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Song cycle by Henri Dutilleux
Textpoems by Rainer Maria Rilke, Prithwindra Mukherjee, Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Vincent van Gogh
Composed2002 (2002)–03
  • soprano
  • orchestra

Correspondances is a song-cycle for soprano and orchestra written by the French composer Henri Dutilleux in 2002–2003.

It consists of five episodes and an interlude. The work was premiered by Simon Rattle and Dawn Upshaw with the Berliner Philharmonic on 5 September 2003 and has since been performed all over the world. It lasts 22 minutes.[1]


Correspondances consists of five movements based on various letters and poems as well as an interlude. The title refers both to letter writing and to synaesthesia in the Baudelairian sense i.e. symbolic "correspondences” between the senses and the world.[2][3]

It is based on texts by Rainer Maria Rilke, Prithwindra Mukherjee, Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Vincent van Gogh. Although they come from disparate sources, they are unified by their mystical inspiration and especially their concern about the place of humanity in the Cosmos.[2]

Each episode highlights a particular family of instruments. For instance, woodwinds and brass are prominent in De Vincent à Théo..., echoing the painter's use of colour[4] while an accordion and strings, in particular a cello quartet, dominate in A Slava et Galina (that letter was addressed to legendary cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and his wife, soprano Galina Vishnevskaya). Danse cosmique, opens with timpani and pizzicato strings before the whole orchestra surrounds the singer.[2][3]

The work contains quotations from Modest Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov as well as Dutilleux's own Timbres, espace, mouvement in Solzhenitsyn's letter and van Gogh's respectively.[2][4]

It was recorded by Esa-Pekka Salonen and Barbara Hannigan (for whom the composer wrote a new finale) with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in 2013.[4][5]


  • I Gong I (Rilke) "Timbre qui n'est plus..."
  • II Danse cosmique (Mukherjee) "Des flammes qui envahissent le ciel"
  • Interlude
  • III A Slava et Galina... (Soljenitsyne) "A l'approche du dixième anniversaire..."
  • IV Gong 2 (Rilke) "Bourdonnements épars silence perverti..."
  • V De Vincent à Théo... (Van Gogh) "Tant que durera l'automne..."[1]


  1. ^ a b "Correspondances, Henri Dutilleux". 2003-09-05. Retrieved 2015-05-21.
  2. ^ a b c d "Shop – Henri Dutilleux – Correspondances". 2003-09-05. Retrieved 2015-05-21.
  3. ^ a b "PROM 16 and PROM 17: CBSO/Sakari Oramo (7pm) and Manchester Camerata/Douglas Boyd (10pm), Royal Albert Hall, 27 July, 2005 (TJH)". 2005-07-27. Retrieved 2015-05-21.
  4. ^ a b c "Dutilleux Correspondances Salonen DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 1180 [LW]: Classical Music Reviews – June 2013 MusicWeb-International". Retrieved 2015-05-21.
  5. ^ James Manheim (2013-01-22). "Henri Dutilleux: Correspondances – Barbara Hannigan,Radio France Orchestre Philharmonique,Esa-Pekka Salonen | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-05-21.