Cover Osteuropa 11-12/2012

In Osteuropa 11-12/2012

Principles and Precipice
Witold Lutosławski and Socialist Realism

Dorota Kozińska

Deutsche Fassung


No sooner had Witold Lutosławski’s First Symphony been heard in public, the Communist regime in Warsaw placed it on the list of banned works. According to the precepts of Socialist Realism, it was considered “formalist” – a derogatory term for experimental and avant-garde. But Lutosławski’s work did not come to an end. He charted a course that would match to those ideological precepts without repudiating his artistic freedom. To this end, he fell back on folklore. He ended this phase with his technically advanced and highly acclaimed Concerto for Orchestra. Lutosławski’s songs for the masses and soldiers, however, belong to the dark side of his work. They were his concession to the Communist regime.

(Osteuropa 11-12/2012, pp. 39–46)