He was one of the major European composers of the 20th century, and one of the preeminent Polish musicians during his last three decades. He earned many international awards and prizes. His compositions of which he was a notable conductor include four symphonies , a Concerto for Orchestra , a string quartet, instrumental works, concertos , and orchestral song cycles. His early works were influenced by Polish folk music. His style demonstrates a wide range of rich atmospheric textures.

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An authored version for piano and orchestra has been prepared on the initiative of the Polish-American pianist and harpsichordist Felicja Blumenthal in In the years he regularly played in a piano duo with Andrzej Panufnik. This collection also included a transcribed version of Paganini's Caprice no.

As a side note, Panufnik never claimed to have participated in the composition of this piece. In the orchestral version we are dealing with a masterly operation, and even a juggling of three textures - violinistic, pianistic, and orchestral - assigned either alternately, or in counterpoint to the solo instrument and orchestral instruments or their groups. In the version for two pianos, the retained principle of an alternating exchange of melodic and harmonic material between both instruments slightly lengthens the duration of the piece when performed by one piano with orchestra - which results from a partially implemented, successive linking of musical portions played simultaneously by both instruments in the version for both pianos - but in turn significantly enriches the piece in the orchestral version through the qualities of musical colour.

The variations themselves are simultaneously etude -like, which is a source of not only their expressional, but also purely articulative contrast in the types of motion and various formulas of pianistic technique, such as pizzicato , tremolo , the use of parallel chords, passages, scales, glissandos, and other devices. They naturally connect with the expressional composition of the cycle, something that is perhaps most clear in the sixth variation, marked Poco lento also the strongest agogic contrast in the entire cycle, the latter being maintained in fast tempos, in keeping with the original model.

In this variation the mutually divergent scales in both pianos are played dolcissimo molto legato , only to give way in a maximal contrast of expression to the Allegro molto of the seventh variation. As to its harmony, the piece naturally relies on the A minor original, in relation to which the chordal textures, not having much in common with major-minor tonality, become a type of atonal and purely timbre-oriented variation that imbues the entire work with an almost piquant flavour.

Contrast to the perpetual vigore spirit maintained in allegro is introduced solely by the aforementioned, lyrical and cantilena -like sixth variation poco lento , in which one may discern an allusion to the musical poetry of Karol Szymanowski.

This contrasting variant in the centre of the cycle and a passage-based, mini cadence of the piano in the closing of the final variation create a purely external allusion to the form of a miniature piano concerto. Viewing the compositions for string orchestra in this perspective is a valuable exercise. PWM , Chester Music.


Witold Lutosławski

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Witold Lutoslawski (1913-1994)

Instead, when Poland was invaded Soviets from the east and Nazis from every other direction and he was initially captured, he managed an escape on foot to his home in Warsaw kilometers away. Although this left him without an official identity for the rest of the war, he managed to make ends meet teaming up with local cabaret performers and playing in small clubs. Larger music venues in Nazi-occupied Warsaw were more carefully monitored. An abrupt tempo change in variation six proves to be an embellishment compared to the original, although this also reflects that over the centuries countless different versions of this Caprice have been created. Further humor derives from exploiting that the original Caprice serves the primary purpose of showcasing a catalogue of effects only playable on a violin. The pianists nonetheless mimic at least symbolically pizzicato, harmonics, double stops, and other effects proceeding moment to moment through each of the original variations, polychords, and other dissonant anachronisms ironically compensating for the faux instrumental character. All Rights Reserved.

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