I. Énigme: Très libre et flexibleAs is usual with Dutilleux, there is no pause between sections (which is why I call them "sections" rather than movements proper.
"... Et dans cette nature étrange et symbolique" (from Poème XXVII)
I. Enigma: Very free and flexible
"... And in this strange and symbolic nature"
II. Regard: Extrêmement calme
"... le poison qui découle
De tes yeux, de tes yeux verts,
Lacs où mon âme tremble et se voit à l'envers" (from Le poison)
II. Gaze: Extremely calm
"... the poison that flows
from your eyes, from your green eyes,
lakes in which my soul trembles and sees itself upside down"
III. Houles: Large et ample
"... Tu contiens, mer d'ébène, un éblouissant rêve
De voiles, de rameurs, de flammes et de mâts..." (from La chevelure)
III. Surges: Wide and ample
"... You contain, sea of ebony, a dazzling dream
of sails, of rowers, of flames and of masts..."
IV. Miroirs: Lent et extatique
"... Nos deux cœurs seront deux vastes flambeaux
Qui réfléchiront leurs doubles lumières
Dans nos deux esprits, ces miroirs jumeaux..." (from La mort des amants)
IV. Mirrors: Slow and extatic
"... Our two hearts will be two large torches
that will reflect their double lights
in our two spirits, those twin mirrors..."
V. Hymne: Allegro
"Garde tes songes:
Les sages n'en ont pas d'aussi beaux que les fous !" (from La voix)
V. Hymn: Allegro
"Keep your dreams:
wise men do not have as beautiful ones as fools!"
I would love to offer musical examples, but the score, for cello with piano reduction, would take several weeks to deliver and cost, with shipping, over one hundred dollars. So I won't be referring to it today. It would be very nice if there were a sort of online library of copyright works that would allow you to excerpt brief quotes for the purpose of discussion.
Here is a performance of the work, given in the presence of the composer on the occasion of his 90th birthday in 2006 at the National Theater Mannheim, by Henri Demarquette, cello, and Frederic Chaslin, conductor:
There was a great deal of music written in the 20th century purporting to capture, evoke or hint at dreams, but much of it is just tedious and drawn-out. But this is a piece that I think will keep drawing you back. At some point I am going to sit down and analyze it in some detail--not that I think that this will reveal how to copy it! But it will likely be interesting.
As always, the music is powerful, expressive, but focussed and concentrated. He never goes on longer than necessary.
Despite not being called a concerto, this is undoubtedly one of the most successful cello concertos of the 20th century and has been recorded by quite a number of cellists. The version in the Centenary Edition of Dutilleux is that of the performers at the premiere, Rostropovich and the Orchestre de Paris conducted by Serge Baudo.