In Boulez’s own words ‘Jeux marks a date of capital importance in the history of contemporary aesthetics. [It] marks the advent of a musical form which, instantly renewing itself, involves a no less instantaneous mode of listening.’
‘Debussy repulsed all hierarchy except the musical moment itself. With him, musical time often changes its significance, above all in his last works. Wishing to create his technique, his vocabulary and form, he was led to overthrow ideas which had remained static: the mobile and the moment erupt in his music. As to the rhythmic writing, it, too, participates in a similar manifestation, a similar desire for mobility in the metric conception; in the same way, the quest for colour profoundly affects the writing, the instrumental combinations and orchestral sonority.’
It could be said that the progressive elements Boulez saw in Debussy’s late compositions could also mirror his own aesthetic priorities whether they were parameters of rhythmic or harmonic language, timbre or form.