Institute of Musical Research Donates Facsimile Score of Boulez Masterpiece to Senate House Library

Monday 01 June 2015

Thanks to the Institute of Musical Research (IMR) and The Paul Sacher Foundation, the scholarly collections of Senate House Library (SHL) have been boosted by a new treasure: a facsimile score of Pierre Boulez’s masterpiece, Tombeau from Pli selon pli.

The Paul Sacher Foundation in Basle, Switzerland holds one of the most important collections of manuscripts and correspondence relating to contemporary composers. It is giving the facsimile score in recognition of its longstanding relationship with IMR. Pli selon pli is Boulez’s greatest orchestral achievement, expanded and refined over more than 30 years: Tombeau is the final movement of the gigantic song cycle.

‘The score was donated to the Institute of Musical Research by the distinguished French scholar Robert Piencikowski from the Paul Sacher Foundation and I passed it on to Senate House Library so that it is accessible to the widest audience and range of scholars,’ says IMR director Dr Paul Archbold. ‘This was a wonderful gesture to reflect our four-year association.’ IMR events have attracted a host of scholars from the Paul Sacher Foundation including Robert Piencikowski, Professor Ulrich Mosch and Dr Felix Meyer.

Boulez score 'joins a robust collection of over a thousand music facsimiles'  

To say SHL staff are pleased with the latest gift is an understatement. Librarian Jackie Marfleet says, she is delighted to accept this gift on behalf of the Library. ‘The Library holds a wealth of material across a diverse range of collections and we are grateful to the Paul Sacher Foundation and to the Institute of Musical Research for this newest addition to our Music Collection,’ she adds.

The gift was prompted by an invitation to Robert Piencikowski to talk about Boulez’s early work at the conference, ‘Pierre Boulez at 90, a Study Day’, promoted jointly by IMR and the Institute of Modern Languages Research, in association with the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s (BBCSO) festival ‘Total Immersion: Pierre Boulez at 90’.

The successful conference brought together leading scholars from French studies, cultural theory and music to disseminate the latest research to a general public. During the interval of the BBCSO's day of celebration at the Barbican in London, BBC presenter Robert Worby praised the event to some 70,000 listeners on BBC Radio 3. And on the live edition of Hear and Now he acknowledged the ideas he had gleaned from the papers that were presented at the conference.

‘The Boulez score joins a robust collection of over a thousand music facsimiles which are essential for scholars undertaking primary research,’ confirms Colin Homiski, SHL’s music librarian. ‘It also contributes to the Library’s aspiration to hold all of the compositions of the major composers of the 20th and 21st century and we are thankful to the Foundation for helping us to achieve that endeavour.’

Pierre Boulez, Tombeau. Facsimiles of the draft score and the first fair copy of the full score
Edited by Robert Piencikowski
Published by the Paul Sacher Foundation
ISBN 978-3-7024-6861-3

Notes for editors:

For further information please contact Maureen McTaggart, Media and Public Relations Officer, School of Advanced Study, University of London +44 (0)20 7862 8653 / Images available on request.