Cover Osteuropa 11-12/2012

In Osteuropa 11-12/2012

Reading the Cello Concerto
Lutosławski and Literature

Adrian Thomas

Deutsche Fassung


Since its premiere in October 1970, there has been a dispute over how to interpret Witold Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto. Some listeners consider it a musical depiction of the struggle between the artist and repression. The cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, who performed the concerto’s premiere, made this reading popular. "And this although Lutosławski had previously used "literary words" to describe his compositional intentions in a letter to Rostropovich." Later, Lutosławski resisted attempts to reduce the work to a statement of political programme. The “literary words” provide an incentive to search for clues concerning the literary references the Cello Concerto contains.

(Osteuropa 11-12/2012, pp. 111–130)