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The composer and conductor Witold Lutosławski (1913–1994) was one of the major European composers of the 20th century, and is regarded by many as the greatest Polish composer since Chopin.

Lutosławski’s significant output includes four symphonies, three solo concertos, vocal music and a string quartet. When, in 1949, the overtly neo-classical First Symphony (1941-47) was banned as “formalist” by the Communist regime, he turned to folk music as a potential source of raw compositional material. The exuberant and accessible Concerto for Orchestra (1950-54), was the first of his works to alert international opinion to his genius. Following the death of Stalin in 1953, as greater experimentation and increased contact with the West became possible, Lutosławski began to introduce into his music more advance techniques, evident in the moving Funeral Music and Venetian Games of 1961. In the 1980s, he gave artistic support to the Solidarity movement, which claimed victory when free elections eventually took place in Poland in 1988-9. In January 1994, a month before his death, Lutosławski was awarded the Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest honour and an award which had not been made during the communist period.

2013 marks the centenary of Lutosławski’s birth. Let us celebrate his life and legacy with some of his masterpieces in acclaimed Naxos recordings.

Featured Release

Naxos 8.501066
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra • Antoni Wit

The genius of Lutosławski was evident from his 1938 Symphonic Variations. The years after the war brought a return to more conventional national modes of composition, heard in his Little Suite and Concerto for Orchestra. Later works have allowed a more experimental approach on a broader palette, such as hisFuneral Music of 1958, his Second Symphony, and the Preludes and Fugue for 13 string instruments. Characteristic works for voice and orchestra includeParoles tissées for tenor and chamber orchestra, and Three Poems by Henri Michaux for 20 voices and orchestra.

Listen to the following excerpts taken from two of Lutosławski’s masterpieces:

From Symphony No. 3

From Concerto for Orchestra

This 10 CD boxed set includes the following works:

CD 1Symphony No. 1 • Chantefleurs et Chantefables
CD 2Symphony No. 2 • Little Suite • Symphonic Variations
CD 3Symphony No. 3 • Paganini Variations • Paroles tissées
CD 4Symphony No. 4 • Partita • Chain II • Funeral Music • Interlude
CD 5Cello Concerto • Livre pour orchestre • Novelette • Chain III
CD 6Concerto for Orchestra • Three Poems • Mi-parti
CD 7Preludes and Fugue • Three Postludes • Fanfares
CD 8Double Concerto • Dance Preludes • Chain I
CD 920 Polish Christmas Carols • Lacrimosa • Five Songs
CD 10Lutosławski’s Last Concert (BONUS)

Previous Releases

Naxos 8.570987
LUTOSLAWSKI, W.: Violin Music (Complete)
SZYMANOWSKI, K.: Myths / JANACEK, L: Violin Sonata

Ariadne Daskalakis • Miri Yampolsky

'virtuosic and intelligent'
- American Record Guide

Naxos 8.572450
LUTOSLAWSKI, W.: Partita / Interlude / Chain I and II / Chantefleurs et Chantefables (Lutoslawski's Last Concert)
New Music Concerts • Witold Lutoslawski

'a fine historical document of no little interest, with some fine performances' - Audiophile Audition

Naxos 8.554283
LUTOSLAWSKI: Symphony No. 1 / Chantefleurs et Chantefables
Olga Pasichnyk
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra • Antoni Wit

'not only a sizzling account of the First Symphony, but a fine performance of the late song-sequence Chantefleurs et Chantefables'
- Gramophone

Naxos 8.553169
LUTOSLAWSKI: Symphony No. 2 / Little Suite / Symphonic Variations / Piano Concerto
Piotr Paleczny
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra • Wit, Antoni

'the performance is magnetic Paleczny plays with a clarity and brilliance that sound totally idiomatic' - Penguin Guide

Naxos 8.553423
LUTOSLAWSKI: Symphony No. 3 / Paganini Variations
Bernd  Glemser • Piotr Kusiewicz • Adam Kruszewski
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra • Antoni Wit

'Wit conjures a fantastic range of tone colour from his well-drilled Polish orchestra' - Classic CD

Naxos 8.553202
LUTOSLAWSKI: Symphony No. 4 / Violin Partita / Chain II / Funeral Music
Krzysztof Bakowski
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra • Wit, Antoni

'these Polish performances match and even outshine earlier recordings conducted by the composer' - Penguin Guide

Naxos 8.553625
LUTOSLAWSKI: Cello Concerto / Livre pour orchestre / Novelette / Chain III
Andrzej Bauer
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra • Antoni Wit

'It is the sheer commitment of the Polish orchestra, and Antoni Wit’s deep insight into the fabric of each work, that have been the key to the success of the whole series' - Fanfare

Naxos 8.553779
LUTOSLAWSKI: Concerto for Orchestra / 3 Poems by Henri Michaux / Mi-Parti / Overture for Strings
Camerata Silesia
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra • Antoni Wit

'Strong and purposeful performances, vividly recorded in full, immediate sound.' - Penguin Guide

Naxos 8.555763
LUTOSLAWSKI: Double Concerto for Oboe and Harp / Dance Preludes / Chain I
Zbigniew Kaleta • Arkadiusz Krupa • Nicolas Tulliez
Rafał Kwiatkowski • Urszula Kryger
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra • Antoni Wit

'marvelous performances' - Fanfare

Naxos 8.555994
LUTOSLAWSKI: 20 Polish Christmas Carols
Lacrimosa / 5 Songs

Olga Pasichnyk, • Jadwiga Rappé • Polish Radio Chorus
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (Katowice) • Antoni Wit

'delightful assortment of early vocal music'
- American Record Guide

Naxos 8.555270
LUTOSLAWSKI: Preludes and Fugue for Solo Strings / Postludes / Fanfares
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra • Antoni Wit

'plushy recorded performances featuring Polish forces that are often a match for the full-priced-label competition.' - Los Angeles Times

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