Witold Lutoslawsky

Witold Lutoslawski was indisputably one of the major composers of the twentieth century. Born in Warsaw in 1913, he showed prodigious musical and intellectual talent from an early age. His composition studies in Warsaw ended at a politically difficult time for Poland so his plans for further study in Paris were replaced by a period which included military training, imprisonment by the Germans and escape back to Warsaw, where he and his compatriot Andrzej Panufnik played in cafes their own compositions and transcriptions.

After the war, the Stalinist regime banned his first symphony (1941-47) as 'formalist', but he continued to compose and in 1958 his Musique Funèbre, in memory of Bartok, established his international reputation. His own personal aleatoric technique whereby the performers have freedom within certain controlled parameters was first demonstrated in his Jeux Venitiens (1961) and is to be found in almost all the later music

Over the years, Witold Lutoslawski was frequently inspired by particular ensembles and artists including the London Sinfonietta, Sir Peter Pears, Heinz and Ursula Holliger, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Mstislav Rostropovich and Anne-Sophie Mutter. His Symphony No. 4 was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and received its world premiere in February 1993 under the baton of the composer. A powerful work, it reflected his increasing concern with expansive melody.

Among many international prizes awarded to this most modest man were the UNESCO Prize (1959,1968), the French order of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres (1982), Grawemeyer Award (1985), Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal (1986), in the last year of his life, the Swedish Polar Music Prize and the Inamori Foundation Prize, Kyoto, for his outstanding contribution to contemporary European music, and, posthumously, the International Music Award for best large-scale composition for the fourth symphony.

Lutoslawski's contribution to the musical world was enormous and his loss in February 1994, at the age of 81, will continue to be deeply felt.

© Chester Music

Year / Artwork Title Importance Medium
1938 Symphonic Variations 4.00 stars 3 CD
Comments:
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawski
1941 Paganini Variationen 4.00 stars CD
Lutoslawski Comments:
Bernd Glemser - Piano
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Antoni Wit
1941 Paganini Variationen 4.00 stars 2CD
Lutoslawski Comments:
Version for two pianos

Martha Argerich - Piano
Nelson Freire - Piano

1941 Paganini Variationen 4.00 stars 2CD
Lutoslawski Comments:
Version for two pianos

Martha Argerich - Piano
Giorgia Tomassi - Piano

1941 Paganini Variationen 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Version for Pianola (Lawson)

Realised by Rex Lawson

1941-1947 Symphony No 1 4.00 stars 3 CD
Comments:
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawski
1954 Concerto for Orchestra 4.50 stars  LP
Lutoslawski Comments:
Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Witold Rowicki
1954 Concerto for Orchestra 4.00 stars 3 CD
Comments:
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawski
1957 Five Songs for soprano and orchestra 4.00 stars 2 CD
Comments:
Choir and Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawsky
1958 Funeral Music 4.50 stars  LP
Lutoslawski Comments:
Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Witold Rowicki
1958 Funeral Music 4.00 stars 3 CD
Comments:
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawski
1958 Funeral Music 4.50 stars CD
Lutoslawski Comments:
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Antoni Wit
1958 Postlude No. 1 4.00 stars 2 CD
Comments:
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawsky
1958 Postlude No. 1 4.00 stars 3 CD
Comments:
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawski
1960-1961 Venetian Games 4.50 stars  LP
Lutoslawski Comments:
All of the works on this record I have heard live.
Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Witold Rowicki
1963 Trois poemes d'Henri Michaux 4.00 stars 2 CD
Comments:
Choir and Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawsky
1963 Trois poemes d'Henri Michaux 4.00 stars 3 CD
Comments:
Krakow Radio Chorus
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawski
1964 String Quartet 4.00 stars LP
Lutoslawski Comments:
From ChesterNovello.com:

My String Quartet lasts approximately twenty-four minutes, and contains two parts: introduction and main movement. The introduction opens with a recitative by the first violin followed by several separate episodes – as if framed – by groups of octaves (C – C). A short allusion to the opening recitative (this time in the cello) ends the movement in a kind of suspense. The main movement starts with a ‘furioso’; its violent character dominates for quite a while culminating finally in a ‘crisis’ played in the highest registers of all four instruments. A kind of chorale in ‘pianissimo’ follows, then a longer section marked ‘funebre’. The final episodes of the work constitute a commentary, as it were on what went on before.

