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Dutilleux: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2- Le Double

Henri Dutilleux , Daniel Barenboim , Orchestre de Paris Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Orchestre de Paris
  • Conductor: Daniel Barenboim
  • Composer: Henri Dutilleux
  • Audio CD (28 July 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner
  • ASIN: B0000A1M76
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 529,546 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Dutilleux : Symphony No.1 : I Passacaille - Andante
2. Dutilleux : Symphony No.1 : II Scherzo molto vivace
3. Dutilleux : Symphony No.1 : III Intermezzo - lento
4. "Dutilleux : Symphony No.1 : IV Finale - con variazioni, largamente"
5. "Dutilleux : Symphony No.2 'Le double' : I Animato, ma misterioso"
6. Dutilleux : Symphony No.2 'Le double' : II Andantino sostenuto
7. Dutilleux : Symphony No.2 'Le double' : III Allegro fuocoso

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Budget reissue of award winning record 14 May 2013
By david
Format:Audio CD
Anybody who loves French orchestral music should investigate this disc. Dutilleux's symphonies follow firmly in the footsteps of Honegger and Roussel without being diminished by those obviously more important Gallic voices of the C20.
The first symphony especially seems to take Honegger's second to its logical and rather haunting conclusion in the finale. It is a French version of The Unanswered Question and more polished, elegant and musical than Ives because of that.
In terms of recordings, I think the Erato disc betters Baudo on French Harmonia Mundi, though that disc does couple the First Symphony with Timbres, Espace, Mouvement which is far more interesting and representative of the mature composer than his second symphony. It was in this piece, which is effectively a work for multiple cellos, that I came across Dutilleux's music in a Salle Pleyel concert with the Orchestre de Paris; I wondered what I was in for when the orchestra vacated the stage and 15 cellos assembled in a semi-circle! Certainly this was an educational experience that re-focused my ears. The presence of the composer himself, then in his mid eighties, was an extra bonus. The orchestra and audience gave him the adulation he deserved.
The Barenboim account is also much to be preferred to the Sony box set with the Bourdeaux Orchestra under Hans Graf on sound quality, though the boxset does give nearly everything in Dutilleux's quite small output. However, apparently a bargain, I couldn't live with these recordings long term.
So at this price I think the Barenboim is unbeatable...as for the competing vintage versions by Ansermet and Munch. Are you kidding? Surely this modern music, filigree and delicate in its orchestration needs modern sound!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most under-rated composers of the last 100 years! 27 Aug 2009
By Lansing D. Mcloskey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Dutilleux is one of the most underappreciated composers of the last century, and nowhere is this exhibited more than on this recording of his Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2.

On these two works, Dutilleux strikes the perfect balance between avant-garde, thorny modernism and lush, almost Romantic sonorities, melodies, and emotion. Utterly "accessible", without pandering or making ANY compromises in the slightest.

I was somewhat familiar with earlier works of Dutilleux, which are fine -- But when I discovered these symphonies I was stunned, and found myself wondering "HOW in the world can it be that I've never even heard of these!??" I couldn't stop listening to them over and over for days.

This is music that is challenging yet supremely beautiful and moving.
Excellent performances and recordings, as well, under the direction of Barenboim.

Should appeal to those who love Neo-Romanticism, Impressionism, Colorism/Gesturalism of Lutoslawski, Berio or Takemitsu, or early 20th c. masters like Stravinsky or Bartok. Sounds fresh and powerful FIFTY years later.
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable music, but immature or less ably performed pieces by this unique French composer 4 Feb 2012
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Henri Dutilleux's two symphonies were written in the 1950s, and show the French composer reaching his full powers. This recording where Daniel Barenboim conducts the Orchestre de Paris, was originally released on an Erato disc in the late 1980s, but here it has been reissued in Warner's "Elatus" line.

The Symphony No. 1 (1951) is four movements, roughly slow-fast-fast-slow. A comparatively early work, here Dutilleux follows in the path laid by the French impressionist and neoclassicists of a generation before, and I find the work quite comparable to Witold Lutoslawski's first works in that both composers were trying to push Stravinsky, Ravel and Roussel one step further. It's a competent work, but I find its spastic veering between the ethereal and the martial to show some immaturity.

