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Robert Levin
Henri Dutilleux
D'ombre et de silence

Robert Levin piano
Ya-Fei Chuang piano (Figures de résonances)
 
Petit air à dormir debout

Sonate (1946-48)
I. Allegro con moto
II. Lied
III. Choral et variations

from Au gré des ondes (1946)
I. Prélude en berceuse
III. Improvisation

Blackbird (1950)

Tous les chemins … mènent à Rome (1961)

Résonances (1965)

Figures de résonances (1970/76)
pour deux pianos
I-IV

Mini-prélude en éventail (1987)

Préludes
I. D'ombre et de silence (1973)
II. Sur un même accord (1977)
III. Le jeu des contraires (1988)

Bergerie (1946)

Au gré des ondes (1946)
I. Prélude en berceuse
II. Claquettes
III. Improvisation
IV. Mouvement perpetuel
V. Hommage à Bach
VI. Étude

Recorded December 2008

ECM New Series 2105
 
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The first ECM release dedicated exclusively to music by the doyen among French contemporary composers (born 1916). “De l’ombre et de silence” offers a comprehensive overview of Dutilleux’s highly original and energetic work for one and two pianos (“Figures de Resonances”). American pianist Robert Levin, not least known as a long-standing musical partner to violist Kim Kashkashian, a noted theorist and professor of humanities at Harvard, approaches the repertoire with great sonic subtlety and utmost technical brilliance. Levin met the composer during his season as Director in Residence at Nadia Boulanger’s Conservatoire Américain at Fontainebleau in 1979 and has since been his close friend. In his liner notes to the present recording Levin writes: “Dutilleux has always kept a discreet profile, composing with painstaking perfectionism, subjecting his works to relentless revision before, and sometimes after, they have been presented to the public”. The programme opens with Dutilleux’s path-breaking piano sonata of 1946–48, a three-movement work that is marked by a personal synthesis of French Impressionism and the clear-cut rhythmic contours characteristic of Soviet music of the same period. The shorter pieces – radiant, playful and highly sophiticated music condensed to its very essence – “document Duteilleux’s trajectory from extended tonality to a sound world totally of his own invention, in which harmonies of dazzling iridescence inflect brilliant rhythmic and melodic gestures” (Robert Levin).

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