Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A vital Dutilleux Centennial project

Henri Dutilleux's centennial year in 2016 is coming along nicely. There are four BBC Proms concerts this summer that include works by the great French master, plus some major recording projects this year and in last year's run-up, most notably the Erato 7-disc Dutilleux Centenary Edition. But the undertaking I'm most excited about is this 3-disc collection of the Orchestral Works with the Seattle Symphony conducted by Ludovic Morlot, on the Symphony's own label, Seattle Symphony Media. Back in 2014 I gave the first disc in Morlot's series a very positive review. While I somehow missed the second disc in 2015, it too got nothing but raves from the critics, especially for the violin concerto L'arbre des songes with Augustin Hadelich, and it won a Grammy Award that year. The third disc is due, along with this compilation, on August 12, 2016.

Hadelich is back for the final disc in the set, playing the Nocturne for violin & orchestra "Sur le même accord". This is amazingly accessible music, with almost cinematic effects: shifting atmospheres, dramatic outbursts and always a wide range of virtuosic effects that Hadelich manages with aplomb on his 1723 Kiesewetter Stradivarius violin. The highlight, though, is a live performance of the great Timbres, espace, mouvement. Morlot ensures that scrupulous attention to detail doesn't interfere with the long arcs of this music; the virtuosity of the orchestral players, and their musicianship, is obvious.

From my balcony I can see sometimes just the tip of Mt. Rainier peaking out, but only on the clearest of days (not lately because of haze from wildfires on the Olympic Peninsula). It's somehow a comfort to know that not too far that way there's an orchestra that can play this great music of core French repertoire as well as any in the world. I need to hop on the ferry soon, and often, to hear it play live!

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