A review on the discography of Witold Lutosławski’s Third Symphony.
A necessary acknowledgement:
I wish to make public acknowledgement of the help offered by Adrian Thomas who suggested and corrected details and sections of the text written on this blog.
As an introduction:
Among the growing number of publications about the work of Witold Lutosławski, not many of them are monographs, and even fewer are written in English. We must highlight then the outstanding books by Stucky (1981, 2009) and Rae (1994, 1999), who both analyze individual works within the general framework of his music, as well as the texts of Thomas (2005, 2007), who successfully places the composer’s work in the context of contemporary Polish music, establishing relationships between their works and those of other Polish composers.
On the Third Symphony:
Regarding the Third Symphony, which is arguably Lutosławski’s masterpiece, not much more than the texts mentioned above can be found. Rae (1999), who provides a complete and comprehensive analysis of the work, and Thomas (2007) who explores several of Lutosławski’s works like his third and fourth symphonies and Les espaces du sommeil and compares them with Szymanowski’s First Violin Concerto in terms of their structural and expressive aspects, are among the best sources for information, apart any relevant CD liner notes which are listening guides at best.
On the other hand, Będkowski & Hrabia’s ‘Witold Lutosławski. A Bio-bibliography’ (2001) includes an extensive discography, which at the time of publication formed the first attempt to gather information together on all the issued recordings. The authors, who are both founder-members of the Witold Lutosławski Studies Center at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, have also edited successive volumes of the English-language ‘Witold Lutosławski Studies’, three volumes of which appeared in 2007, 2008 and 2009. They included an up-to-date revision of their discography in the 2008 volume.
Since 2008, and especially in relation to the expansion and consolidation of Lutosławski’s music in the standard repertoire of international orchestras (but curiously not in Spain, where his works are performed only in contemporary music festivals), and the proximity to the anniversary of his birth on Jan. 25 of this year, the discography of his works, and in particular that of his Third Symphony, has been increasing. That is why I present here an updated discography of this work to 2012 which includes several forgotten versions released on LP but never transferred to CD, possibly because of poor promotion and distribution.
This updated discography collates information from my personal CD collection, a revision of the discographies published by Będkowski & Hrabia (2001, 2008) and a search for new recordings in portals such as ebay and amazon.
As an example of a newly found and previously unlisted recording there is an audio clip of the SWF LP with Kazimierz Kord conducting the SWF Baden-Baden, known today as the SWR Symphony Orchestra.
Pic taken during the processing Cds on the desk are recordings of the 1988 edition of the Leningrad Festival on CPO and a Philiips recording of Casella’s Paganiniana and Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloé by the Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Kirill Kondrashin.
Będkowski, S. & Hrabia, S.
(2001) Witold Lutosławski: A bio-bibliography. Westport, Lond. 2001
(2008) Witold Lutosławski. Discography. On Witold Lutosławski Studies 2 -2008. Ed. By Paja-Stach, J., Będkowski, S., Hrabia, S. & Sitarz, A. Musica Iagellonica, Kraków, Poland 2008
Rae, C.B. (1994, 1999) The Music of Lutoslawski (London: Faber and Faber) 288pp. Revised and expanded third edition (paperback). 318pp.
Stucky, S. (1983) Lutoslawski and his Music. Cambridge 1981 (Revised and reedited in 2009)
(2005) Polish Music since Szymanowski. Cambridge University Press, 2005.
(2007) One Last Meeting: Lutosławski, Szymanowski and the Fantasia. In Karol Szymanowski w perspektywie kultury muzycznej przeszłości i współczesności (Karol Szymanowski from the perspectives of musical culture past and present.) Edited by Skowron, Z., Musica Jagiellonica, Krakow 2007, 309-26.
Barenboim, Daniel (c.);
– Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 10/1992, Orchestra Hall, Chicago. USA.
Erato/Warner Classics 1993 Released as CD Erato ZK 91711 (4509-91711-2), reissued as Elatus 0927-49015-2
Blaszczyk, Miroslav Jacek (c.);
– Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra, 11/2004, Silesian Philharmonic Concert Hall, Katowice, Poland.
