Witold Lutoslawski

Biography

Born: January 25, 1913; Warsaw, Poland   Died: February 7, 1994; Warsaw, Poland  
Lutoslawski was the leading progressive figure in Polish music of the second half of the twentieth century. Born in Warsaw, he showed an exceptional musical talent at an early age, with his first compositions dating from 1922. He studied piano, violin, and composition (with Witold Maliszewski, a pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov), graduating from the Warsaw Conservatory in 1937. Two years, at the beginning of World War II, Poland was occupied by the Nazi Read more Germany; and Nazi repression included censorship on artistic expression. Lutoslawski survived the difficult war years as well as the subsequent Stalinist period by writing for radio, film, and theatre. In addition, he arranged folk-songs and composed music for children.

Considered too formalist, his concert music was rarely performed. His first substantial orchestral work, The Symphonic Variations was premiered in 1939. It is a work firmly rooted in tonality with a folk-like theme that is varied in a kaleidoscopic way. His first stylistic period culminated in the folk-influenced, three-movement Concerto for Orchestra (1954).

With the cultural thaw which started in the late '50s, his reputation began to grow, at home and abroad, as did his compositional style, with twelve-tone techniques appearing in Funeral Music (1958). In this work, Lutoslawski continually resolves ascending scales with semi-tone intervals that tend to anchor tonal centers within keyless regions. In Jeux Vénitiens (1961), Lutoslawski took his first step into a "limited aleatory music" -- after hearing a performance of John Cage's Concerto for Piano in 1960. Lutoslawski's elegant String Quartet (1964) utilizes four rhythmically independent strands simultaneously, yielding wonderfully dense and elastic textures. In the Live pour orchestra (1968) the work's four main sections are connected by controlled aleatory passages. Most of his subsequent works were orchestral, fully chromatic, orchestrated in a manner suggesting Debussy and Ravel, and consistently develop an opposition between aleatory and metrical textures. Lutoslawski went on to compose nearly twenty major orchestral works, including Symphony No. 3 (1982), for which he was awarded the prestigious Grawemeyer Award, and his final Symphony No. 4 (1992), commissioned and premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

