LABELS: Seattle Symphony Media
ALBUM TITLE: Ludovic Morlot Conducts Dutilleux
WORKS: Métaboles; L’arbre des songes; Symphony No. 2
PERFORMER: Augustin Hadelich (violin); Seattle Symphony/Ludovic Morlot
CATALOGUE NO: SSM 1007
Dutilleux’s centenary next January is being celebrated not only by a plaque on his Paris apartment but, even better, by recordings of his music. The highlight of this Seattle disc is undoubtedly the violin playing of Augustin Hadelich in L’arbre des songes. From a poetically searching start he allows the music to build through spectacular fireworks to a radiant, confident ending, and in the fast spiccato passages allows us to hear the pitches of the notes more clearly than does Isaac Stern, for whom the work was written.
The warm recording, with some three seconds of echo, suits this work well, as it does the Second Symphony. Here again Ludovic Morlot draws excellent playing from the orchestra, and my only puzzle is over the final chord. Dutilleux, feeling the original C sharp major triad was too definite an end for this interrogatory work, later added six more notes to produce a complex ‘blues’ chord. I think Morlot chooses this substitute – but if so the additions are too close to inaudibility. The disappointment is Métaboles, where the generous acoustic softens the impact we find in George Szell’s 1965 version with the Cleveland Orchestra. Roger Nichols