June 18, 2020 0 By admin

Henri Dutilleux. Publisher: Alphonse Leduc. Symphony No.2 – ‘The Double’ ( ). Publisher. Heugel. Category. Orchestra. Sub Category. Large Orchestra. As one of music history’s most fastidious perfectionists, Dutilleux’s published works are few. There are two symphonies and other orchestral. There is an old story about Henri Dutilleux which I cited in my review of the Capriccio recording of his Symphony No I do not hesitate to recall it here.

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I could do this with any piece of Henri Dutilleux’sthe French composer whose 97th birthday is this week. But seeing as it’s one of my favourites, we might as well start with his Cello Concerto, Tout un monde lointainthe visionary five-part piece he wrote for Mstislav Rostropovich in It’s music of sumptuous but rigorous splendourmusic whose sheer attractiveness belies the refinement of Dutilleux’s harmonic and structural imagination, and which seduces you into a faraway world of heightened feeling.

I defy you not to be won over by this music. As one of music history’s most fastidious perfectionists, Dutilleux’s published works are few.

A guide to Henri Dutilleux’s music

There are two symphonies and other orchestral works, a handful of concertante pieces, a series of pieces for voice and orchestra, and a small but significant canon of chamber music, including a dazzling string quartet, Ainsi la nuit. Together, all of them, from his First Symphonycomposed into a recent masterpiece, Correspondances fromwhich sets the letters of artists and writers from van Gogh to Rilke for soprano and orchestra, is proof of a fundamental sometimes little-understood truth about French musical life in the postwar period: Dutilleux never accepted any of the dogmas of the avant-garde, above all, what Boulez called at one stage the necessity of serialism, a systemisation that’s anathema to Dutilleux’s creative sensibilities.


As Dutilleux told Stuart Jeffries in these pages a decade or so ago when a mere whippersnapper of 86, “I don’t speak about him, and he doesn’t speak about me. I admire his work for the Ensemble Intercontemporain.

Henri Dutilleux – Symphony No.2 – ‘The Double’ () – Music Sales Classical

He has made his choices and he has the right to make his choices. But there are things I cannot accept, and I don’t like people who are dktilleux in doubt.

A few years laterDutilleux told Jeffries that at the moment, “I rutilleux no problems with [Boulez]. I even like the fact that he is no longer certain, but is a man riven by doubt, as we all should be.

If you listen to his Second Symphony, Le doubleor his Violin Concerto, L’arbre des songes the tree of dreamsyou’ll hear a rarefied, epicurean beauty that seems to exalt in its fluency and self-contained world of musical coherence.

That fluency of Dutilleux’s music is an illusion, however; it’s rather a hard-won prize of sometimes years of hard graft and applied craft — and there’s another ironic echo of Boulez’s mania for revision that Dutilleux is also a meticulous reviser of his pieces. But that’s to miss how Dutilleux’s music is so often inspired by other art forms and experiences. Timbres, espaces, mouvements is a vivid orchestral explosion of Dutilleux’s way of seeing Dutilelux Gogh’s hallocinogenic Starry Night ; his The Shadows of Time is an astonishing and paradoxically radiant meditation on loss, partly catalysed by Anne Frank’s diaries, and written for the 50th anniversary of the end of the second world war; the piece is dedicated to Anne Frank “and all the children, innocents of the world”.


At the heart of The Shadows of Time is a movement called “memory of shadows” that includes music for three children’s voices – an inspirational idea that came from Dutilleux’s overhearing the sounds of children in a playground near his studio. The effect is devastating because of its directness, but Dutilleux’s music is never mawkishly sentimental. Instead, his music is a realisation of a complete world, independent of concerns for cutting-edge contemporaneity, and one that becomes more essential the more you hear it, dutillwux all for how he transforms his astonishing compositional refinement into real emotional immediacy.

Dutilleux Symphonies |

That’s something that infuses every bar of Ainsi la nuitor The Shadows of Time, or Correspondancesor … well, pretty well everything he has published. Tout un monde lointain. This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our journalism is independent and is in sym;hony way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative. The links are powered by Skimlinks.

By clicking on an affiliate link, you accept that Skimlinks cookies will be set. Five key links Cello Concerto: Ainsi la nuit This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase.

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