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Lutoslawski, Witold
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Lutoslawski, Witold

(Born; Warsaw, 25 Jan 1913; Died; there, 7 Feb 1994). Polish composer. He studied with Maliszewski at the Warsaw Conservatory (1932-7) and soon made his mark as a pianist and composer, though few works from before 1945 have been published: those that have include the Paganini Variations for two pianos (1941). He then developed a clear, fresh tonality related to late Bartók displayed in the Little Suite for orchestra (1951), the Concerto for Orchestra (1954) and the Dance Preludes for clarinet and piano (1954). But that style was short-lived: in the late 1950s he was able to essay a kind of serialism (Funeral Music for strings,1958) and to learn from Cage the possibility of aleatory textures, where synchronization between instrumental lines is not exact (Venetian Games for chamber orchestra,1961). Most of his subsequent works were orchestral, fully chromatic, finely orchestrated in a manner suggesting Debussy and Ravel, and developed from an opposition between aleatory and metrical textures. These include his Second (1967), Third (1983) and Fourth (1993) symphonies, concertos for cello (1970) and for oboe and harp (1980), and settings of French verse with chorus (Three Poems of Henri Michaux, 1963), tenor (Paroles tissées, 1965) and baritone (Les espaces du sommeil, 1975). During this period he was also internationally active as a teacher and conductor of his own music.

Orchestral music: Symphonic variations (1938); 4 syms. (1947, 1967, 1983, 1993); Little suite (1951); concerto for Orchestra (1954); Dance preludes (1955); Funeral Music (1958); 3 Postludes (1960); Venetian Games (1961); Livre pour orchestre (1968); Cello Concerto (1970); Preludes and Fugue, str (1972); Mi-parti (1976); Novelette (1979); Chain I (1983), Chain II, vn, orch (1985); Chain III (1986).

Voice with orchestra: Silesian Triptych (1951); 5 Songs (1958); 3 Poèmes of Henri Michaux (1963); Paroles tissées (1965); Les espaces du sommeil (1975).

Chamber music: Trio, ob, cl, bn (1945); Dance Preludes, cl, pf (1954); String Quartet (1964); Sacher Variation, vc (1975); Epitaph, ob, pf (1979); Partita, vn, pf (1984).

Piano music: Variations on a Theme of Paganini, 2 pf (1941); Melodie ludowe [Folk melodies] (1945); Bukoliki (1952).

Songs with piano.

© Groves Dictionaries, MacMillan Publishers Limited, UK

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