The presentation followed a concert by the Nash Ensemble which included the world premiere of a revised version of Dutilleux’s atmospheric cycle of instrumental ‘snapshots’ Mystère de l’instant, written for the conductor Paul Sacher, his Diptyque for four players incorporating ‘quotations’ from Benjamin Britten and Jehan Alain, and the poetic string quartet Ainsi la nuit.
Reading the Council citation, Graham Sheffield Chairman of the RPS said:
”Henri Dutilleux has consistently produced work at the very highest level, holding steadfastly to his compositional principals and resisting the merely fashionable to create a distinctive and powerful language. His music deals with the issues of our day, but remains timeless, and its gentle sincerity makes it communicate at every level. His example has become a role model for a new generation of composers who find in his music an open-mindedness that engages them by its warmth and individuality. Henri Dutilleux stands for lucidity, sincerity and clarity of utterance: these are qualities that the Royal Philharmonic Society recognizes and salutes.”
The RPS Gold Medal was initiated in 1870 to commemorate the centenary of Beethoven’s birth and bears the effigy of Beethoven. It is the Society’s highest honour and is awarded internationally for the most outstanding musicianship.