• Lutosławski Cello Concerto: more videos

In the eighteen months since I posted a review of (then) existing videos of Witold Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto (4 December 2011), there has been a flurry of further activity, especially in 2013.  The latest to come to my attention is a recording by Kian Soltani (born in 1992), who played the concerto to win the final of this year’s Paulo Cello Competition in Helsinki.  This competition takes place every five or six years and several exponents of the Lutosławski have been prizewinners on previous occasions, including Oren Shevlin (1996), whose YouTube recording from 2011 I thought very highly of in my earlier post, Rafał Kwiatkowski (2002), who went on to record the concerto for DUX in 2005, and Nicolas Altstaedt (2007), who has been one of quite a few cellists to have included it in this centenary year (Warsaw and Stavanger).

As I’m currently deep in the final stages of my book on the Cello Concerto, I’m afraid I don’t have the time to review all the recent uploads, so here is just a list of what’s newly available.

Promotional videos

2013 marks two anniversaries: Lutosławski’s centenary and the bicentenary of the Royal Philharmonic Society.  The RPS commissioned Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto in 1966 and to mark these events Tom Hutchinson from the RPS made a short video to coincide with a performance of the work on 7 March by Truls Mørk and the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen.  Hutchinson discusses some of the correspondence and press reviews of the premiere by Rostropovich, the Bournemouth SO and Edward Downes at the Royal Festival Hall on 14 October 1970.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg1YQDFTFMY  (uploaded 7 March 2013)

The British cellist Alexander Baillie talks about the piece in advance of his performance of it with the Boston PO under Benjamin Zander on 23, 25 and 26 February 2012.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHP-VMrR0zs  (uploaded 23 February 2012)   
see below for url for vimeo of Baillie’s performance on 26 February 2012

The conductor of the Boston PO performances, Benjamin Zander, gave a pre-concert talk on the concerto (with the orchestra) on 26 February 2012.  He has some perceptive observations to make about the orchestration but unfortunately is occasionally loose with the historical facts.  It’s posted in two sections.


Audio recordings

Miklós Perényi was the second cellist to record the Lutosławski (with the Budapest SO under György Lehel on Hungaroton), but his version from 1975 has never been transferred to CD.  It is a fascinating approach (the opening D naturals are 2/3rds of the suggested speed – c.40 crotchets/fourth notes per second instead of c.60), yet overall the performance is one of the shortest.  Perényi has also been playing the work for longer than most – he performed it in Katowice on 25 January this year, the 100th anniversary of Lutosławski’s birth.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4xlRmhNXJI  (uploaded 26 December 2012)

There’s also an audio of the first half of the concerto by young Polish musicians: Michał Zieliński (cello), the Orchestra of the Fredyryk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, conducted by Michał Smigielski.  Bizarrely, it stops partway through the Cantilena (just before fig. 74).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pil13C2RpiQ  (uploaded 4 November 2011)


Alexander Baillie (see above for his promotional video) played the concerto as part of the Boston PO’s 2011-12 season, under Benjamin Zander (see above for the vimeo of his pre-concert talk).  It’s a shame that the titles are presented over the opening of the concerto, so that it’s more than a minute before we get a sight of Baillie.  The vimeo is in three parts.  Part 1: up to fig.38 (the Introduction, the first two Episodes and almost, but not quite, to the end of Episode 3); Part 2: from fig. 38 (through the Cantilena and on into the Finale) up to fig.88 (just before the cello’s ‘sigh’); Part 3: from the ‘sigh’ to the end.


There are three performances from the Paulo Cello Competition:

Nicolas Altstaedt‘s performance of the concerto was uploaded in three sections in 2010, but as I discussed on 4 December 2011 there was a frustrating visual-audio time-lapse in the second and third instalments.  These have now been taken down, though the first instalment is still there (it covers the solo introduction and the first two Episodes).  Now the same uploader has posted the performance in a single video, technical problems sorted.  It comes from Altstaedt’s participation in the 2007 Paulo Cello Competition, with the Finnish Radio SO, conducted by Dmitri (Dima) Slobodeniouk.  It is fiery and passionate and must have been absolutely electrifying in concert.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIxvBjP7ld8  (uploaded 9 March 2013)

Silver Ainomäe, who was also a prizewinner at the Paulo Cello Competition in 2007, also played the Lutosławski concerto, likewise with the Finnish Radio SO under Slobodeniouk.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVqx2uUls54  (uploaded 4 February 2013)

Kian Soltani‘s performance at this year’s Paulo Cello Competition was given on 27 April, with the Helsinki PO conducted by John Storgårds.  The video is available on this site only until 24 October 2013.


A much earlier concert took place in Madrid on 18 January 2002, when Felix Fan performed the Lutosławski concerto with the Spanish Radio and Television Orchestra, conducted by Adrian Leaper.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdoW0q81F24  (uploaded 12 January 2013)

There are also two video performances by young American musicians now on YouTube:

Tyler Borden, University of Buffalo SO, conducted by Daniel Bassin, on 1 March 2013.  There is also an unrevealing ‘conductor cam’ version from stage left … (second url below).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rs1XklVcJI  (uploaded 1 March 2013)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DVEksYh2PQ  (uploaded 13 April 2013)

The Swiss cellist, Frédéric Rosselet, joined the University of Southern California SO, conducted by Carl St Clair, for this performance on 14 March 2013.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVEsCl9hb18  (uploaded 28 April 2013)

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