La mesure des choses I. La mesure de l’air (1992, rev.2002), for Bb clarinet

Tiodhlac (2001), for Bb clarinet

Matthew Nelson, clarinet

Soundset Recordings SR1087 – released July 2017




Rynes CD Albanysmall

Roman (1982), for violin

Eric Rynes, violin

Albany TROY1614 – released February 2016





Ombre:miroir musikFabrik


Ombre/Mirror (2004), for flute solo and ensemble

Helen Bledsoe, flute
musikFabrik, James Wood, cond.

edition musikFabrik schattenspiele / shadow games 

Wergo 6854 2 – released June 2010




La Terre et le Feu, for oboe and ensemble
Les Raisons des Forces Mouvantes, for organ
La Mesure des Choses III. La Mesure de la Terre et du Feu, for oboe and viola
Athanor, for orchestra



BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Pierre-André Valade

Gareth Hulse, oboe, Paul Silverthorne, viola
Hans-Ola Ericsson, organ

 Mode Records 139 (distributed in the UK by Harmonia Mundi; in France by Abeille Musique) – released September 2004



Concerto for piano and orchestra
String Trio
Die innere Grenze,
for string sextet




Stefan Litwin (piano)
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Bradley Lubman
Trio de l’Ensemble Intercontemporain
Sextuor Schoenberg

Naive Montaigne Mo 782093 – released fall 1998



Mode Records CD:

While Joël-François Durand’s music developed from various influences of the avant-garde — most notably from the serialism of Brian Ferneyhough and the textural experiments of the spectral school — it is transparently organized, attractively colored, and surprisingly accessible, though without compromise or reactionary pandering. For all their surface complexity and elaborate internal processes, Durand’s works are never opaque or obfuscatory, but always clearly laid out, so even the lay listener can understand his intentions and appreciate the music’s logic without recourse to theoretical justifications. The bright timbres of Durand’s oboe concerto, La terre et le feu (1999), the impressive contrasts of Les raisons des forces mouvantes, for organ (1996), and the delicate traceries of La mesure des choses III – La mesure de la terre et du feu, for oboe and viola (1999), all reveal Durand’s meticulous craftsmanship and draw attention to his exceptional orchestrational skills. But Athanor for orchestra (2001) is this disc’s most significant work, a broad-brushed essay of layered textures and a slowly evolving, elegiac melody that conveys a deep sense of tragedy, almost with Romantic force. The BBC Symphony Orchestra, under Pierre-André Valade, delivers this monumental score with great clarity and strength. Mode’s recording is splendid, carefully balanced to make volume adjustments unnecessary between tracks. ~ Blair Sanderson, All Music Guide

La terre et le feu uses microtones subtly yet tellingly, adding an extended melodic element to the material in addition to the customary coloristic effect. There is a kind of complexicist surface glitter and activity to the music but there seems not to be strict adherence to any particular school of composition, and the over-riding impression is of linear textures, ingenious counterpoint and – if one dare say it in this context – lyrical melodicism. The orchestral work (Athanor), full of slowly evolving textures like emerging structures in cooling magma; here musical structures seem subsumed in organic flow, though an external structure imposed by the composer is present, and the progression toward the final glowing peroration seems as inevitable as it is dramatically satisfying.” (Records International, October 2004)

Seattle composer Joël-François Durand’s recent CD, La terre et le feu (Mode) has two fine orchestral pieces: the title track, with its wan, astringent oboe/string textures, and the blazing Athanor, whose sweeping strings and bell-like brass crossbreed Brahms and Birtwistle. I really like the disc, but it’s telling that these two tough and challenging compositions were recorded by the London Sinfonietta and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. (Chris DeLaurenti, online review, March 2005)

Naive Montaigne CD:

“The Concerto for piano and orchestra offers a rare richness of new information and inflections, and demonstrates a real architectonic care and an accute, “Schoenbergian,” sense of form. (…) In “Die innere Grenze” for string sextet, the young French composer affirms a fantasy whose unexpected turns keep the auditors on their toes.” (Le Monde de la Musique, December 1998)

“The disc begins with one of the composer’s most imposing pieces, the Concerto for piano and Orchestra.(…) Joël-François Durand assumes brilliantly the heritage of the genre, placing the traditional opposition of soloist-orchestra under the banner of a lively, playful, colourful and polymorphous modernity”. (Diapason, November 1998)

“From this disciple of Ferneyhough we hear a major talent, a perception doubtlessly reinforced through an uninterrupted reflection upon the heritage of western music. If for many this is his first exposure to the present composer, it’s clearly under optimal conditions, with excellent interpreters.” (Scherzo – No. 130 – December 1998)

“Durand was born in France in 1954, which, from were I sit, makes him a young man with what looks to be a bright future. (…) A kind of bravura unrest informs the piano concerto, string trio, and string sextet. Rather, however, than a socially relevant rage, the disturbances play (happily) as Gallic-cool: a succession of unanticipated intervallic leaps, harmonies, timbral mixes on an irregular rhythmic footing. Which is certainly not to remark an absence of quietude in the two pieces for strings especially.” (La Folia – 1.5)