the set of notes we get in measure three of movement III, « L’Artisanat furieux. This movement, scored only for flute and voice, lays out pitch multiplication in a more straightforward way than movements I and VII. The second cycle consists of movements II, IV, VI, and VIII.