It was with surprise and delight that, whilst on a research trip to Paris about a year ago, I accidentally discovered a score dating from Henri Dutilleux's Conservatoire period in the 1930s. What I stumbled upon was a song, titled Barque d'Or, written for soprano and piano. Dutilleux's father, Paul Dutilleux, who owned his own printing firm in Douai, published Barque d'Or in 1937. Roger Nichols has quoted Dutilleux's recollection of his father's work:
All that ties in too with the craftsmanship I witnessed in my father's workshop, especially at the bench of one old engraver. We had a great respect for him, he looked like Brahms. On Sundays it was at that bench that my father sat me down to do my harmony exercises, without the piano. During the week my ears were full of the rumbling of the machines, but at those moments the absolute silence seemed to me to have an extraordinary quality — it was a very unusual feeling, which I often think about, and it was a great encouragement to the formation of my inner ear.
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