MARC-ANDRÉ DALBAVIE (b.1961): La source d’un regard, Oboe Concerto, Flute Concerto, Cello Concerto.
Catalogue Number: 08V061
Label: Seattle Symphony Media
Description: Dalbavie has made something of a specialty of the concerto in the past decade, and these fine examples of the genre, epitomizing the Romantic concept of the form as a virtuoso vehicle in distinct movements with an overall dramatic arc, reimagined in contemporary but thoroughly approachable tonal or tonal-sounding terms. The substantial Cello Concerto (2013) is in a single span, divided into six sections designated 'fantaisie'. An explosive orchestral introduction in rapid-fire figuration leads to the cello's entry, leading the way with fast, chattering repeated notes and scales, with post-minimalist motoric propulsiveness. The repeated notes suddenly become long, sustained ones, leading to a melodic episode, then a short bridging section leads to the work’s main argument, initiated by the cello, playing widely spaced arpeggiated figures, floating and shifting ambiguously between tonal centers of gravity, sometimes with a drone-like insistence , finally settling on a persistent repeated pattern. The fast motoric material keeps returning, each time more aggressive and dense than before, and the cycle continues, with greater intensity each time. The orchestra dismisses everything with an abrupt, eruptive climax, and the final section brings back material from the beginning to end the work decisively. The concerti for oboe and flute (2009 and 2006 respectively) are also in a single span, but subdivided into more traditional fast-slow-fast movements. Both begin with a dramatic gesture followed by a fast 'movement' with arpeggiated (flute) or swirling (oboe) repeated gestures of post-minimal character. The more timbrally adventurous Oboe Concerto prefaces this with a striking multiphonic chord, soon enveloped in a haze of string tone. When the activity calms down, the slow movements share a dreamlike, somnolent quality, with lush and beautiful harmonies. The multiphonic gesture ushers in the Oboe Concerto's finale, and both end with mechanistically pulsating fast movements decorated by rhapsodic flights by the soloists. The title of La source d’un regard, written for Messiaen's centenary in 2008 makes reference to the older composer’s celebrated piano work, and the piece itself to his coloristic harmony, but it mainly concentrates on an extended, archaic-sounding melody presented in a shimmering spectral mist suggesting a primitive formlessness predating the rituals of Messiaen's Easter Island statues. Mary Lynch (oboe), Demarre McGill (flute), Jay Campbell (cello), Seattle Symphony; Ludovic Morlot.