• WL100/19: ‘Lutosławski live’, 12-19.02.93

Twenty years ago today, ‘Lutosławski live‘ took over the concert halls of Manchester in celebration of the Polish composer’s 80th birthday two weeks earlier.  The festival was the brainchild of the British composer, John Casken, who had known Lutosławski since the early 1970s.  ‘Lutosławski live‘ placed his music within the context of composers old and new, with Casken and James Macmillan featuring as both composers and speakers and, in the case of MacMillan, as conductor too.  Lutosławski had hotfooted it back from Los Angeles, where he had just conducted the world premiere of his Fourth Symphony (5 February 1993).

The Lutosławski works performed in Manchester were: Variations on a Theme of Paganini (1941), Recitative e Arioso (1951), Concerto for Orchestra (1954), Dance Preludes (1954), Dance Preludes (1954/59), Jeux vénitiens (1961), String Quartet (1964), Preludes and Fugue (1972), Mi-parti (1976), Grave (1981), Mini-Overture (1982), Symphony no.3 (1983), Chain 1 (1983), Partita (1984), Chain 3 (1986), Piano Concerto (1988) and Slides (1988).

My recollection is of a wonderfully friendly event, with musicians drawn from the RNCM, the Allegri and Lindsay string quartets, the London Sinfonietta, the BBC PO and the Hallé.  Lutosławski himself conducted in two of the concerts.  I also have very fond memories of a relaxed post-concert supper with him, John Casken and others in a downtown Italian restaurant.  Good times.  Oh, I’ve only just noticed that I was quoted on the leaflet.  There’s observation for you.

WL live, Manchester 1993 front

WL live, Manchester 1993 inside

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