To mark the 85th birthday of one of France's leading composers, Henri Dutilleux, in conversation with the musicologist and personal friend of Dutilleux, Roger Nichols, Donald Macleod explores the work of one of the century's most innovative composers.
His life's work has been characterised by independence, coupled with a refusal to embrace musical fashions. Henri Dutilleux is not a prolific composer, but his reputation is built upon an output of exceptional breadth and depth, as the Grove dictionary put it 'a shining example of diversity through unity'. He's also a composer who's most at home composing large works, of which the second symphony is an outstanding example. Roger Nicholls and Donald Macleod discuss the work, which alludes to a wide range of influences including big band jazz.
Henri Dutilleux once remarked that 'What makes a work is constant searching', and his compositional style is characterised by meticulous attention to detail. So, Roger Nichols and Donald Macleod discuss the First Symphony of Dutilleux, a work 'which emerges from and returns to darkness', and which has been described as his first masterpiece.
Henri Dutilleux believed that 'le travail fortifie' - work makes you stronger. That observation is appropriate for a composer who is absolutely committed to the craft of writing music; and his determination to 'write music, not manifestos' is indicative of his desire not to involve himself in the politics of music. But unusually, his Cello Concerto is one example of a work commissioned by the French government; in this case to commemorate the centenary of Baudelaire's death.
Donald MacLeod and Roger Nichols conclude their series of conversations about the works of Henri Dutilleux with an examination of two late works: the Violin Concerto, commissioned for Isaac Stern's 60th birthday, and not completed until his 65th, and 'The Shadows of Time' Dutilleux's latest large orchestral work.
Available since: Thu 28 Apr 2011
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Donald Macleod and Roger Nichols explore the works of Henri Dutilleux.
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