WORKS: Three Postludes; Preludes and Fugue for 13 solo strings; Fanfare for Louisville; Mini-Overture
PERFORMER: Polish National RSO/Antoni Wit
CATALOGUE NO: 8.555270
A group of occasional pieces, one fascinating transitional work, and one of the masterpieces of Lutoslawski’s maturity make up the seventh instalment of Naxos’s survey of his orchestral works. Lutoslawski often showed his gratitude for the honours with which he was showered towards the end of his life by writing a short instrumental work, such as the Prelude for GSMD, composed in 1989 when he was awarded a fellowship by the Guildhall School in London; every one of them is expertly crafted, a microcosm of his fastidious technique.
The Three Postludes bridge the gap between Lutoslawski’s folk-inflected works of the early Fifties and the music he wrote from the end of that decade onwards, which established his international reputation. They are strange, oddly rhetorical pieces, which never quite settle into a coherent style; there are backward glances, especially to the Concerto for Orchestra, as well as glimpses of the serial-influenced direction his music was starting to take. The masterpiece here, though, is the 1972 Preludes and Fugue for 13 strings, a wonderful example of Lutoslawski’s ability to create a totally original structure and invest it with music of power and lyricism. The performances throughout are much more than adequate, if lacking in the last degree of panache to make Lutoslawski’s music glitter as it should; anyone collecting this valuable series shouldn’t hesitate to acquire the disc. Andrew Clements