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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
Lutoslawski: Twenty Polish Christmas Carols, Etc
Release Date: 10/18/2005   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8555994   Number of Discs: 1
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Panufnik, Lutoslawski: String Quartets / Tippett Quartet
Release Date: 08/12/2014   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 573164   Number of Discs: 1
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Janacek: Violin Sonata; Lutoslawski: Partita; Szymanowski: Mythes
Release Date: 03/12/2013   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 1951793   Number of Discs: 1
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Lutoslawski: Symphonies, Concertos, Choral & Vocal Works
Release Date: 08/27/2013   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8501066   Number of Discs: 10
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Lutoslawski: Orchestral Works Vol 5 / Wit, Polish Rso
Release Date: 12/01/1998   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8553779   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 201-213 of 213 Available Recordings
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  • 201.
    Lutoslawski: Symphonies 3 & 4, Etc / Salonen, Los Angeles Po
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66280 Release Date: 10/04/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Witold Lutoslawski
    Performer:  John Shirley-Quirk
    Conductor:  Esa-Pekka Salonen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 202.
    Classics For Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 180 Release Date: 09/22/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Hans Christian Lumbye,  Witold Lutoslawski,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Per-Olof Gillblad,  Christine Mühlbach
    Conductor:  Jan Olav Wedin,  Leif Segerstam
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stockholm Sinfonietta,  Vestjysk Chamber Ensemble,  Helsinki Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $21.49
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  • 203.
    Masques - Polish Piano Works / Elzbieta Wiedner-zajac
    Label: Dorian Discovery   Catalog: 80121 Release Date: 05/24/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Juliusz Zarebski,  Karol Szymanowski,  Witold Lutoslawski
    Performer:  Elzbieta Wiedner-Zajac
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  • 204.
    10-year Jubilee / Christian Lindberg
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 638 Release Date: 12/07/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alfred Schnittke,  Luciano Berio,  Joseph I,  Christian Lindberg  ... 
    Performer:  Christian Lindberg,  Monica Groop,  Olof Larsson,  Björn Gäfvert  ... 
    Conductor:  Osmo Vänskä,  Leif Segerstam,  Okko Kamu
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola Sinfonietta,  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 205.
    The Symphonic Sound Stage - A Listener's Guide
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3502 Release Date: 12/14/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Ottorino Respighi,  Manuel de Falla,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Carol Rosenberger,  János Starker,  Della Jones
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz,  James DePreist
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra,  Oregon Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 206.
    Bravura!
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3070 Release Date: 12/11/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Ottorino Respighi,  Witold Lutoslawski
    Conductor:  James DePreist
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oregon Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 207.
    Copland, Nielsen: Clarinet Concerti, Etc / Hilton, Bamert
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8618 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Nielsen,  Witold Lutoslawski,  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Janet Hilton
    Conductor:  Matthias Bamert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 208.
    Lutoslawski: Piano Concerto, Etc / Zimerman, Lutoslawski
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 431664 Release Date: 03/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Witold Lutoslawski
    Performer:  Krystian Zimerman
    Conductor:  Witold Lutoslawski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 209.
    Rachmaninov: Sonata;  Lutoslawski, Webern / Conway, Evans
    Label: Linn Records   Catalog: 9 Release Date: 01/01/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anton Webern,  Witold Lutoslawski,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  William Conway,  Peter Evans
    CD: $19.99
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  • 210.
    Lutoslawski: String Quartet / Kronos Quartet
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 79255 Release Date: 01/16/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Witold Lutoslawski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kronos Quartet
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  • 211.
    Bartok, Lutoslawski: Concertos For Orchestra / Dohnányi
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 425694 Release Date: 02/13/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Witold Lutoslawski
    Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
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  • 212.
    20th Century Romantic Music For Two Pianos / Pierce, Jonas
    Label: Koch International Classics   Catalog: 7013 Release Date: 08/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Bax,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Benjamin Britten,  Witold Lutoslawski  ... 
    Performer:  Joshua Pierce,  Dorothy Jonas
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