It was the West Coast premiere of this music. Edwin Outwater conducted. He was widely appreciated during his lifetime—besides international awards, he held honorary degrees from no fewer than sixteen universities—and several of his works seem destined already to assume places in the permanent active repertory. Ironically, this icon of Polish modernism was not born in what we call Poland today. In Warsaw lay in the Vistulaland province of Imperial Russia.
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Composed: Length: c. The chance to turn his functional, folklore-based style to a more ambitious purpose came in , when Witold Rowicki, director of the Warsaw Philharmonic, asked him to write something brilliant with which the orchestra could celebrate its rebirth after the devastation of the German occupation, and could show off its abilities. In the event, the Lutoslawski Concerto for Orchestra took four years to complete. It is an ingenious approach: the substance of the music is demonstrably so "national" as to be politically unassailable, yet modern and personal enough to burst the bounds of what in Poland was called socrealizm , the local variant of the Soviet artistic creed.
Here the composer is master, not slave, of folklore. All the folk melodies used as source material are drawn, appropriately, from Masovia, the region around Warsaw. All were collected by the pioneering ethnographer Oskar Kolberg, who first published them in the s. A comparison to Stravinsky and works like The Rite of Spring , whose folk sources likewise came from library shelves, not from a deep attachment to peasant culture, is understandably tempting.
The opening Intrada weaves together several of these tunes to form a massive contrapuntal exposition whose upward-building shape is reversed, and whose aggressive character is calmed, in a placid coda. The second movement, Capriccio notturno e Arioso, is a scherzo of a lightness and nocturnal mystery worthy of comparison with Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream or the "Queen Mab" scherzo of Berlioz' Romeo and Juliet.
This scherzo is interrupted by the broad, dramatic trumpet theme of the Arioso, made the more stirring by hammered interjections from the rest of the orchestra. As so often in Lutoslawski's music, the main movement of the Concerto for Orchestra is the last, here a vast finale that summarizes, unifies, and finally resolves the materials and dramatic tensions of the much shorter first two movements.
The finale is in two large parts: a Passacaglia ingeniously constructed over a folksong ground bass, followed by a Toccata e Corale - a large-scale sonata-form movement whose main theme is in fact the same as that of the passacaglia we have just heard, while its second theme is made of music first introduced in the Intrada. The chorale that occurs at the heart of this final movement is newly invented, but its countermelody, first given to solo flute, is descended from yet another Polish folk song.
The composer moulds them into a different reality, lending them new harmony, adding atonal counterpoints, turning them into neo-baroque forms. The score calls for a large orchestra consisting of three flutes two doubling piccolo , three oboes one doubling cor anglais , three clarinets one doubling bass clarinet , three bassoons one doubling contrabassoon , four horns , four trumpets , four trombones , tuba , timpani , snare , tenor and bass drum , cymbals , tambourine , tam-tam , xylophone , bells , celesta , two harps , piano and strings. The Corale's second appearance produces a solemn finale for the monumental construction, the material for which is borrowed from a nineteenth-century collection compiled by the Polish ethnologist Oskar Kolberg. The concerto finishes with a dramatic flourish and climax from the whole orchestra. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Capriccio notturno ed Arioso: Vivace — the Capriccio is an airy, virtuoso scherzo , the main subject of which is intoned by the violin, followed by the remainder of the strings and woodwinds. It is followed by an expressive Arioso initiated by the brass section.
Concerto for Orchestra (Lutosławski)