'Music should be able to convey emotion, to move us in some way. Otherwise it is totally useless'. Polo Piatti


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"...One of Boulez’s staunchest allies was my old Music Director, Daniel Barenboim. It was under Barenboim’s auspices that Boulez was named Principal Guest Conductor of the Chicago Symphony, and Barenboim frequently programmed the music of Boulez and his acolytes. He never deigned to conduct the 20th century composers Boulez would have described as “useless”, unless he was compelled to accompany something along the lines of a Prokofiev concerto. He was pretty open about his disdain for the more tonal currents of our time. But one time, he did condescend to conduct Samuel Barber. It was our first concert in Chicago after 9/11, and he selected Barber’s Adagio for Strings to commemorate the tragedy. I always wanted to ask him why, when it came time to bring people together in a shared emotion (wasn’t this a prime motivation for why humanity has always turned to music in the first place?), his esteemed Schoenberg and Boulez suddenly weren’t up to the job and he had to resort to the benighted modal harmonies of Samuel Barber. Doesn’t this tell us something profound about the limitations of the “progress” that Pierre Boulez always insisted we had made?." [Extract from an article on Pierre Boulez by Max Raimi, viola player at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra]

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