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Dutilleux: D'Ombre et de Silence

Audio Samples

  1. H. Dutilleux — Petit Air À Dormir Debout $1.29 on iTunes
  2. H. Dutilleux — Piano Sonata: I. Allegro con moto $1.29 on iTunes
  3. H. Dutilleux — Piano Sonata: II. Lied $1.29 on iTunes
  4. H. Dutilleux — Piano Sonata: III. Choral et variations
  5. H. Dutilleux — Au gré des ondes: I. Prélude en berceuse $1.29 on iTunes
  6. H. Dutilleux — Au gré des ondes: III. Improvisation $1.29 on iTunes
  7. H. Dutilleux — Les Contemporains / Series 2: Blackbird $1.29 on iTunes
  8. H. Dutilleux — Tous les chemins … mènent à Rome $1.29 on iTunes
  9. H. Dutilleux — Résonances $1.29 on iTunes
  10. H. Dutilleux — Figures de résonances: Figures de résonances I $1.29 on iTunes
  11. H. Dutilleux — Figures de résonances: Figures de résonances II $1.29 on iTunes
  12. H. Dutilleux — Figures de résonances: Figures de résonances III $1.29 on iTunes
  13. H. Dutilleux — Figures de résonances: Figures de résonances IV $1.29 on iTunes
  14. H. Dutilleux — Mini-Prélude En Éventail $1.29 on iTunes
  15. H. Dutilleux — III. Préludes pour piano: II. Sur un même accord $1.29 on iTunes
  16. H. Dutilleux — III. Préludes pour piano: III. Le jeu des contraires $1.29 on iTunes
  17. H. Dutilleux — Bergerie $1.29 on iTunes
  18. H. Dutilleux — Au gré des ondes: I. Prélude en berceuse $1.29 on iTunes
  19. H. Dutilleux — Au gré des ondes: II. Claquettes $1.29 on iTunes
  20. H. Dutilleux — Au gré des ondes: III. Improvisation $1.29 on iTunes
  21. H. Dutilleux — Au gré des ondes: IV. Mouvement perpetuel $1.29 on iTunes
  22. H. Dutilleux — Au gré des ondes: V. Hommage à Bach $1.29 on iTunes
  23. H. Dutilleux — Au gré des ondes: VI. Étude $1.29 on iTunes

Album Summary

>Dutilleux, Henri : Petit air a dormir debout, easy piece for piano
>Dutilleux, Henri : Sonata for piano
>Dutilleux, Henri : Au gre des ondes
>Dutilleux, Henri : Blackbird, easy piece for piano
>Dutilleux, Henri : Tous les chemins, easy piece for piano
>Dutilleux, Henri : Resonances, for piano
>Dutilleux, Henri : Figures de resonances, short pieces (4) for 2 pianos
>Dutilleux, Henri : Mini-prelude en eventail, prelude for piano
>Dutilleux, Henri : D'ombre et de silence
>Dutilleux, Henri : Bergerie, easy piece for piano
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The first ECM release dedicated exclusively to music by the doyen among French contemporary composers (born 1916). "De l’ombre et de silence" offers a comprehensive overview of Dutilleux’s highly original and energetic work for one and two pianos ("Figures de Resonances"). American pianist Robert Levin, not least known as a long-standing musical partner to violist Kim Kashkashian, a noted theorist and professor of humanities at Harvard, approaches the repertoire with great sonic subtlety and utmost technical brilliance. Levin met the composer during his season as Director in Residence at Nadia Boulanger’s Conservatoire Américain at Fontainebleau in 1979 and has since been his close friend. In his liner notes to the present recording Levin writes: "Dutilleux has always kept a discreet profile, composing with painstaking perfectionism, subjecting his works to relentless revision before, and sometimes after, they have been presented to the public". The programme opens with Dutilleux’s path-breaking piano sonata of 1946–48, a three-movement work that is marked by a personal synthesis of French Impressionism and the clear-cut rhythmic contours characteristic of Soviet music of the same period. The shorter pieces – radiant, playful and highly sophiticated music condensed to its very essence – "document Duteilleux’s trajectory from extended tonality to a sound world totally of his own invention, in which harmonies of dazzling iridescence inflect brilliant rhythmic and melodic gestures."

The Telegraph
[Dutilleux] clearly suits [Levin], as the performances are wonderful. The later works are marvels of sheer sound, sometimes stark and bell-like, sometimes shimmering.

Gramophone Magazine
On this finely engineered ECM disc, Robert Levin's performance is all the more impressive for the unbridled energy and clarity with which it puts the music's distinctive argumentative character across.

BBC Music Magazine
Levin fully understands the whole work's structure and his fingers to all that could be asked of them. He is alive, too, to the poetry of the atmospheric pieces and, with Ya-Fei Chuang, gives gripping performances of the four Figures de resonances.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Auditorio Radio Svizzera, Lugano (12/2008).

