SPEIGEL: On the other hand, are composers ideally always also conductors?
Boulez: For me, it's imperative. I experience this with my own pieces: I have knitted a jacket, and now I try to wear the jacket for the first time. It doesn't stay here, it doesn't fit there. Every time, I must confront the necessity of corrections. A "Pli Selon Pli" had to be reworked over decades, until I could finally finish it in 1988.
SPIEGEL: What is tradition?
Boulez: There's a game that we played as children: You sit at a table, the first whispers a sentence in the ear of his neighbor: "The hankerchief is in my pocket". The entence travels, from ear to ear, ever faster, and how does it go at the end? "The cat is eating chocolate". Tja. That's tradition - often only the inheritence of mannerisms. One is imitating gestures without understanding their spirit.