The backbone of night: mechanisms of evolution in Henri Dutilleux's 'Ainsi la nuit'

Hesketh, K. (2011) The backbone of night: mechanisms of evolution in Henri Dutilleux's 'Ainsi la nuit'. Contemporary Music Review, 29 (5). pp. 463-483. ISSN 0749-4467 (print) 1477-2256 (online)

Abstract

Developmental tendencies in the work of Henri Dutilleux have been described variously as reverse variation, constant renewal or gradual motivic development. The term ‘progressive growth’ is often cited to describe the composer's process, particularly in his string quartet 'Ainsi la nuit' (1973–1976); but gradual motivic or harmonic development cannot explain the subtleties and larger inter-connective networks inherent in progressive growth, a concept that encompasses the use of involuntary memory and recursive/discursive narrative. A number of interdependent procedures support evolution of material within specific formal, harmonic or timbral environments through forward development and referential circularity, and through memory encoding index components, direct juxtaposition of quotation or inference of previously heard gestures can occur. Progressive growth may be justifiably compared with an evolutionary process of variation, selection and heredity within selective environments, and by viewing it in evolutionary developmental terms our awareness of its dynamic potential is greatly enhanced.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item