It is something of a mystery why this intensely poetical and original composer has taken so long to gain recognition in this country. His development over the years may not be of the kind that attracts immediate attention, as, say, Lutoslawski's or Boulez's did, but his music, classically French to its roots, is at last being allowed to display its integrity and genuine modernity. Conservative with a small "c" it may be, but L'Arbre is absolutely of its time, while exhibiting a freshness of impulse that will always sound new. And in a marvellous performance by Olivier Charlier and the BBC Philharmonic under Yan Pascal Tortelier, the work sustained a magic progress through light, shade, dream and reality for close on 25 minutes.
A French masterpiece of a rather different cast provided the evening's second half, its unbuttoned stylistic pluralism contrasting strongly with Dutilleux's purity and restraint. Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony requires the utmost virtuosity and staunchness of heart from its performers, and both orchestra and conductor here drew on their ultimate reserves. This was a truly splendid performance, matching the composer's generosity of spirit and emotion at all points. Jean-Yves Thibaudet gave a heroic account of the finger-crunching piano solos, and Valerie Hartmann-Claverie was the inimitable ondiste.Reuse content