Trois nuits (Three Nights), in three movements, is a slow journey to death until the notes forming the name of DUTILLEUX emerge. (D=Ré, U=Sol,... in the French Sol-Fa system).
Les étoiles qui dansent (Dancing Stars) is constructed upon a theme revolving around a central note. Alternately rhythmic or lyrical, this pattern makes way for a second theme that will grimly collapse in the end.
Lueur (Glimmer) alternates a pizzicato nocturnal dance and the sound of plaintive voices (arco) in the upper register of the instrument. Halfway through the movement, the death-like atmosphere is dispelled and the mood becomes meditative with the return of the "Étoiles"(Stars) theme.
In the beginning of La traversée des morts (Passage into the Underworld), the cellist's bow evokes the oars of Charon's infernal boat in Greek mythology. The tempo increases until the enunciation of the notes that form the name of DUTILLEUX, to whom this work is a tribute. An infernal outburst brings the piece to its conclusion.
Three Nights is dedicated to François Salque
© Jean-Baptiste ROBIN