The classic recording of the First is on a Harmonia Mundi disc where Serge Baudo leads the Orchestre National de Lyon, but I like Barenboim's take a lot more. The sound quality is about the same on both recordings (that is to say, enjoyable with some weak points like score rustling), but Barenboim brings a lot more fire to the performance. By comparison, Baudo is hesitant and unsure of himself.

The Symphony No. 2 (1959) bears the title "Le Double", for it pairs the orchestra with a smaller ensemble that holds up a (distorted) mirror. Unfortunately, this confrontation doesn't come across at all on disc. While no doubt a brilliant work, by missing what is essentially the symphony's key aspect, one will only hear three movements of generic Dutilleux soundscapes. That's not entirely a bad thing, as this is mature Dutilleux, It's a rich, captivating soundworld of winds and strings, peppered by mysterious harpsichord and aggressive drums. It's nocturnal in mood, somehow combining total transparency with a sense of mystery. But it's not quite what the composer intended.

The only other performance I've heard of the Second is that by the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse conducted by Michel Plasson on an EMI disc (and subsequent reissue). I find that superior to this reading here, as Barenboim rushes through the first movement, and the slow second movement is too wallowing in its own lush sweep, losing the tension. Barenboim almost makes the third movement sound like the Romantic warhorses that he conducted with the CSO; I'm not sure how I feel about that.

So since one piece here is comparatively immature, and the other doesn't come across well on disc (and isn't the best performance), I'd recommend this disc only to established fans of the composer. If you've never heard Dutilleux's music before, try his string quartet "Ainsi la nuit" or his ethereal orchestral piece "Timbre, espace, mouvement" first.
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Composer and Works : Recording a Great Value 1 April 2010
By Jason Husgen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Henri Dutilleux is without a doubt one of the most under-appreciated composers of the 20th (and now 21st) Century. Due in part to his relatively small output. Due also to the fact that his work is difficult to pigeonhole within ready categories that define the movements of Post-War classical music.

This latter fact -- "difficult to pigeonhole" -- is arguably Dutilleux's greatest asset as a composer. He's undertaken an approach very much his own for decades, crafted to the given project at hand. In broad terms, Dutilleux's approach is influenced significantly by French predecessors such as Debussy, Ravel, and Roussel. Additional influences include Stravinsky, Bartók, and Prokofiev. But Dutilleux has stridently avoided dogmatic elements of post-modernism, such as a strict adherence to serialism, seen in his French contemporaries the late Olivier Messiaen and even more so Pierre Boulez. In this regard, Dutilleux's often been labeled "conservative" by certain contemporaries and critics. This label is either incorrect entirely, incorrect if assumed pejorative, or both.

Whether or not "conservative", Dutilleux's work has a distinctive, and modern, character that's in substance hardly less adventurous -- even if less dogmatic -- than his contemporaries'. To the everyday listener, what matters about Dutilleux's work is how it sounds, not the dictates (or lack thereof) pursuant to which it was written. Dutilleux's work is typically tonal, but he dabbles with serialism, and with other approaches (harmonic and otherwise).

In the symphonies, Dutilleux displays a great gift for rich, textured orchestral writing that brings to mind French predecessors such as, again, Ravel, and also Berlioz. There's something of Mahler in Dutilleux's orchestration, as well. While the Symphony No. 1 is a precisely constructed, quiet, unassuming sonic arc, the Symphony No. 2 is plucky, exuberant, offbeat, and filled with surprises. In the latter work, Dutilleux exhibits supreme intelligence in calling forth particular, often sparse, orchestral forces. The harpsichord's entries in the conversation throughout the work are, in every instance, a delightful touch. In both works, Dutilleux's sound conveys much in the way of the visual -- a painting in sound, notes on a musical canvas.

Listeners are likely, with reason, to prefer the Symphony No. 2. It's a brilliant and thrilling soundscape. But the thoughtful, and more introverted, Symphony No. 1 is not a work to be overlooked.

This French-issue recording of the works, under Daniel Barenboim, is very well done, and also (at under $7 for full MP3 download) an extraordinary deal.

Highly recommended.
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