The Lutoslawski Quartet musicians collaborate with young Polish composers – this has led naturally to new works being commissioned dedicated to this ensemble.
For this Elektra/Nonesuch release, the Kronos Quartet interprets Witold Lutoslawski's 1964 String Quartet, an uncommonly difficult piece since the four musicians are commanded to play their parts ad lib, as if they were alone. Lutoslawski was influenced by the random procedures of John Cage, but he also wished to maintain dramatic structure, so string quartet includes rigidity in time measures. The balance between freedom and structure provides for a surprisingly appealing recording.
Witold Roman Lutosławski was a Polish composer and orchestral conductor. He was one of the major European composers of the 20th century, and one of the preeminent Polish musicians during his last three decades. / Boris Blacher was a German composer. His career was interrupted by National Socialism. He was accused of writing degenerate music and lost his teaching post at the Dresden Conservatory…
This is the fifth and now final volume in our survey of orchestral works by the Polish composer Witold Lutosławski. Gramophone wrote of a previous volume in the series (CHSA5106) that it ‘offers a broad view of Lutosławski’s creative profile, which the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Edward Gardner fleshes out with playing that is as polished as it is animated, and alert to the individuality of Lutosławski’s musical vocabulary and mode of expression’.
This wonderful young Polish ensemble continue their exploration of the string quartet repertoire of their homeland with this album of music by two giants of the twentieth century. Witold Lutoslawski, whose centenary is celebrated in 2013, wrote his one and only string quartet in 1964 and it has since maintained an eminent position in the international repertoire. Krzysztof Penderecki (born 1933) was the most talked-about Polish composer in the early 1960s and remains an important presence in contemporary music. His three string quartets (1960, 1968 and 2008) are key works in the history of the post-war Polish quartet.
This complete set of Witold Lutoslawski's symphonies is a mixture of old and new. The second, third, and fourth symphonies are reissues of recordings made in the 1980s and 1990s during Esa-Pekka Salonen's tenure with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; all were acclaimed readings, and the 1985 version of the sizzlingly orchestrated Symphony No. 3, by now Lutoslawski's most commonly programmed and recorded work, has held up well against newer recordings.