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11.6.13

Lutosławski's 'Trois poèmes d'Henri Michaux'



Charles T. Downey, At Strathmore, National Philharmonic’s Lutoslawski benefits from lacking Orff
Washington Post, June 11, 2013

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Orff, Carmina Burana, G. Wand
The National Philharmonic marked the 100th anniversary of Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski’s birth by giving what was billed as the local premiere of one of his landmark works, “Trois poèmes d’Henri Michaux,” on Sunday at Strathmore.

It is a puzzling work, requiring two conductors to coordinate masses of semi-improvised sound from, on one side of the stage, an instrumental wing of winds, brass, two pianos and percussion, and, on the other, a whispering, moaning, keening and shouting small chorus, combined in a technique the composer called “aleatory counterpoint.” This may sound like chaos, and it was at times, but the music is carefully constructed to follow the tragic contour of Michaux’s hallucinogenic poetry, a story of troubled thoughts, a surreal battle punctuated with neologisms and melancholy resignation. [Continue reading]
National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale
Lutosławski, Trois poèmes d'Henri Michaux
Orff, Carmina Burana
Music Center at Strathmore

SEE ALSO:
Richard Taruskin, Orff's Musical And Moral Failings (New York Times, May 6, 2001)

Martin Kettle, Secret of the White Rose (The Guardian, January 1, 2009)

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