Dutilleux/Alain

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Dutilleux/Alain
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: L’arbre des songes; Two Sonnets by Jean Cassou; Timbres, espace, mouvement avec interlude; Alain: Prière pour nous autres charnels (orch. Dutilleux)
PERFORMER: Olivier Charlier (violin), Martyn Hill (tenor), Neal Davies (baritone); BBC Philharmonic/Yan Pascal Tortelier
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9504
Performances of Dutilleux from the BBC Philharmonic under Yan Pascal Tortelier are almost always a welcome pleasure and this disc is no exception. From the hushed opening bars of L’arbre des songes to the subdued closing bars of Jehan Alain’s Prière pour nous autres charnels (orchestrated by Dutilleux shortly after Alain’s death in the Second World War), the music feels safe in Tortelier’s hands. Not that there is any sense of caution, rather that the critical faculties are rendered virtually impotent as he catalyses the music’s full potential to leave the listener spellbound.

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Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Violin Concerto, L’arbre des songes. It is not a confrontational concerto with bravura soloist battling against the orchestra for supremacy. Instead the orchestra and solo violin, the marvellous Olivier Charlier in this case, are interdependent, growing together in a mutual exchange of ideas. The same could be said of orchestra and conductor throughout their performances of Dutilleux’s music.

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Timbres, espace, mouvement (given here with the Interlude added by Dutilleux in 1991) is no less bewitching, for the matter-of-fact title is a work concerned with mood and atmosphere. Despite the very occasional wayward dynamic, the performance is unsurprisingly excellent. Recommended. Christopher Dingle