Witold Lutosławski

Postlude I for Orchestra (1958) / Paroles Tissees (Weaving Songs) (1965) for Tenor, Str

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Although his pre-1960 works are almost 19th-century-style in their gestures and development, the pieces on this CD are strikingly different in their tone-colors and organization. Premiered in 1968, the Livre pour Orchestre (Book for Orchestra) is made up of four movements called "chapters" separated by three short intermediate pieces of relatively static nature. The changing and inventive textures emerge in a constant flow: sighing and sliding tones, a field of flowing colors, mystery movie-like basses, flurries of brass sounds, densely beautiful undulating textures for full orchestra, cycles of swirling tones and rhythmic pulsations, glassy textures, and melodic wind solos.

Premiered in 1965, the Paroles Tissées (Weaving Songs) is a setting for tenor solo, strings, harp, piano and percussion of a mysterious and elaborate four-part poem by Jean-François Chabrun entitled "Quatre tapisseries pour le Chatelaine de Vergi" (Four Tapestries for the Chatelaine [lady of the manor] of Vergi), the subject of which is the tragic romance in the Middle Ages of that lady and the Duke of Burgundy. The spinning motion is suggested by steady harp arpeggios, often with random string pizzicati above. Suddenly the music takes a more dramatic turn with the ringing of tubular bells and multiple pizzicati at different rhythmic rates, as well as attacked notes followed by glissando slides, all of which also suggest a "weaving" motion but of a frantic nature. The piece ends in a mysterious bewilderment that describes the death of the two lovers.

Written during the years 1968-1970 and premiered by the famous cellist Mstislav Rostopovich, the Cello Concerto is in four movements -- intense dialogues at turns dramatic, mocking, and forgiving between soloist and orchestra are played without pause.