He also composed works for distinguished soloists, such as Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, (&Les espaces du sommeil), Heinz and Ursula Holliger (Concerto for Oboe and Harp), Anne-Sophie Mutter, Chain II, Mstislav Rostropovich (cello concerto), and Krystian Zimmerman (Piano Concerto). Lutoslawski's extensive experience conducting his own works helped him to refine his musical language, his later works becoming more lyrical and harmonically transparent. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 225 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Virtuosic Dance / Ehlen-Tai Piano Duo
    Label: Azica   Catalog: 71312 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Maurice Ravel,  Manuel Infante,  Witold Lutoslawski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ehlen-Tai Piano Duo
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  • 2.
    Music for Clarinet by 20th Century Polish Composers / Barszcz, Saciuk, Michalak
    Label: Dux Records   Catalog: 1258 Release Date: 08/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Kazimierz Serocki,  Stefan Kisielewski,  Witold Lutoslawski,  Krzysztof Penderecki  ... 
    Performer:  Mariusz Barszcz,  Piotr Saciuk,  Jacek Michalak
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  • 3.
    Octophonia: Lidholm, Lutoslawski, Sallinen & Nordheim / Styffe
    Label: Simax   Catalog: 1342 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ingvar Lidholm,  Witold Lutoslawski,  Aulis Sallinen,  Arne Nordheim
    Performer:  Dan Styffe,  Ingrid Andsnes,  Eskild [Double Bass] Abelseth,  Karol [Double Bass] Ciesluk  ... 
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  • 4.
    Bartok, Schnittke & Lutoslawski / Cuckson, McMillen
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 002484702 Release Date: 05/06/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Alfred Schnittke,  Witold Lutoslawski
    Performer:  Miranda Cuckson,  Blair McMillen
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  • 5.
    Shostakovich & Weinberg: Cello Concertos / Alstaedt
    Label: Channel Classics   Catalog: 38116 Release Date: 04/22/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Witold Lutoslawski,  Mieczyslaw Weinberg
    Performer:  Nicolas Alstaedt
    Conductor:  Michal Nesterowicz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
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  • 6.
    Paganini & Beyond: Critic's Choice
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 250338 Release Date: 04/15/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niccolň Paganini,  Franz Liszt,  Johannes Brahms,  Karol Szymanowski  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Rabin,  Géza Anda,  Thomas Zehetmair,  Silke Avenhaus  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Ferenc Fricsay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Piano Duo
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  • 7.
    Lutoslawski: Concerto for Orchestra - Brahms: Piano Quartet, Op. 25 / Harth-Bedoya, Fort Worth
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 807668 Release Date: 04/01/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Witold Lutoslawski,  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Miguel Harth Bedoya,  John Giordano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Lutoslawski
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 232 Release Date: 03/25/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Witold Lutoslawski
    Conductor:  Krzysztof Urbanski
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  • 9.
    Jarzebski, Vivaldi, Bach, Pachelbel, Haydn, Lutoslawski
    Label: Dux Records   Catalog: 993 Release Date: 02/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Adam Jarzebski,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Pachelbel  ... 
    Performer:  Krzysztof Jakowicz
    Conductor:  Jan Milosz Zarzycki
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  • 10.
    Luca Buratto: Live At Honens 2015
    Label: Honens   Catalog: 201601 Release Date: 02/12/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  György Ligeti,  Claude Debussy,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Luca Buratto,  Isabel Bayrakdarian,  James Campbell,  Hsin-Yun Huang
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  • 11.
    Szymanowski: Symphony No. 2; Lutoslawski: Livre & Musique Funebre
    Label: Accentus   Catalog: 30349 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Karol Szymanowski,  Witold Lutoslawski
    Conductor:  Alexander Liebreich
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Dialoghi / Frey, Fung [Vinyl]
    Label: Yarlung Records   Catalog: YAR09262-876V Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Witold Lutoslawski,  Steven Edward Stucky,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  David Fung,  Elinor Frey
    LP: $29.99
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  • 13.
    Martha Argerich: The Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002364402 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 48
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Guy Touvron,  Gidon Kremer,  Alexandre Gurning  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Charles Dutoit,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Jörg Faerber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 14.
    Dutilleux, Lutoslawski: Cello Concertos
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552131 Release Date: 09/18/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henri Dutilleux,  Witold Lutoslawski
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Conductor:  Serge Baudo,  Witold Lutoslawski
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  • 15.
    Chopin, Lutoslawski, Moniuszko
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3463 Release Date: 08/14/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stanislaw Moniuszko,  Frédéric Chopin,  Witold Lutoslawski
    Performer:  Martin Labazevitch
    Conductor:  Ewa Strusinska
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beethoven Academy Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Lutoslawski: Piano Concerto, Symphony No 2 / Zimerman, Rattle
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002329502 Release Date: 08/14/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Witold Lutoslawski
    Performer:  Krystian Zimerman
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Carte Blanche  / Martha Argerich
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002357602 Release Date: 07/31/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Witold Lutoslawski,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Gabriela Montero,  Martha Argerich,  Renaud Capuçon,  Julian Rachlin  ... 
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  • 18.
    Pavel Haas In Memoriam
    Label: Gall (Formerly Gallo)   Catalog: 1426 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leos Janácek,  Pavel Haas,  Bruno Giner,  Witold Lutoslawski  ... 
    Performer:  Fabrice Ferez,  Marc Pantillon
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  • 19.
    Polish Music For Cello And Piano
    Label: Dux Records   Catalog: 1155 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Witold Szalonek,  Bartosz Smoragiewicz,  Jerzy Bauer,  Witold Lutoslawski  ... 
    Performer:  Izabela Buchowska,  Jakub Tchorzewski
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  • 20.
    Mariss Jansons Live: The Radio Recordings, 1990-2014 [13-CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Rco Live   Catalog: 15002 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Louis Andriessen,  Hector Berlioz,  Anton Bruckner,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky,  Frank Peter Zimmermann,  Ferruccio Furlanetto,  Leo van Doeselaar  ... 
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    CD: $158.99
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  • 21.
    Dream Lake  / Zubel, Ahonen
    Label: Cd Accord   Catalog: 216 Release Date: 06/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Witold Lutoslawski,  Andre Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Agata Zubel,  Joonas Ahonen
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  • 22.
    Lutoslawski: Carols / Kusiewicz, Malicki
    Label: Dux Records   Catalog: 383 Release Date: 06/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Witold Lutoslawski
    Performer:  Waldemar Malicki,  Piotr Kusiewicz
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  • 23.
    Seiji Ozawa: The Complete Warner Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564613951 Release Date: 05/26/2015   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Alexander Borodin,  Béla Bartók,  Zoltán Kodály  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Michel Béroff,  Masuko Ushioda  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris,  Japan Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 24.
    Sad Steps
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1557 Release Date: 04/07/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Witold Lutoslawski,  Pavel Haas,  Eric Moe,  Dietrich Erdmann  ... 
    Performer:  Mark Hill,  Audrey Andrist,  Katherine Murdock,  Xak Bjerken
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Electronic Media
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  • 25.
    Dark Hours: Mystic Moments Of Classical Music
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300613 Release Date: 01/27/2015   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gustav Mahler,  Franz Schubert,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Siegfried Lorenz,  Elka Mitzewa,  Cécile Ousset,  Rosemarie Lang  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch,  Otmar Suitner,  Norman Shetler,  Witold Rowicki  ... 
    CD: $29.99
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