In this Quartet I have sought to develop and enlarge the technique employed in the two preceding works, Jeux Venitiens and Trois Poèmes d’Henri Michaux the technique of what I call controlled aleatorism. It employs the element of chance for the purpose of rhythmic and expressive enrichment of the music without limiting in the least the full ability of the composer to determine the definitive form of the work.

The String Quartet was commissioned by Swedish Radio for the tenth anniversary of its New Music programme ‘Nutida Musik’. The World Premiere was given by the LaSalle Quartet in Stockholm on 12 March 1965.

© Witold Lutoslawski

LaSalla Quartet performs

1964 String Quartet 4.00 stars 2 CD
Comments:
Alban Berg Quartet
1965 Paroles Tissees 4.00 stars CD
Lutoslawski Comments:
Piotr Kusiewicz - Tenor
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Antoni Wit
1965 Paroles Tissees 4.00 stars 2 CD
Comments:
Louis Devos - Tenor
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawsky
1965 Porales Tissees 4.00 stars 3 CD
Comments:
Louis Devos - Tenor
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawsky
1965 Les Espaces du Sommeil 4.00 stars CD
Lutoslawski Comments:
Adam Kruczewski - Baritone
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Antoni Wit
1965-1967 Symphony No 2 4.00 stars 3 CD
Comments:
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawski
1968 Livre pour Orchestre 4.00 stars 3 CD
Comments:
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawski
1970 Cello Concerto 4.00 stars 2 CD
Comments:
Roman Jablonski - Cello
Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawsky
1970-1972 Preludes and Fuga for 13 Solo Strings 4.00 stars 3 CD
Comments:
Polish Chamber Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawski
1972 Preludes and Fugue for 13 solo strings 4.00 stars 2 CD
Comments:
Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawsky
1976 Mi-Parti 4.00 stars 3 CD
Comments:
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawski
1978-1979 Novelette 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
BBC Symphony Orchestra cond.Witold Lutoslawski
1972-1983 Symphony No 3 4.50 stars CD
Lutoslawski Comments:
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Antoni Wit
1985 Chain II 4.50 stars CD
Lutoslawski Comments:
Anne-Sophie Mutter - Violin
BBC Symphony Orchestra cond. Philip Moll
1985 Chain II 4.50 stars CD
Lutoslawski Comments:
Krzysztof Bakowski - Violin
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Antoni Wit
1985 Chain II 4.00 stars 3 CD
Comments:
Anne-Sophie Mutter - Violin
BBC Symphony Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawsky
1985 Partita, for violin, orchestra & obbligato piano 4.00 stars 3 CD
Comments:
Anne-Sophie Mutter - Violin
Phillip Moll - Piano
BBC Symphony Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawsky
1986 Chain III 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
BBC Symphony Orchestra cond. Witold Lutoslawsky
1988 Partita for Violin and Orchestra 4.00 stars CD
Lutoslawski Comments:
Krzysztof Bakowski - Violin
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Antoni Wit
1988 Partita for Violin and Orchestra 4.50 stars CD
Lutoslawski Comments:
Anne-Sophie Mutter - Violin
BBC Symphony Orchestra cond. Philip Moll
1988 Concerto for Piano 4.50 stars CD
Lutoslawski Comments:
Krystian Zimerman - Piano
BBC Symphony Orchestra cond. Philip Moll
1989 Interlude 4.50 stars CD
Lutoslawski Comments:
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Antoni Wit
1993 4th Symphony 4.50 stars CD
Lutoslawski Comments:
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Antoni Wit