“Books talk to each other” - Umberto Eco’s statement could just as easily apply to music, as Les Citations for Oboe, Harpsichord, Double Bass and Percussion by Henri Dutilleux (1916-2013) brilliantly proves. Written in 1991, the score was reworked by the composer for the Festival d’Auvers-sur-Oise, where the new version premiered in June 2010.
The origin of this work goes back to For Aldeburgh 85. Written for the 75th birthday of singer Peter Pears, the piece takes up a fragment of Peter Grimes, whose leading role had been written by Britten for the beloved tenor. Dutilleux adds a page titled From Janequin to Jehan Alain in which appears a song from the Renaissance composer, “L’espoir que j’ay d’acquerir vostre grace”, used by J. Alain in his Variations for Organ on a theme by Clément Janequin. The junction between the two parties is made through an Interlude that introduces the “wolf’s moan” theme from the ballet Le Loup (The Wolf) composed by Dutilleux in 1953 for the troupe of Roland Petit. This subtle tangle of quotations forms a shimmering and sensual work where the uniqueness of an authentic artist powerfully asserts itself.