The death of Henri Dutilleux on 22 May 2013 robbed the musical world of one of its most distinctive voices. Dutilleux was renowned for his exquisite craftsmanship and feel for instrumental colour, as well as for an extraordinary generosity of spirit that was invariably reflected in his music. Indeed, pianist Akanè Makita describes Dutilleux as a 'generous, sensitive man' who, when the artists involved in this recording wrote to him to tell him about the project, replied to say how 'greatly touched' and 'moved' he was. This warm and unexpected response from such an eminent composer inspired the musicians to put their all into the recording; the fact that it was completed on the day of Dutilleux's death makes it all the more fitting a tribute to him. The chamber works featured on this disc demonstrate Dutilleux's superb command of instrumental timbre – as flautist Andrea Oliva says, 'Dutilleux is brilliant at custom-designing the music to suit the specific characteristics of each instrument'.
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.
The French composer Henri Dutilleux has long been acknowledged as among the leading figures of his generation. This complete collection of his solo piano works includes his only large-scale work for the instrument, the brilliant Piano Sonata.
In 2004, at the age of 18, the Malaysian-born pianist John Chen became the youngest ever winner of the Sydney International Piano Competition. The previous year he won the Lev Vlassenko Australasian Piano Competition, where he swept all the special prizes.
Henri Dutilleux's latest orchestral work, ''The Shadows of Time,'' has much to recommend it on its own terms, but when Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony gave the work its New York premiere at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday evening, the piece also carried a provocative question for the start of a new concert season. It challenged listeners to remember the last time they had left a concert by a major American orchestra convinced that a freshly minted work was the highlight of the program, and to wonder why the experience was so rare. …~ALLAN KOZINN (The New York Times)