This is the fifth and now final volume in our survey of orchestral works by the Polish composer Witold Lutosławski. Gramophone wrote of a previous volume in the series (CHSA5106) that it ‘offers a broad view of Lutosławski’s creative profile, which the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Edward Gardner fleshes out with playing that is as polished as it is animated, and alert to the individuality of Lutosławski’s musical vocabulary and mode of expression’.
This is the fourth volume in Chandos’ series devoted to the music of the Polish composer Witold Lutosławski. Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, described by Gramophone as a ‘veritable dream team’ in a review for Vol. 1, are joined on this recording by the cellist and exclusive Chandos artist Paul Watkins.
This is the third volume in the Chandos series devoted to the music of the Polish composer Witold Lutosławski. It brings together his first surviving orchestral piece (The Symphonic Variations) and his last symphony, as well as two works for piano and orchestra – an early work originally written for two pianos (The ‘Paganini’ Variations), and his very last concerto. The works are performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Edward Gardner, described by Gramophone as a veritable ‘Dream Team’ in Vol. 1. They are joined in this recording by Louis Lortie, the award-winning pianist and exclusive Chandos artist.
Witold Lutosławski (1913-1994) was the pre-eminent member of a group of Polish composers that came to prominence after the Second World War and whose artistic advancement was given impetus by the death of Stalin in 1953. The works in this set cover four decades of Lutosławski's career and include most of his important orchestral works, starting with the early Symphonic Variations, his first and second symphonies and the Concerto for Orchestra, perhaps his best-known work.
Simon Rattle has recorded a lot of 19th century music and most of the results have been dismal. There is little to recommend by Rattle in pre-20th century repertoire. A few Haydn symphonies, some pretty good Brahms, bits of Mahler, Ein Heldenleben by Strauss which is just at the cusp of the 20th century. Alright, so Rattle is not the conductor to go to for the great classics. However, when he records modern music, he seems fully in tune with it's sound and style, plus he has less competition on the market to boot.
The French conductor François-Xavier Roth was born in France in 1971 and studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique. In October 2000 he won joint first prize at the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in London, following which he was appointed for two seasons assistant conductor with the London Symphony Orchestra. From 2000 to 2002 he was also assistant conductor with the Caen Orchestra. In 2003 François-Xavier Roth created the chamber orchestra Les Siècles (The Centuries), combining period and modern instruments, an orchestra which covers a vast repertoire from Baroque to contemporary music.
The Trio series is unquestionably, along with EMI's Gemini sets, one of the best available. This particular item is a complete set of Hindemith's orchestral works, and not only do we get full servings at over 60 minutes per CD, but you get fantastic performances as well. These Blomstedt SFSO/Leipzig Gewandhauser recordings were originally issued at full price on Decca, and when one hears them one can tell why.