Top 10 Dutilleux recordings

Gramophone Thu 26th March 2015

Ten of the best ways to start exploring the work of the great French composer

No 1

Correspondances

Barbara Hannigan sop Orch Phil de Radio France / Esa-Pekka Salonen

(DG)

'A wonderful 97th birthday present for a musician who has patiently extended older French traditions of civility and high polish into an age of aesthetic meltdown' Read review

 

No 2

Le temps l’horloge

Renée Fleming sop Orch Phil de Radio France / Alan Gilbert, Seiji Ozawa

(Decca)

'The outstanding item in this French collection is the first recording of Dutilleux’s Le temps l’horloge. The short cycle of four songs with interlude was composed with Renée Fleming’s voice specifically in mind and she revels in its rapturous lyricism.' Read review

 

No 3

Symphony No 1

Orchestre de Paris / Paavo Järvi

(Erato)

'What comes across today from these brilliantly vital accounts recorded in 2012/13 is the emotional diversity and effortless intensity which Henri Dutilleux could achieve without embracing the modish trappings of mid-20th-century progressiveness' Read review

 

No 4

Ainsi la nuit

Arcanto Quartet

(Harmonia Mundi)

'The short, epigrammatic miniatures that go to make up this seven-movement piece are played not only with complete control of the practical aspects but also with a gripping immediacy, personality and kaleidoscope of fascinating detail' Read review

 

No 5

D'ombre et de silence

Robert Levin pf

(ECM New Series)

'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' Read review

 

No 6

Cello Concerto 

Mstislav Rostropovich vc Orchestre de Paris / Serge Baudo

(EMI/Warner Classics)

'Partnered by the Orchestre de Paris and that fine conductor, Serge Baudo, Rostropovich brings to the work’s five movements an impressive sense of coherence and a large dose of his usual passion.' Read review

 

No 7

Métaboles

BBC Philharmonic / Yan Pascal Tortelier

(Chandos)

'Métaboles is particularly tricky to bring off, but this version is admirable in the way it builds through some dangerously episodic writing to underline the power of the principal climaxes' Read review

 

No 8

Timbres, espace, mouvement

BBC Philharmonic / Yan Pascal Tortelier

(Chandos)

'Timbres, espace, mouvement (1978, revised 1991) can be counted Dutilleux’s best orchestral composition, at once rooted in tradition yet persistently sceptical about conventional "symphonic" values' Read review

 

No 9

Piano Sonata

John Ogdon pf

(Warner Classics)

'His fluency and limpid clarity are to be admired, too, in the Dutilleux Sonata, whose spiky first movement veers from fragile delicacy to pounding fortissimo chords' Read review

 

No 10

Oboe Sonata

Emily Pailthorpe ob Julian Milford pf

(Oboe Classics)

'The highlight of which perhaps comprises a mellifluous performance of Dutilleux’s neglected 1947 Sonata (like the same composer’s earlier Flute Sonatina, conceived as a test piece for examinations at the Paris Conservatoire)' Read review

 

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