Lutosławski’s mature style

Witold Lutoslawski

Lutosławski’s Trois poèmes d’Henri Michaux for choir and orchestra features many of the key elements of his mature compositional style: mirror-symmetrical sonorities, composite rhythms incorporating the element of chance, and the use of textural counterpoint.

Perhaps its most significant aspect is the intricately interwoven structural layers that form its foundation. Pitch, rhythm, and timbre unite to create texture, the main building block of the piece and the musical parameter that ultimately determines its formal subdivisions.

This according to Wheels within wheels: An examination of Witold Lutosławski’s “Trois poèmes d’Henri Michaux” by Frederick Carl Gurney, a dissertation accepted by the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1999.

Today is Lutosławski’s 100th birthday! Below, the first movement of Trois poèmes (after about two minutes score excerpts are shown). Above, a portrait of the composer by Mariusz Kałdowski.

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