Skip to page content

About this Piece

Composed: 2013
Length: c. 10 minutes
Orchestration: 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (bass drum, bongos, snare drum, suspended cymbal, tam-tam, tom-toms, tubular bells, vibraphone), and strings

Commissioned by the Orchestre de Paris and composed in 2013, this work was written on the demand of Paavo Järvi, who conducted the premiere at Salle Pleyel in Paris in January 2014.

The Italian title is a reference to my first personal contact with Henri Dutilleux: one morning, while I was a resident at the Villa Medici in Rome (1993-1994), I suddenly received a phone call: “Hello, this is Henri Dutilleux, I am calling you from Paris.” 

I could not believe that I just had been contacted by one of the legends of music history. 

Ever since, Henri Dutilleux has never missed an occasion to ring me up or write me whenever I had a premiere or a CD release. I fondly remember the fax that he sent me to my hotel just hours before the premiere of my Second Cello Concerto by Mstislav Rostropovitch as well as the numerous phone messages he left me right after the radio broadcast premiere of my work In Terra Pace performed by Anne Gastinel and Michel Plasson in 2007. One should also mention those cheerful moments shared in restaurants, at his home during an apéritif or while on my trip to Tanglewood (1995). Another moving memory remains his last phone message, which sounded as a farewell. 

Beyond the great sadness felt by all those whom he had rewarded with his friendship, I tried to musically express in this work what I was left with after his passing away: a feeling of immense affection. Henri Dutilleux, together with his wife Geneviève Joy, gave much of their time to composers, performers, and all those people they valued. 

From a musical point of view, I chose to express myself in a mainly moderate tempo that fits the idea of remembrance especially well, even if several moments of great intensity contrast with this original idea. As far as the aesthetic standpoint goes, this work belongs to the research in modality that I began 20 years ago, at the border of consonance and dissonance. Henri Dutilleux told me once:  “J’aime votre musique parce qu’elle est corrosive” (I like your music because it is corrosive). 

I hope to keep this singularity he found in my music for a long time.

— Éric Tanguy