Music of Henri Dutilleux Heard in Philadelphia and Montreal

During the 2010/11 season, Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra celebrate many years of collaborative success with the composer Henri Dutilleux in three concert cycles paying tribute to the award-winning composer. October 5 and 6 marked the performances of Sur le même accord, for which violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter joined Nagano and the orchestra. The Dutilleux Cycle continues this season with performances of Correspondances in March and Métaboles and Muss es sein in May.

On this side of the border, Russian-born conductor Semyon Bychkov and French violinist Renaud Capuçon collaborate in performances of L’Arbre des songes with The Philadelphia Orchestra taking place October 21-23. The work was commissioned and premiered by Isaac Stern in 1985, with Lorin Maazel and l’Orchestre National de France in the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.

L’Arbre des songes uses a variety of unconventional techniques that create separations between its four movements while maintaining a larger schematic continuity. The composer comments:

As to form, the present work has similarities with its predecessors; its four structural parts are linked to one another by three orchestral interludes of differing characters and styles: the first is pointillist, the next monodic, and the last has a very still beginning. As for the solo part, it is not at all passive during these stretches; at the end of the second interlude it grafts itself onto the orchestra in parallel.

An avid lover of Vincent van Gogh, Dutilleux spends much of his compositional energy exploring a similar swirling, ethereal brushstroke in sound. He further explains:

All in all the piece grows somewhat like a tree, for the constant multiplication and renewal of its branches is the lyrical essence of the tree. This symbolic image, as well as the notion of a seasonal cycle, inspired my choice of L'arbre des songes as the title of the piece.

L’Arbre des songes is one of three pieces by Dutilleux presented during The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2010/11 season, falling between Timbres, espace, mouvement (October 7-9), inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, and Métaboles (March 24-26).

Henri Dutilleux-Composer Profile

To learn more about the Montreal Symphony Orchestra’s Dutilleux Cycle, visit

Find out more on The Philadelphia Orchestra’s season at

Henri Dutilleux
L’Arbre des songes (1985)
concerto for violin and orchestra
3.3(3. ob. d'am.)4.3-

Sur le même accord (2001/2002)
nocturne for violin and orchestra

Correspondances (2002/2004)
for soprano and orchestra
Texts by Rainer Maria Rilke, Prithwindra Mukherjee, Alexandre Solzhenitsyn and Vincent van Gogh



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