Dutilleux

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Dutilleux
LABELS: Brilliant
ALBUM TITLE: Dutilleux: Chamber Music with Piano
WORKS: Sarabande et cortege; Sonatina for flute and piano; Sonata for oboe and piano; Piano Sonata
PERFORMER: Soloists of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia; Akane Makita (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 94738

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For years Dutilleux viewed the works he composed before the Piano Sonata of 1948 as apprentice pieces, and was especially stern about the last movement of the Oboe Sonata – written, he said, in a hurry as a conservatoire test piece. Curiously, the liner notes do not mention that the flute and bassoon pieces on this disc were also destined for the conservatoire, as was the Choral, cadence et fugato for trombone, not included here. But finally Dutilleux relented, and we needn’t feel guilty about enjoying the charm and virtuosity of these pieces, in which his individual harmonic sense is already in evidence.

All the players have the dexterity required, and the oboe and bassoon pieces come off superbly. But the test pieces also took into account timbre, and the flautist’s shrill top Bs near the start interrupt the pastoral atmosphere. My main quibble, though, is with Akanè Makita’s rubato in the Piano Sonata, especially at the ends of phrases – something Dutilleux hated. Makita also plays the first movement too slowly, adding more than a minute to the version by the composer’s wife Geneviève Joy, for whom the Sonata was written.

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Roger Nichols