Laura Aikin, Soprano – Jukka-Pekka Saraste And The WDR Symphony, Cologne – February 19, 2016 – WDR3 – Cologne.
An all-French Concert this week, performed by the WDR Symphony Orchestra, Cologne led by Jukka-Pekka Saraste and featuring soprano Laura Aikin, who was called in at the last minute to replace an ailing Barbara Hannigan.
Only two works: Correspondances for voice and Orchestra by Henri Dutilleux with Laura Aikin. After intermission the concert concludes with the complete ballet in three parts, Daphnis et Chloé by Maurice Ravel. The orchestra is joined by the WDR Rundfunkchor, Koln.
A word or two about Henri Dutilleux: he was active mainly in the second half of the 20th century. His small body of published work, which garnered international acclaim, followed in the tradition of Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Albert Roussel and Olivier Messiaen, but in an idiosyncratic style.
Some of his notable compositions include a piano sonata, two symphonies, the cello concerto Tout un monde lointain… (A whole distant world), the violin concerto L’arbre des songes (The tree of dreams), the string quartet Ainsi la nuit (Thus the night) and a sonatine for flute and piano. Some of these are regarded as masterpieces of 20th-century classical music. Works were commissioned from him by such major artists as Charles Munch, George Szell, Mstislav Rostropovich, the Juilliard String Quartet, Isaac Stern, Paul Sacher, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Simon Rattle, Renée Fleming, and Seiji Ozawa. French organist Gaston Litaize also asked Dutilleux many times to compose for the organ, but nothing came from it; the two first met in 1938 at the Grand Prix de Rome, which Dutilleux won and at which Litaize finished second.
In the New York Times, Paul Griffiths wrote, “Mr. Dutilleux’s position in French music was proudly solitary. Between Olivier Messiaen and Pierre Boulez in age, he was little affected by either, though he took an interest in their work. … But his voice, marked by sensuously handled harmony and color, was his own.”
About Laura Aikin: she is an American operatic coloratura soprano. She is noted for her portrayal of the title character in Lulu, which has received very positive reviews in the press. She has also appeared as Mozart’s Queen of the Night, Zerbinetta by Richard Strauss and in contemporary opera at international opera houses and festivals.
The rest you know about – enjoy the concert.