He was the great-grandson of the painter Constant Dutilleux and grandson of the composer Julien Koszul. He was also a cousin of the mathematician Jean-Louis Koszul. As a young man he studied harmony , counterpoint , and piano with Victor Gallois at the Douai Conservatory before leaving for the Conservatoire de Paris. He worked for a year as a medical orderly in the army and then returned to Paris in , where he worked as a pianist, arranger and music teacher.
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Choral et variations  Overview The piano sonata represented an opportunity for Dutilleux to experiment with an ambitious, large-scale project, something that his previous commissioned works did not permit.
Its themes are ambiguous, never completely modal nor tonal. It is bithematic and classical in structure, with an ample first theme while the second one derives from the former. From the very first bars, it displays F-sharp Major-minor ambiguity.
Tritones are also featured prominently, as well as extremes of register which give the piece a symphonic character. The Lied is the shortest movement. In ternary A-B-A form, it is also sparser and more pensive than the other two. Its basic tonality is D-flat major although some degree of modal-tonal ambiguity is again noticeable. It begins in with some meter changes later on.
The last movement starts with an imposing Choral in that suggests a four-voice polyphony. It is characterized by carillon-like sonorities that are created by the overlapping of low and high sustained notes. Variation II features an early example of "fan-shaped phrases", a device Dutilleux would use frequently in his later works.
The movement concludes with a varied recapitulation of the Choral. The variations are thus structured in a mini- sonata form , creating a "sonata within a sonata". Throughout the movement, several passages have a toccata -like character. Selected discography.
Sonatine for Flute and Piano
Dutilleux/Balakirev: Piano Sonatas