D'ombre et de silence, Prelude 1

D'ombre et de silence, Prelude 1

D'ombre et de silence, Prelude 1

Henri Dutilleux

Claire-Marie Le Guay's masterclass

Produced by the Saline royale Academy French Music sheet annotated by  Claire-Marie Le Guay  is available 47 min Piano

In this masterclass, professor Claire-Marie Le Guay along with her student Maria Nikiforov examine silences, articulation, left hand and right-hand dynamics, among other important elements.

Produced by the Saline royale Academy

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The masterclass

About this masterclass 

In this lesson, Claire-Marie Le Guay discusses music history, particularly that of the Impressionism movement in the arts, and Henri Dutilleux's perspective of it. This particular work by Dutilleux contains long harmonies that evoke an "impressionistic" atmosphere. 

 Additionally, the professor and student work heavily on dynamics, the legato, applying the right weight in the hands, as well as tips on better practicing methods. 


What we learn in this masterclass 

  1. The influence of impressionism in this work. 

  2. Anticipating the trajectory of the piece. 

  3. Dynamics. 

  4. Hand and wrist posture. 

  5. Practicing tips. 


D'ombre et de silence by Henri Dutilleux

Part of a three prélude set, D'ombre et de silence ("Of shadow and silence") is the first prélude in the collection, composed between 1973 and 1994. They were not originally written as a unified collection, hence the gap in their publications. D'Ombre et de silence was released in Paris in 1974. It explores a variety of different resonances that result from different chord structures: from tightly-knit chromatic groupings to voices that are widely spaced. Each chord group is introduced by a complex figure of grace notes (appoggiatura).

Towards the end of the piece, the melody becomes more flowery and has a slightly eastern mood. 


  • Date:06 November 2020
  • Producer: Produced by the Saline royale Academy
  • Duration:47 min
  • Spoken language:French

Sheet music

Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this piano masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Claire-Marie Le Guay’s feedback and comments.

Sheet music d'ombre et de silence, prelude 1

Claire-Marie Le Guay

Claire-Marie Le Guay

First prize winner at International Contest of Chamber Music of Portogruaro in Italy (1990).

Claire-Mairie Le Guay is a highly sought-after solo pianist who has performed with many prestigious conductors and orchestras, including Orchestre de Paris, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the New Japan Philharmonic, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. She is a prizewinner of numerous international competitions, including the Victoires de la Musique and the Banque Populaire Foundation. Le Guay has performed recitals at many leading festivals, among them the Festival International de Piano de La Roque d’Anthéron, the MDR Musiksommer, Klavier-Festival Ruhr in Germany, and the Lockenhaus Festival in Austria. Her recordings of Liszt, Schumann, Hadyn, Mozart, and Dutilleux have all been noted and praised by the press such as the Pianiste, Choc de Classica, Diapason, Gramophone, and Mirare. Claire-Marie Le Guay attaches great importance to musical transmission, a passion that has led her to participate in ‘Au coeur d’une oeuvre’ a concert series that took place from 2014-2017 at the Salle Gaveau in Paris, as well as a series of concert-lectures entitled ‘Concerts Guidés’. Since 2012, Le Guay has collaborated with the Opéra de Dijon in presenting various pedagogical projects, and has developed an educational project for families at the Aix-en-Provence Easter Festival. In 2015, Claire-Marie Le Guay was appointed Eisenhower Fellow in recognition of her commitment to the popularization and transmission of classical music. She has been a professor at the Académie de Musique Française of the École Normale de Musique de Paris since 2002 and is the Artistic Director of the Festival international de musique de Dinard.


Henri  Dutilleux

Henri Dutilleux was a French composer born in 1916 in Angers, France. He began his musical studies in Douai and then continued his education in Paris. He did not compose many pieces because his work required a careful, slow, and intellectual process. His music is in the continuity of the famous composers like Debussy and Ravel, but with an iconoclastic style. He gathered many prizes in the 30s, occupied the prominent position of head of the musical production at Radio France for nearly two decades, was a renowned professor in the 60s and received the French Légion d’honneur in 2004.  

He married pianist Geneviève Joy in 1945 and composed several film scores spanning several decades, the latest being in the 80s with Under the Sun of Satan by Maurice Pialat. Dutilleux claimed that his work was influenced by Beethoven, and cites his late string quartets as one of his most favorite pieces of all time. 

Henri Dutilleux died at the age of 97 in Paris and was buried, as per his wish, next to his beloved wife, who passed a few years prior. His influence still echoes everywhere, and he is often regarded as one of the most influential composers of the second part of the 20th century. His repertoire includes a piano sonata, two symphonies, the cello concerto Tout un monde lointain…, the violin concerto L'arbre des songes, the string quartet Ainsi la nuit and Sonatine for flute and piano. 

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