Tout un monde lointain A whole distant world It is considered one of the most important 20th-century additions to the cello repertoire    and several major cellists have recorded it. Each of the five movements was inspired by the poetry of Charles Baudelaire ,  and the overall feel of the work is mysterious and oneiric. A typical performance runs approximately 27 minutes.
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Henri Dutilleux. Composed: Length: c. The work is conceived as an intense meditation on the poet Charles Baudelaire. Each of the five movements begins with a fragment of verse from the poet, but these are meant simply to suggest a character or mood for the music, not to supply a programmatic narrative. Throughout this recitative the cello melody exhibits a shape-shifting quality. Sometimes it proceeds in an intensely sustained and nearly scalar manner; at other times the intensity is released into bursts of plucked activity.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the movement is the unhurried and unostentatious way in which the other instruments are brought into play. As the cello grows more agitated, it begins to interact with a wider variety of discrete orchestral timbres. In some places in this movement — particularly in the loud tutti sections — the listener cannot fail to detect the French penchant for luxuriant sonority, a feature that clearly links Dutilleux to such composers as Debussy and Ravel, Messiaen and Boulez.
The last half or more of the movement features an aggressively pulsed and pointillistically textured music. The music of the second movement relies mainly on a plaintive cello melody placed most often in the high register.
Throughout much of the movement, massive string chords haunt the melody, sometimes overtaking it. The third movement takes a seascape as its point of departure.
At the outset the cello uses aggressively attacked double stops to launch a series of lines that rush up to points of temporary stability, then begin all over again. In the middle of the movement, Dutilleux creates a dancing, Debussy-like mosaic of sonorities, including angular scales that tumble up and down, woodblock motives, and pulsed chords that accelerate rapidly.
The fourth movement returns to a slow, meditative mood. Again the music is dominated by a cello melody in the high register. Beginning in an open texture over trembling percussion figures in the bass, it gradually accumulates several layers of sound, while the harp plucks out a steady beat. The fifth movement opens with a loud, raucous explosion. The cello now is agitated and motoric, giving only a few glimpses of its former lyricism.
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Tout un monde lointain
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