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Lutoslawski Orchestral Works, Volume 8

Dance Preludes for Clarinet and Orchestra
Double Concerto for Oboe, Harp, and Chamber Orchestra
Grave - Metamorphoses
Chain I
Eight Children's Songs

Zbigniew Kaleta, clarinet Arkadiusz Krupa, oboe Nicolas Tulliez, harp Rafa? Kwiatkowski, cello Urszula Kryger, soprano Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra/Antoni Wit Naxos

Naxos 8.555763 [58 mins]

I may not be the only reviewer to overlook some of th CDs which arrive for review. But this one deserves reparation. During the times when he was a regular visitor to London, often conducting his own music, Witold Lutoslawski was one of my top favourite composers. His music seems in danger of slipping from the concert repertoire.

This is a valuable assemblage of some of his shorter works, including the important Double Concerto and Chain 1, all recorded in 2001.

Chain 1 (1983) for the London Sinfoniettais was his first with this designation, with a succession of seemingly unrelated musical ideas, succeeding each other with unpredictable changes of mood. The Double Concerto (1980, for Heinz and Ursula Holliger) is a compelling dialogue, featuring the emerging extended techniques which were beginning to become fashionable through the pioneering work of Berio.

The programme taken as whole (the pauses between works are brief, unnecessarily so for a not over-filled CD !) makes for a good listening session, bookended with early folk influenced pieces, the delightful Childrens' Songs new to me and, unlike Naxos' usual practice, the texts are not available in the booklet nor on their website, which is a pity.

Under Antoni Wit's supervision, it is all well played and recorded, with Richard Whitehouse's invariably helpful notes to orientate the listener.

A recommendable bargain; I am sorry to have missed Vols 1 - 7 of this series.

Peter Grahame Woolf

See also Lutoslawski at the Guildhall