Henri Dutilleux - D´ombre et de silence - ECM New Series 2105



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Henri Dutilleux - D´ombre et de silence - ECM New Series 2105
ECM New Series 2105April 2010

Robert Levin: piano, w/ Ya-Fei Chuang: piano

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 résonances”). 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”.

Robert Levin: piano, w/ Ya-Fei Chuang: piano

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 sophisticated 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” (Robert Levin).