Composers: Goodbye to All That

France, mired in a state of musical bankruptcy ever since World War II, could always boast one major asset: Pierre Boulez, 41, the leading voice of the modernist school of composers and a gifted conductor as well. But in 1959, Boulez suddenly deserted Paris to live in Baden-Baden and work with the progressive Southwest German Radio Orchestra. He left, he said, because "the organization of musical life in Paris is more stupid than anywhere else. France has completely lost her importance. Nothing advances."

This would never do. Paris was the vaunted citadel of artistic adventure, haven for the misunderstood, and...

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