Vincent Le Texier performs Dutilleux’s Quatre mélodies and other works

'The playing throughout the disc is superb, using a vast range of dynamics.'

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Henri Dutilleux
LABELS: BIS
ALBUM TITLE: Dutilleux
WORKS: Le loup; Trois sonnets de Jean Cassou; La fille du diable; Trois tableaux symphoniques; Quatre mélodies
PERFORMER: Vincent Le Texier (baritone); Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire/ Pascal Rophé
CATALOGUE NO: BIS BIS-1651 (hybrid CD/SACD)

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In 1953 the 37-year-old Henri Dutilleux had a major success with the ballet Le loup, after which he was immediately deluged with ballet commissions. A complete recording appeared in 1954, an incomplete one under Georges Prêtre, in 1961…then 44 years of recording silence. Centenaries can be useful, and none more so than in giving us this wonderfully rich and tuneful score, ranging from the sensuous to the jaunty, from the lyrical to the terrifying. Here, and in the Sonnets of Jean Cassou, Dutilleux shows his attraction towards Alban Berg’s orchestral colours, as he was to do later in the Violin Concerto. The playing throughout the disc is superb, using a vast range of dynamics. If Vincent Le Texier’s voice is perhaps a little lacking in seductiveness for parts of the Quatre mélodies, he imbues the Sonnets with all the darkness of Cassou’s imprisonment by the Nazis, during which they were composed.

Dutilleux’s score for the crime film La fille du diable is competent, which probably was all he intended – a story of cops and robbers hardly seems his natural territory. Altogether more exciting are his three Tableaux symphoniques of music for a stage production of Wuthering Heights, in which he makes startlingly imaginative use of the ondes Martenot to imitate the howling of the wild dogs on the moor. Prepare for shivers down the spine!

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Roger Nichols