Cover Osteuropa 11-12/2012

In Osteuropa 11-12/2012

Infuriating Antagonism
Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto as Political Programme

Izabela Antulov

Deutsche Fassung


The Cello Concerto of 1970 is one of the best known works by Witold Lutosławski. Its musical qualities aside, the concerto owes its fame above all to the political interpretation that accompanied it: the emphatically designed tension between solo instrument and orchestra was widely interpreted as a depiction of the conflict between individual and collective in state socialism. Mstislav Rostropovich, to whom the work was dedicated and who was the work’s first soloist, made a decisive contribution to this interpretation. The composer, however, later repeatedly relativized his comments regarding the concerto’s extra-musical content.

(Osteuropa 11-12/2012, pp. 131–142)