Daniel Barenboim, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra - Hommage A Boulez / theguardian review
Since Pierre Boulez's death at the beginning of 2016, Daniel Barenboim's tribute to his friend and musical collaborator for more than half a century has been heartfelt and wide-ranging. Two weeks ago, the Pierre Boulez Saal, the chamber-music hall designed by Frank Gehry for the Barenboim-Said Akademie, was inaugurated in Berlin, with the first concert by the newly formed Boulez Ensemble, and this album of Boulez's music has been released to coincide with the opening. The three works on the first disc – dominated by a fabulously lucid account of the tangled, challenging Dérive 2, for 11 instruments – are from the 2012 Proms in London, while the second disc includes recordings from the Berlin Staatsoper in 2010.
There's Messagesquisses, for solo cello and six other cellos, and Anthèmes 2 for violin and live electronics, played by Michael Barenboim, thus echoing his recent solo disc, but the main work is Le Marteau Sans Maître, conducted by Boulez himself with Hilary Summers as the contralto soloist. By my reckoning, this is Boulez's fifth recording of the work that defines his own music better than any other; it's perhaps more expressively flexible than earlier ones, but just as precise, and Summers makes a compelling soloist.