A Musical Detective Story

Part science documentary, part true crime story: Philippe Manoury about his reconstruction of Boulez' Livre pour quatuor.

The story of Livre pour quatuor begins in 1948. Originally planned as a six movement work, Pierre Boulez never finished the fourth movement. The composer wrestled with the quartet, creating various drafts – a process which took a long time. At the same time he was also working on other pieces and had no time to prepare the string quartet to be typeset, let alone get it ready for performance. In 1955 movements Ia, Ib and II were premiered in Donaueschingen by the Marschner Quartet. On the composer’s 60th birthday in 1985 the Arditti Quartet performed all the published movements together for the first time. The completion of Livre is a project that Irvine Arditti has been pursuing for years, and now reaches a successful conclusion with the help of Philippe Manoury and Jean-Louis Leleu. Here, Philippe Manoury explains his work as a musical reconstructor, a story that includes significant challenges, a good deal of detective work, and a stolen suitcase.