Musique funèbre for orchestra
Piano Concerto No. 3
Romeo and Juliet, Suite from op. 64
“As I was writing this work I did not try to model it on Bartók’s music. Any eventual similarities were not intentional. Should any occur they simply reinforce the indisputable fact that studying Bartók’s music was fundamental for most composers of my generation.”
(Witold Lutosławski on Musique funèbre)
Witold Lutosławski dedicated his Musique funèbre, which premiered in the Polish town of Katowice in 1958, to the memory of one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century: Béla Bartók. In interviews, Lutosławski repeatedly emphasized his admiration for the music of the Hungarian composer, who died in 1945. Yet Lutosławski did not let his deep respect for Bartók’s works turn him into a blind partisan of his elder fellow composer, admitting once that “I’m not too fond of the Third Piano Concerto [by Bartók] – it might be a masterpiece but it doesn’t really speak to me.”
Bartók’s masterful Third Piano Concerto, feared by interpreters because of its exorbitant demands on the solo part as equally as it is adored by listeners, is taken on by internationally celebrated pianist Yefim Bronfman and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under Daniele Gatti in this Musikfest Berlin concert. In addition to Lutosławski’s Musique funèbre, which he dedicated to Bartók, the programme includes highlights of selected works from the two suites in Sergej Prokofjew’s ballet Romeo and Juliet, which premiered in 1938.