January 12, 2015

The Orchestre de Paris to play Dutilleux at grand opening of the Philharmonie

The French capital's premier orchestra will inaugurate state-of-the-art venue with music from their new CD.

Following a week of tragedy in Paris, the French capital's long-awaited new arts complex the Philharmonie de Paris will open its doors to the public on 14 January, bringing people together to celebrate music and culture at a crucial time.

It is fitting, then, that the Orchestre de Paris - with conductor and music director Paavo Järvi - this week inaugurates the concert hall as the Philharmonie's main resident ensemble, playing the music of the late French composer Henri Dutilleux. The work for violin and orchestra, Sur le même accord, features on the Orchestra de Paris' new album out today.

Regarded by many to be the most important French composer of the second half of the 20th century, Dutilleux passed away on 22 May 2013 at the age of 97. The Orchestra de Paris today releases a new recording devoted to the music of this unassuming giant of French music, who synthesised an intensely modern idiom with the orchestral colours and harmonic lushness of music by his countrymen Debussy and Messiaen.

"In his Nocturne for violin and orchestra, Sur le même accord, Dutilleux uses a six-note chord as the basis for the development of his musical ideas and after a short introduction alternates 'Rapid Music' with 'Lyrical Sections'," explains maestro Järvi. "It was composed for Anne-Sophie Mutter, who premiered the work in London on the 28th April 2002 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Kurt Masur."

Dutilleux is in good company at this week's grand opening concert, an all-French program also featuring music by Fauré and Ravel, with pianist Hélène Grimaud and soprano Sabine Devieilhe among the French soloists.

The Orchestre de Paris' new album also features Dutilleux's Symphony No.1 and Métaboles. Although the performance of Sur le même accord at the Philharmonie gala will feature French violinist Renaud Capuçon as soloist, the recording was made with another internationally acclaimed virtuoso.

"Christian Tetzlaff is one of the greatest living musicians and certainly one of the most respected and accomplished violinists," enthuses Järvi. "He is, of course, reputed for his interpretations of the Germanic repertoire (Bach, Brahms), but I find his reading of the Dutilleux particularly natural and polished, even though he had not played it very often. He is totally in phase not only with the piece's architecture but also with its lyricism.

"After Bizet, Fauré and Poulenc, with this recording of Dutilleux works we continue our journey in French music, begun when I took over as musical director of the Orchestre de Paris, and henceforth on disc," Järvi adds. "The journey began with classic works of the French repertoire, and we are now gently arriving at the major works of the modern era. Unfortunately, Dutilleux's death reminds us that this period is coming to an end. This recording is in homage to this great French composer."