Nadia Boulanger

14 01 2019

In connection to finding the last post, I began to meander for similar videos and came upon this remarkable one of Nadia Boulanger. It contains footage from her analysis classes given in her apartment as well as an interview with a journalist. What is notable here for me is how little of use this would be to an advocate of right-wing culture war. In her class, Boulanger says that things have been said one way for a long time, but now things are changing, and they as her students would find new ways to say the things that must be said. The interviewer tries to peg her down concerning a favorite style, music that she objects to, etc. Boulanger doesn’t take the bait. She sees her role of a pedagogue as giving her students the tools to say what they want to say, not one of imposing her vision on others.

This is perhaps to be expected of someone who knew everyone from Stravinsky and Faure to Quincy Jones and Philip Glass. She knew the history of 20th century music like few could, and thus her optimism at the collective ability to continue to creative impulse unencumbered is not surprising. I can’t say that I agree with her sentiments, perhaps there is now a stagnation in the air that she could have never expected. But I consider her impartiality refreshing nonetheless.