Wednesday 28 January 2009

Quote Of The Towards The End of January 2009

Looking away from the Place De La Bastille toward the river, courtesy of Google Maps here.

Fundamentally, Boulez's life was - and still is - solitary. His lived at the top of five flights of stairs, in two tiny, primitive mansard rooms on a street that lies between the Place de la Bastille and the river - a street that Baudelaire and Cezanne had once inhabited.
Here a devoted concierge attended to his needs. There was no running water in the garret (he had to use a bathroom on the floor below), and in winter his rooms were icy. But they were always immaculate.

Though the piano, an ancient upright, might be covered with books, the desk at which Boulez worked was invariably clear. Robert Craft, who visited him in this retreat in 1956, noted in his diary that the young composer's manuscripts were 'rolled like diplomas and piled on the floor like logs'.

Among the few pictures, a framed photograph of Kafka and reproduction of Klee's portrait of Stravinsky were prominent. There was a copy of Finnegans Wake in English. For a brief period, a sign warned visitors, 'Don't step on the turtle'.

Alas, its life was short, and Boulez has had no pets since.
From Chapter one ('The First Fifty Years') by Peter Heyworth in Pierre Boulez: A Symposium

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