Many who know of pianist Robert Levin will readily link his name with that of Mozart, not only as an interpreter but as an expert Mozart editor indentified with his controversial take on Mozart's Requiem. However, one aspect of Levin's career that is a little less well known is as one of Nadia Boulanger's former students; as she went into her final illness, Boulanger named Levin to instruct in her stead at the Conservatoire américain in Fontainebleau. There Levin first met Henri Dutilleux and immediately fell under the spell of the older composer's piano music and has ever since wanted to record an album of Dutilleux. In D'ombre et de silence, ECM New Series has afforded Levin the opportunity and the timing is appropriate given the passing of Dutilleux's own authoritative interpreter at the piano -- his wife, Geneviève Joy -- in 2009. Levin presses his own spouse, pianist Ya-Fei Chuang, into the service of Dutilleux's four-hand Figures de résonances (1970-1976).

The selection spans Dutilleux's practically entire career and even includes little miniatures that Dutilleux wrote for student pianists such as Blackbird (1950). Dutilleux's Piano Sonata (1946-1948) is given prominent placement, right after the tiny Petit air à dormer debout (1981), which opens the disc and this makes sense, as it is the work that Dutilleux himself considers his own "Opus 1" despite the existence of a whole range of compositions that precede it, and it remains his major keyboard work; only the Préludes (1973-1988) come close to emulating its stature in his output. Levin's interpretations of Dutilleux's music are right on target; shimmering, colorful, and sensitive at one end of his spectrum and cold, metallic, spatial, and clangorous at the other, and ECM's recording is very realistic, loud, and crisp. About the only thing that doesn't seem to work here is the front cover image, a photograph of Jean Marc Dellac so conceptual that it may reaffirm for some Americans the myth that Dutilleux's music is hard and unapproachable. Overall, it is not, though some of the thundering chords in Figures de résonances have lost little of their shock value since Dutilleux wrote them down in the '70s. Otherwise he is much an acolyte of the keyboard school of Debussy as anyone can imagine among composers active after World War II, a quality Dutilleux shares with his slightly older contemporary Olivier Messiaen. Dutilleux remains kind of antsy about having pre-piano sonata era works recorded, so Levin has placed the earliest pieces at the end, though two of the Au gré des ondes (1946) show up also earlier in the program; these do not seem to be the same recordings as the later ones.

There are other full disc surveys of Dutilleux's slim output for piano that are noteworthy, for example those by Anne Queffélec, John Chen, and of course, Geneviève Joy. Levin's contribution represents a fresh perspective on this music and should please both newcomers and experienced listeners alike; as far as that goes, the more the merrier.~Uncle Dave Lewis



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Works Details

>Dutilleux, Henri : Petit air à dormir debout, easy piece for piano
  • Performer: Robert Levin (Piano)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1981

>Dutilleux, Henri : Sonata for piano
  • Performer: Robert Levin (Piano)
  • Running Time: 24 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1947-1948

>Dutilleux, Henri : Au gré des ondes :: 1. Prélude en berceuse
  • Performer: Robert Levin (Piano)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1946

>Dutilleux, Henri : Au gré des ondes :: 3. Improvisation
  • Performer: Robert Levin (Piano)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1946

>Dutilleux, Henri : Blackbird, easy piece for piano
  • Performer: Robert Levin (Piano)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1950

>Dutilleux, Henri : Tous les chemins, easy piece for piano
  • Performer: Robert Levin (Piano)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1961

>Dutilleux, Henri : Resonances, for piano
  • Performer: Robert Levin (Piano)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1965

>Dutilleux, Henri : Figures de résonances, short pieces (4) for 2 pianos
  • Performers: Ya-Fei Chuang (Piano); Robert Levin (Piano)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1970-1976

>Dutilleux, Henri : Mini-prélude en éventail, prelude for piano
  • Performer: Robert Levin (Piano)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1987

>Dutilleux, Henri : D'ombre et de silence
  • Performer: Robert Levin (Piano)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: ?07/1973-?/1994

>Dutilleux, Henri : Bergerie, easy piece for piano
  • Performer: Robert Levin (Piano)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1946

>Dutilleux, Henri : Au gré des ondes :: 1. Prélude en berceuse
  • Performer: Robert Levin (Piano)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1946

>Dutilleux, Henri : Au gré des ondes :: 2. Claquettes
  • Performer: Robert Levin (Piano)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1946

>Dutilleux, Henri : Au gré des ondes :: 3. Improvisation
  • Performer: Robert Levin (Piano)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1946

>Dutilleux, Henri : Au gré des ondes :: 4. Mouvement perpétuel
  • Performer: Robert Levin (Piano)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1946

>Dutilleux, Henri : Au gré des ondes :: 5. Hommage à Bach
  • Performer: Robert Levin (Piano)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1946

>Dutilleux, Henri : Au gré des ondes :: 6. Étude
  • Performer: Robert Levin (Piano)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1946