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Witold Lutosławski

Publisher: Chester Music

Overture for Strings [Uwertura smyczkowa ] (1949)
Work Notes
Chester Music is the publisher of this work in all territories except Poland, Albania, Bulgaria, China, countries of the former Czechoslovakia, countries of the former Yugoslavia, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, Romania, Hungary and the whole territory of the former USSR, where the copyright is held by Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne (PWM).
Chester Music Ltd (Polish Works)
Sub Category
String Orchestra
Year Composed
5 Minutes
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Programme Note
Witold Lutosławski Overture for Strings [Uwertura smyczkowa ] (1949)
After the first performance of my “first symphony” in 1948 I realized, that my way of composing up to then and especially my approach to the problems of pitch (harmony, melody, etc) was not leading to any satisfactory result. So I decided to start working on a sound language which could better serve my purposes. In fact I have not finished that work up to now and I think it is good to still keep the imagination in the movement in order to try and find still new procedures and methods of composing music. It has been indeed a long way, on which the first step was my little “ouverture”.

In this piece I tried to work on scales (moduses?) containing eight notes. And thus the first theme has been composed using two-equal-tetrachords-scales, the second- a chromatic scale of eight notes. Later on I abandoned that procedure and searched solutions elsewhere.

The “ouverture” has been composed in a sonata-form with two contrasting themes, the exposition, the development and the recapitulation.

The first performance was given in November 1948 by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra under Fitelberg in Czechoslovakia.

Witold Lutoslawski 16 February 1983.

  • Ensemble
    Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra / Camerata Silesia
    Antoni Wit
  • Ensemble
    Sinfonietta Cracovia
    Michel Lethiec, clarinet / Isabelle Moretti, harp / François Leleux, oboe / François Salque, cello
    Robert Kabara
  • Ensemble
    Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Andrzej Bauer Krzysztof akowski Piotr Paleczny
  • Ensemble
    Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie
    Jean-Paul Dessy
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