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Witold Lutosławski


About this Artist

Born: 1913, Warsaw, Poland

Died: 1994, Warsaw, Poland

"A big part of everything I do is intuitive… I've discovered some rules, but in an empirical way, not thought out as doctrine."

One of the 20th-century's great symphonists, Lutoslawski created an impressive, always progressing body of music in the most difficult of circumstances. As the commander of a military radio station, he was captured by the invading Germans at the beginning of World War II. He escaped, and survived the occupation by playing piano duos in Warsaw cafes, including his Variations on a Theme of Paganini. In 1949 his Symphony No. 1 was the first Polish work to be denounced as formalist by Stalinist cultural politicians. In reaction, Lutoslawski wrote public works based on folk material, while continuing to develop a more personal language privately. In the cultural thaw following Stalin's death, Lutoslawski became a major international figure, renowned for innovations in form and performing techniques and a consistently eloquent personal voice.

Further listening:

Symphony No. 2 (1966-1968)Los Angeles Philharmonic,Esa-Pekka Salonen(Sony Classical)

Chantefleurs et chantefables (1990)Dawn Upshaw, Los Angeles Philharmonic,Salonen (Sony Classical)