LUTOSŁAWSKI Witold, Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon

Following the Warsaw Rising in August 1944, Lutosławski fled to the town of Komorów (20km south-west of Warsaw) and worked on his Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon in the attic of a house belonging to one of his uncles. He later wrote that he chose three wind instruments because such an ensemble was ‘the simplest way’ to realise his ‘research into pitch, rhythm and the organisation of sounds’. In short, it was a kind of experiment in compositional discipline, written under extremely difficult circumstances. By the time Lutosławski returned to Warsaw more than 150,000 Polish lives had been lost as a result of brutal Nazi suppression of the Rising. 


The Trio was first performed at the Festival of Contemporary Music held in Cracow in September 1945. Writing shortly after the premiere, the Polish critic Stefan Kisielewski described this three-movement work as ‘a laboratory piece, a composer’s étude displaying some of the elements from which Lutosławski constructs his work … and a world of sound combinations which is personal and absolutely original.’ 


© Nigel Simeone 


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