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As a boy in Warsaw, Witold Lutosławski studied the violin with Lidia Kmitova, a teacher who had herself studied with the great Joseph Joachim, Brahms’s friend. It stood him in good stead. Throughout his life he had an instinctive feeling for what makes string instruments glow. His Chain 2 (1985) and Partita (1984) became instant classics of the solo violin repertoire; heartbreakingly, only fragmentary sketches of a planned Violin Concerto were found after his his death.

So Lutosławski’s final completed work for his 'own' instrument was this four-minute firework, composed in 1992 to a commission from Joseph Gingold as a test piece for the September 1994 Indianapolis International Violin Competition. From flashing opening to mysterious close, its four quickly-shifting sections combine into a sort of potted history of violin virtuosity, central European-style: the fast-slow contrasts of Brahms and Bartók, the glitter of Wieniawski and the elusive, ecstatic poetry of Szymanowski. And yet all, somehow, sounding as if it could have been written by no-one but Lutosławski.

from notes by Richard Bratby © 2016


Studio Master: SIGCD486Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD486 track 5

Recording date
28 September 2016
Recording venue
Snape Maltings, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Chris Hazell
Recording engineer
Simon Eadon
Hyperion usage
  1. Subito (SIGCD486)
    Disc 1 Track 5
    Release date: June 2017
    Download only
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