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Henri Dutilleux: D'ombre et de silence

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Henri Dutilleux: D'ombre et de silence
Henri Dutilleux: D'ombre et de silence


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.

Levin notes: "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". So his output is rather small, but these polished masterworks follow the ideals of beauty and poetic mystery - structurally complex but full of colouristic and rhythmic appeal.

This programme opens with the ground-breaking piano sonata of 1946-48, 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 sophisticated music condensed to its very essence - "document Dutilleux'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".

Robert Levin (born 1947) is an internationally-renowned expert on classical period practice of improvised embellishments and cadenzas. His many recordings include Mozart concertos with Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music, and Beethoven concertos with John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique. As Kim Kashkashian's regular piano partner, he has recorded for ECM since 1984, most recently Songs from Spain and Argentina. In Figures de résonances the second pianist is Ya-Fei Chuang.

Personnel: Robert Levin (piano)


  1. Name
  2. Petit air a dormir debout
  3. Sonate (1948) I. Allegro con moto
  4. II. Lied
  5. III. Choral et variations)
  6. From Au gre des ondes (1946) I. Prelude en berceuse
  7. II. Improvisation
  8. Blackbird (1950)
  9. Tous les chemins...menent a  Rome (1961)
  10. Resonances (1965)
  11. Figures de resonances, pour deux pianos (1970) I
  12. II
  13. III
  14. IV
  15. Mini-prelude en eventail
  16. Preludes: I. D'ombre et de silence (1973)
  17. II. Sur un meme accord (1977)
  18. III. Le jeu des contraires (1988)
  19. Bergerie (1947)
  20. Au gre des ondes (1946): I. Prelude en berceuse
  21. II. Claquettes
  22. III. Improvisation
  23. IV. Mouvement perpetuel
  24. V. Hommage a Bach
  25. VI. Etude
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