Saturday, December 12, 2009

Music savant


Yesterday evening's BBC Four TV programme about the Ballets Russe proved to be yet another miserably unsuccessful attempt by the BBC to present art for those that do not like art. But one contribution stood out head and shoulders above those from the usual self-important talking heads. In a sequence filmed specifically for the programme Pierre Boulez talked briefly about the music of Stravinsky and Debussy, and his subtle authority and obvious integrity left no doubt that you were listening to one of the great minds of our time. In his contribution Boulez made the distinction between 'popular music' and what he described as 'music savant'. I have mused here before about the difficulties and dangers of categorising music, and the term 'music savant', literally 'knowing music', struck me as a very powerful alternative to the more common appelations of 'classical music', serious music', and 'art music'. In fact a veritable title given by the gods.

My header photo was taken in La Friche libraire in Paris. This bookstore, which is a wonderful example of Gallic 'culture savant', proved to be the starting point of several paths that will feature here in the future. Photo is (c) On An Overgrown Path 2009. Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

1 comment:

Pliable said...

Email received:

Interesting interview with P. Boulez here:
http://www.andante.com/article/article.cfm?id=12725

Thus : about " savant musique" and the nonsence of catogorising music - he speaks at lenght about himself conducting scores from Frank Zappa.

BT