[…] top-with the violin part playing the theme in the highest register. As a counterpoint to the main subject presentation the composer juxtaposes contrasting non-thematic matter – a procedure that he later called chain technique. The Concerto
ends up with a much longer and meaningful movement which is a mirror-like presentation of the foregoing music. Preceded by a short introduction and scherzo interlude we hear extended Passacaglia
followed by sharply contoured Toccata leading to the culmination archaic – sounding pseudo-chorale theme. This is terminated with a short, articulate and anticlimactic coda. The said Concerto is often negatively compared with Béla Bartók`s work with the some title and wrongly so. Novel features in its structure, highest craft and originality, though not yet quite mature, place Lutosławski next to Bartók, if not before him, in the 20th-century neoclassical Olympus.
Chantefleurs et Chantefable, songs written in 1990 to the lyrics of the French poet Robert Desnos, represent Lutosławski`s search for a new treatment of melody, after a long period of preoccupation with rhythm, harmony and form. A cycle of nine miniatures represents a close association of words and music full of variety of orchestrally evoked moods, ranging from lyricism (L`Angelique) to jocose (La sauterelle). The first eight songs differ metro-rhythmically from the aleatoric (ad libitum) song which comes as a culminating point of the whole cycle and has analogies with the composer`s other works.
The origins of Variations goes back to World War II. Soon after New Year`s Eve 1940 Andrzej Panufnik suggested to Lutosławski playing piano duo in cafes of the German-occupied Warsaw, first in the Adria, then Under the Actresses and finally in Art and Fashion. For that purpose the two composers arranged for two pianos around 200 works of Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Czajkowski, Ravel and others, both sophisticated and popular. Unfortunately all transcriptions except one were lost during the 1944 uprising. The only remaining one 24th Caprice prepared by Lutosławski in 1941 and reworked in 1949 as Variations on a theme of Paganini for two pianos. It gained immediate success and was played by a number of piano duos. In the seventies the well-known Polish pianist, Felicja Blumental asked Lutosławski to rework the piece for piano and orchestra. Completed in 1978 it was first performed by the Florida Philharmony Orchestra in Miami, with Blumental at the piano. From now on both versions enjoy incessant popularity.Worth adding is that the concert version of the Variations is one of the two works for piano and orchestra and was written in the composer`s most mature period, witness the brilliant orchestration and expression filling the traditional tripartite formal scheme. Since this masterwork appeals to connoisseurs and plain people we give it as a the final item highlighting this Lutosławski`s album.
Translated by Jerzy Gołos