DUX CD 0506
Botstein, Leon (c.);
– American Symphony Orchestra, 18/11/2005, Avery Fisher Hall, New York.
ASO Label, (2010) Released only as mp3 for purchase.
Domarkas, Juozas (c.);
– Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra; 05/1988; Leningrad Philharmonc Hall, Leningrad, USSR.
Melodiya A10 00571 001.P.1989 Live recording (LP)
Gardner, Edward (c.);
– BBC Symphony Orchestra, 5 & 6/07/2010, Assembly Hall, Walthamstow, London. United Kingdom.
CHSA 5082 on SACD and CD (2011)
Kord, Kazimierz (c.);
– Südwestfunk Baden Baden Sinfonieorchester; 10/1984; Donaueschingen Festival Hall? SWF Studios?
SWF label. LP SWF 105. Only released on LP(1985)
Lutosławski, Witold (c.);
– Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra; 5&6/11/1985; Jesus Christus-Kirche, Berlin. Germany.
Phillips/Decca/ Universal; 1986 Released as LP/CD Philips 416 387-4PH, Philips 416 387-1PH, Philips 416 387-2PH and as Philips Duo 464043 (The essential Lutoslawski – 2CD(1999)) and Decca 478-457-9 (2012)
– Warsaw Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, 25/09/1988; Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall. Warsaw Autumn Festival.
Polskie Nagrania PN BOX 0009. Witold Lutosławski Centenary Edition
– Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra, 28-30/01/1992, Grzegorz Fitelberg Hall, Katowice, Poland.
ACD015 and as Accord 011 368-2 (CD)
– Sinfonieorchester Musikhoschschule Karlsruhe 14/01/1993, Brahmssaal, Stadhalle, Karlsruhe, Germany.
Antes BM – CD319017. (CD) Live Recording.
Otaka, Tadaaki (c.);
– BBC National Orchestra of Wales, 27&28/07/1995, Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Wales. United Kingdom.
BIS CD 743 (1995)
Rattle, Simon (c.);
– Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, 24/08/2012, Berliner Philharmonie, Berlin , Germany.
Released as VOD (Video on demand) at the Digital Concert Hall. Live recording. (2012)
Salonen, Esa-Pekka (c.);
– Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra; 29&30/11 & 02/12/1985; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles. USA.
SONY 1986. Released on LP as CBS Masterworks, IM CBS IMT 42203, and on cd as CBS IM 42203, CBS MK 42203 and CBS M2K 42271. As Sony M2K 42271, Sony SK66280, Sony SBK 90480, SBK90480 (Essential Classics), Grand Repertoire ed. (French Market) Centenary Edition (2013).
– Chicago Symphony Orchestra 29/09/1983 Orchestral hall, Chicago, USA.
CD Nº 12 of “The first 100 years collection“. Live recording of the World Premiere.
Wit, Antoni (c.);
– Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, 1988, Concert Hall of the Polish Radio , Katowice, Poland.
Polskie Nagrania, 1989 Released as PNCD44 (CD) and MUZA SX2753 (LP)
– Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, 25 & 26/05/1995, Grzegorz Fitelberg Hall, Katowice, Poland.
Naxos, 1996. Released as Naxos CD 8.553423
Solti, Georg (c.);
– Sleschwig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, 1990, Germany.
London / Decca: p1991, Label no.: London 430 838-1DH (LP, digital, stereo); London 430 838-4DH (Cassette Tape, stereo, dolby); London 430 838-2DH (CD), Cover title: Orchestra! . The orchestral music from the Channel 4 Television Series.
Extract of the end and coda. Features music from Orchestra! series.
Rattle, Simon (c.);
– City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, 6&7/1995, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England. United Kingdom.
Arthaus Musik 102039, EMI (CD) 7243 5 66136 2 1
Extract of the end and coda. Features music from Leaving Home series.