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Witold Lutosławski

Publisher: Chester Music

Musique funèbre [Muzyka zalobna] (1958),
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).
Publisher
Chester Music Ltd (Polish Works)
Category
Orchestra
Sub Category
String Orchestra
Year Composed
1958
Duration
14 Minutes
Orchestration


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Programme Note
Witold Lutosławski Musique funèbre [Muzyka zalobna] (1958),
LUTOSLAWSKI – MUSIQUE FUNEBRE

This work for strings is dedicated to the memory of Bela Bartók. Musique Funebre is a one-movement work made up of four linked sections: ‘Prologue’, ‘Metamorphosis’, ‘Apogeum’ and ‘Epilogue’. The first is constructed in the form of alternating canons based on a 12-tone row based exclusively on tritones and minor seconds. The ‘Metamorphosis’ builds up to a violent presto, while the ‘Apogeum’. The centre of the work leads to a central unison by contraction of the pitches used. The final ‘Epilogue’ begins fortissimo, after which the canons reappear until only a solo cello remains.

Musique Funebre was written at the invitation of Jan Krenz in 1958 and first performed by the Great Symphony Orchestra of Polish Radio and Television conducted by Jan Krenz on 26 march 1958 in Katowice.

© Witold Lutoslawski


  • Ensemble
    Suiss Romande Orchestra / London Sinfonietta / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Cleveland Orchestra
    Soloist(s)
    P. Pears, tenor P. Jablonski, piano
    Conductor
    P. Kletzki / Witold Lutoslawski / V. Ashkenazy / C. von Dohnanyi
  • Ensemble
    Sinfonietta Cracovia
    Soloist(s)
    Michel Lethiec, clarinet / Isabelle Moretti, harp / François Leleux, oboe / François Salque, cello
    Conductor
    Robert Kabara
    Arion:
  • Ensemble
    Pomeranian Philharmonic Orchestra
    Soloist(s)
    K. Jakowicz, violin
    Conductor
    T. Ukigaya
    Thorofon:
  • Ensemble
    Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Conductor
    Witold Lutoslawski
  • Ensemble
    Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Conductor
    Witold Lutoslawski
  • Ensemble
    Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Polish National Philharmonic Orchestra / Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Polish National Radio Orchestra
    Soloist(s)
    H. Schiff, celloM. Argerich, piano / N. Freire, pianoD. Fischer-Dieskau, baritone
    Conductor
    Witold lutoslawski / W. Rowicki / W. Lutoslawski / W. Rowicki
    Philips:
  • Ensemble
    Karlsruhe Music School Symphony Orchestra
    Soloist(s)
    K-G. Kameda, violin
    Conductor
    Witold Lutoslawski
    Bella Musica:
  • Ensemble
    BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
    Conductor
    Yan Pascal Tortelier
    Chandos:
  • Ensemble
    Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Soloist(s)
    K. Bakowski, violin
    Conductor
    Antoni Wit
    Naxos:
  • Ensemble
    Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie
    Conductor
    Jean-Paul Dessy
    Forlane:
  • Ensemble
    Concertgebouw Orchestra
    Conductor
    Witold Lutoslawski / Edo de Waart
    Royal Netherlands Music:
  • G. Schirmer / AMP:
Performances
Date
Title
Reviews
…Lutoslawski’s Musique Funèbre is a work of extraordinary refinement, intimate and immense, its sepulchral pulse strong and slow through an arc of fragmented dances, flecked spiccato, dusty pizzicato, gauzy tremolandi and fevered trills.
Anna Picard, The Independent,2/3/2013
Both the Lutoslawski works in Esa-Pekka Salonen’s first programme were built on what the composer called his ‘chain’ principle, by which two or more strands of music were in effect braided together. But before this device was reached in Musique funebre – the first Lutoslawski work to attract international attention – one heard an anguished movement pursuing the contrapuntal course of a tritone (the ‘devil’s interval’)...
Michael Church, The Independent,1/31/2013
…Musique Funèbre, the intense string elegy that Lutosławski completed in 1958 as a memorial to Bartók, and in which many of the techniques of his later music are prefigured.
Andrew Clements, The Guardian,1/31/2013
After the interval came a reminder that Lutoslawski was capable of kindling overt passion within his tautly formalized, ascetic compositions. Funeral music for strings, written in memory of Bartok, dates from between 1956-1958, and preceded his experiments with aleatory methods, manifesting instead a strict serial construction. But its four movements sustained a searing threnody attaining a climax in the third movement, Apogeum, before resolving into the calm of the final epilogue under the composer’s baton, the BBC strings interpreted this piece with the ardour it deserved.
Meirion Brown, The Guardian,8/15/1988
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