Track listing Complete description Also recommended...

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Witold Lutoslawski

Concerto for Orchestra

Partita for Violin and Orchestra





Sleeve notes in English and Finnish


November 2023

Catalogue No.:
ODE 1444-2


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Track listing

Concerto for Orchestra (1950/54)
I. Intrada (Allegro maestoso)

II. Capriccio notturno ed Arioso (Vivace)

III. Passacaglia, Toccata e Corale (Andante con moto – Allegro giusto)

Partita for Violin and Orchestra (1988)
I. Allegro giusto

II. Ad libitum

III. Largo

IV. Ad libitum

V. Presto

Novelette (1979)
I. Announcement

II. First Event

III. Second Event

IV. Third Event

V. Conclusion

Also recommended...

Complete description

This new album conducted by Nicholas Collon continues Ondine’s award-winning series of orchestral works by Witold Lutosławski (1913–1994) together with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. The series has gathered several accolades, including a Grammy nomination, a BBC Music Magazine Awards nomination, as well as several recording of the month awards and best recordings of the year nominations. This album includes the composer’s early hit, his folklorish masterpiece Concerto for Orchestra, which is among his most performed compositions. The album also includes Partita for Violin and Orchestra (with Christian Tetzlaff as soloist), a virtuosic 5-movement work which in its orchestral version is not short of a Violin Concerto. The rarity in the album is Lutoslawski’s Novelette from 1979, which, although fragmentary, is already pointing toward the ideas of his 3rd Symphony.


Polish composer Witold Lutosławski was one of the most prominent creative musicians of the period following the Second World War. His milestone contribution to the history of modern music is ‘aleatoric counterpoint’ or ‘restricted aleatorics’, a composition technique he developed in the early 1960s. Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra scored a huge success when it was premiered in Warsaw in November 1954. It was the culmination of his early period and established him at one fell swoop as the most significant Polish composer since Karol Szymanowski, in the eyes of audiences and critics alike. In a belated international recognition, the work was awarded 1st prize at the UNESCO composer rostrum in 1963. It is of sufficient substance and importance to be considered on a par with his symphonies. The material of the Concerto for Orchestra is based on folk tunes collected in Mazovia near Warsaw.


Partita for violin and orchestra (1988) is a late work and, according to Lutosławski himself, is harmonically and melodically akin to a group of works that includes one of his most important creations, the Third Symphony (1979–1983). Lutosławski’s Partita are loosely connected to Baroque dance characters (courante, air, gigue). The Partita is a work in five movements that are played without a break. Its substance is in its first, third and fifth movements, which are linked by two brief ‘ad libitum’ movements for violin–piano duo.


In addition to his four symphonies and the Concerto for Orchestra, Lutosławski wrote several more concise and concentrated orchestral works, which are none the less important as facets of his compositional output. These include Novelette (1979), written to a request from Mstislav Rostropovich. The title Novelette is a literary one; Schumann used it as a title for a musical piece in his day. True to the description, in the context of Lutosławski’s output this piece is like a novella or short story compared with the novel-like proportions of the symphonies: equally rich in detail but more concise in form and often more akin to chamber music and more translucent in sound.


The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (FRSO) is the orchestra of the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle), and its mission is to produce and promote Finnish musical culture. The Radio Orchestra of ten players founded in 1927 grew to symphony orchestra proportions in the 1960s. Its Chief Conductors have been Toivo Haapanen, Nils-Eric Fougstedt, Paavo Berglund, Okko Kamu, Leif Segerstam, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Sakari Oramo, Hannu Lintu, and as of autumn 2021 Nicholas Collon. In addition to the great Classical-Romantic masterpieces, the latest contemporary music is a major item in the repertoire of the FRSO, which each year premieres a number of Yle commissions. The FRSO has twice won a Gramophone Award: for its album of Lindberg’s Clarinet Concerto in 2006 and of Bartók Violin Concertos in 2018. Other distinctions have included BBC Music Magazine, Académie Charles Cros, MIDEM Classical awards and Grammy nominations in 2020 and 2021. Its album of tone poems and songs by Sibelius won an International Classical Music Award (ICMA) in 2018. Their recent recording of works by Lotta Wennäkoski on Ondine received a prestigious Gramophone nomination.


British conductor Nicholas Collon is recognized for his elegant conducting style, searching musical intellect and inspirational music-making. He began as Chief Conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony in August 2021 – the first non-Finnish conductor ever to hold this post. As part of the orchestra’s continuing commitment to the Ondine label, Nicholas Collon will record a number of albums in his first season. Collon continues as Principal Guest of the Guerzenich Orchester, and will also return to the Residentie Orkest, where he was Chief Conductor 2016–2021. The Aurora Orchestra, of which Collon is Founder and Principal Conductor, remains at the heart of his activities.

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