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L'arbre des songes (The Tree of Dreams) is a violin concerto written by Henri Dutilleux between 1983 and 1985. It is dedicated to Isaac Stern.

This concerto is the result of the composer's efforts in unifying large-scale works. The process of unification appears on two interrelated levels: form and thematic development.[1]

According to the composer, it is based on a process of continual growth and renewal (hence the title): "All in all the piece grows somewhat like a tree, for the constant multiplication and renewal of its branches is the lyrical essence of the tree. This symbolic image, as well as the notion of a seasonal cycle, inspired my choice of 'L'arbre des songes' as the title of the piece."[1][2]



The concerto was commissioned by Radio France for Isaac Stern to whom it is dedicated. Stern played the concerto at the premiere on November 5, 1985, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, with the Orchestre National de France conducted by Lorin Maazel.[3]


The concerto is scored for piccolo, two flutes, three oboes (third doubling oboe d'amore), piccolo clarinet in E-flat, two clarinets in A, bass clarinet, two bassoons, contrabassoon, three horns, three trumpets in C (with normal and Robinson mutes), three trombones (with normal and Robinson mutes), tuba, five timpani, two suspended cymbals (high and medium), two tam-tams (medium and low), crotales, tubular bells, glockenspiel, vibraphone, three bongos, three tom-toms, snare drum, cymbalum, piano, celesta, harp, solo violin, sixteen first violins, fourteen second violins, twelve violas, ten cellos and eight double basses.[3]


As in other of his works, notably the cello concerto Tout un monde lointain... and the string quartet Ainsi la nuit, Dutilleux uses an unusual structure of several movements (four in this case) without any break between each movements. He develops this continuity here with three interludes linking the movements, each in a very different style.

I. Librement
II. Vif
Interlude 2
III. Lent
Interlude 3
IV. Large et animé

A typical performance runs approximately 25 minutes.[3]



External linksEdit

  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Henri Dutilleux, L'arbre des songes, Schott (Paris, 1985)
  3. ^ a b c L'arbre des songes
  4. ^ "58th Annual GRAMMY Awards Winners & Nominees". The Recording Academy. 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2016.