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Witold Lutoslawski, Poland's Most Renowned Composers

His Six Children's Songs, written in 1947, were arranged for children's choir and orchestra in 1952. Among his other choral works of this period were the following: Ten Popular Polish Songs on Soldiers' Themes, written in 1951 for the Polish Army; another set of soldiers' songs from 1953 that survive only in manuscript form; a piece called Towarzysz, or comrade, for mixed chorus and orchestra, that was never published; and a number of "mass songs" written in 1951 and 1952 for different choral combinations. This work for the Polish radio and army was certainly not an engaging endeavor on Lutoslawski's part. The Polish radio people would send him lyrics to set to music, and Lutoslawski would spend as little as 30 minutes composing the music.

Polish composers of this time lived in a vacuum. According to one expert, "Lutoslawski represents a quality of courage and the ability to be creative under oppression--starting in World War II and then during the domination of his country by the Soviet Union." While the rest of Western civilization was experimenting with serialism, electronics and jazz, the composers inside Poland were composing settings of folk melodies and writing other mundane "practical" music. In 1960, however, Lutoslawski heard John Cage's Piano Concerto on a radio broadcast and his entire musical world changed direction. The concept of aleatoric composition was a completely new idea to him and he saw its use as a way to free his musical imagination.

The first piece of Lutoslawski's to incorporate indeterminacy in its structure was Jeux VTnitiens, written in 1960 and 1961. Written for chamber orchestra, this piece becomes the starting point of a new style for Lutoslawski. The next piece, Trois PoFmes d'Henri Michaux, composed between 1961 and 1963, is the composer's masterwork for chorus and orchestra. An overwhelming success at its premiere on May 9, 1963, the Trois PoFmes incorporates all of Lutoslawski's ...

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Witold Lutoslawski, Poland's Most Renowned Composers. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:10, August 17, 2017, from
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