A solitaire in French is a single mounted jewel, a concept that seems less than apt for the rather hefty works recorded here by British pianist Kathryn Stott. But this fine recital holds together in another way: Ravel, who so often provides the temporal endpoint for traditional piano recitals, is here, to a greater or lesser extent, the launching point for the other three composers featured. Stott's reading of the neoclassical Le Tombeau de Couperin is beautifully precise and balanced, catching the economy of this Baroque-style suite to the hilt. That economy carries over into the later works, even the rarely performed Piano Sonata of Henri Dutilleux, a work that deftly fuses Ravel's sense of classical forms with a largely dissonant language. The opening Prelude and Fugue of Jehan Alain, actually two separate works that are reasonably enough combined here, is another seldom-played piece that makes an arresting curtain-raiser, and the final "Le baiser de l'Enfant Jésus" of Messiaen, part of the giant Vingt regards sur l'Enfant Jésus, is the splendid climax of the whole, its spiritual, dreamlike ascent at the end superbly controlled. Better still is the sound, recorded at Hallé St. Peters in Manchester: it creates a hypnotic effect all its own.
Henri Dutilleux's work has been gaining attention through a number of significant recent recordings. Esa-Pekka Salonen recorded his Correspondances with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and Ludovic Morlot has recorded both his symphonies, as well as other works, as the new conductor of the Seattle Symphony. This opportunity to experience and appraise his work casts him as among the most significant French composers of the late twentieth century.
The name of Henri Dutilleux (1916–2013) is associated above all with orchestral music. His international reputation originated with the Second Symphony, ‘Le Double’ (premièred in 1959) and was confirmed by works such as Métaboles and the cello concerto Tout un monde lointain… But what about before that? In the centennial year of the composer's birth, the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire and Pascal Rophé present a programme which focusses on works composed before 1954, and offers the opportunity to discover a less familiar but by no means negligible side of Dutilleux's creative activity: songs and music for the theatre and film. Several of the works on this disc are recorded for the first time in these versions, or indeed at all.
Assembled to mark the centenary of Henri Dutilleux (1916-2013), this collection of recordings, produced over a period of nearly 60 years, is unrivalled in its scope. Equally remarkable is its array of performers; among them are such dedicatees of the composer’s works as Mstislav Rostropovich, Renée Fleming, Seiji Ozawa and Paul Sacher. Quintessentially French, Dutilleux captured the imagination of audiences around the world with his iridescent, yet formally coherent scores, which engender narratives filled with memories and mystery.
In addition to the traditional pairing of the Debussy and Ravel string quartets, the Arcanto Quartett performs Henri Dutilleux's Ainsi la Nuit (1971-1976), a grouping that is becoming increasingly popular on recordings. These are absolutely secure, thoughtful, self-effacing readings of the Debussy and the Ravel. While the quartet doesn't bring particular new revelations to the pieces, the members play with nuanced sensitivity and impeccable musicianship. The haunted quiet they achieve in the first part of the third movement of the Debussy is especially impressive, as is the clarity of their sense of direction and unity in the final movement, the most difficult of the four to pull off. Similarly in the Ravel, the contrast between the serenity of the third movement and the raw athleticism of the fourth is attention-grabbing and invigorating.
Henri Dutilleux's small but important output demonstrates a remarkable originality of form and technique. Completed in 1985, Dutilleux's violin concerto L'arbre des songes ("The Tree of Dreams") is the culmination of his experiments in unifying large-scale works. The process of unification is present on two interrelated levels: form and thematic development.In his notes to this composition, Dutilleux explains that the convention of dividing a work into movements separated by pauses ……..
‘Marvellously resourceful and inventive scores which are given vivid and persuasive performances by Tortelier and the BBC Philharmonic orchestra… The engineers give us a splendidly detailed and refined portrayal of these complex textures – the sound is really state-of-the-art.’The Penguin Complete Guide
Henri Dutilleux's "Ainsi la nuit" (1976) is a modern classic, and it's easy to see why. This is a work that parodoxically combines impressionist lushness and total transparency, surface attractiveness and deep mystery. Ravel meets Bartok? The work is in seven movements, which each have their own particular concern, though there are "parenthetical" moments that interlink the entire piece. "Nocturne 1" is a mysterious static soundscape periodically fractured by outbursts………Christopher Culver @ amazon.com
The first-ever release on ECM of music by the doyen of French contemporary composition Henri Dutilleux (born 1916) features a comprehensive overview of his highly original piano pieces from his early period (around 1948) to the late eighties. They are played by American pianist Robert Levin, a personal friend of Dutilleux's, who gives performances of gripping energy and serene clarity.