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Lutoslawski, Witold
lutoslawski

Lutoslawski, Witold (1913-1994)

Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski is considered as a classic among the modern.

Quartet (1964)

I. Introductory movement II. Main movement In the earlier sixties, Witold Lutoslawski developed a very personal compositional technique called controlled aleatory. His Quartet of 1964 is one of the most perfect examples of this technique. In response to the members of the LaSalle Quartet, the dedicatees of the work, who were pressing Lutoslawski to send them a score of the work, the composer writes: "... one of the basic techniques used in my piece is that, in many sections of the form, each particular player is supposed not to know what the others are doing, or, at least, to perform as if he were to hear nothing except that which he is playing himself. In such sections he must not bother about whether he is behind or ahead of the others. This problem simply does not exist because of measures which have been taken to prevent all undesirable consequences of such freedom. If each performer strictly follows the instructions written in the parts, nothing could happen that has not been foreseen by the composer." Mobility being a fundamental element of the quartet, each performer can interpret in his own manner the rubatos, accelerandos and ritenutos of the score. The composer also asks the musicians to play as soloists. The rationality of avant-garde music, the emotional strength and the liberty of the individual are the three basic elements binding this quartet. It can be said of this work that it is the link between tradition and the spirit of renewal of contemporary music. The quartet is divided in two parts: an introduction and a main movement. Bartók's influence can be heard through the numerous pizzicati, glissandi and harmonic passages. The music of the introduction is on the sparse side and the sections are short, whereas in the main movement the writing is more intense and the sections longer. -

Olga Ranzenhofer and Jean Portugais

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