• 2[pic].2.0+2Clarinet in A.2/
  • 14 min

Programme Note

The piano suite Au gré des ondes (Along the Waves) is one of the earliest extant piano works by Henri Dutilleux.

Comprising six short character pieces, the work was composed as the result of commissions for short interludes used as continuity music on radio. As the French music scholar Caroline Potter suggests the title is probably a pun on ‘sea’ and ‘radio’ waves.

Throughout there are unmistakable echoes of Ravel, Milhaud, Poulenc and other contemporaries. Nevertheless, it is a delightful composition that seemed to cry out for orchestral colour. The orchestration was made in 2014, a year after Dutilleux's death, and throughout the work wherever additional material is added it reflects a latent aspect within the music (particularly in the Hommage à Bach).

Made in fond remembrance of my teacher, Au gré des ondes itself is dedicated to six individuals:

I - Prélude en berceuse (à Claude Pascal) Claude Pascal (1921 - ) Composer and singer.

II – Claquettes (Tap-dancing) (à Jacqueline Bonneau) Jacqueline Bonneau (1917 - 2007) Pianist and duo partner to Geneviève Joy.

III - Improvisation (à Pierre Sancan) Pierre Sancan (1916 - 2008) Composer, pianist and teacher.

IV - Mouvement perpétuel (à Leon Kartun) Leon Kartun - (1895 - 1982) Pianist, composer and arranger, with an interest in Jazz.

V - Hommage à Bach (à Claude Arrieu) Claude Arrieu (1903 - 1990) Composer.

VI - Étude (à Geneviève Joy) Geneviève Joy (1919 - 2009) Pianist and wife to Dutilleux.

The first performance of the orchestrated version of Au gré des ondes was given by the Göttingen Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christoph-Mathias Mueller in Göttingen, Germany, on 29 January 2016.

Programme note © 2016 Kenneth Hesketh

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