Throughout his life, Witold Lutosławski was especially fond of French Impressionist music: “The sound of the orchestra, its wealth, its colourfulness have always fascinated me”, the Polish composer once stated. In this concert, the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen presents two of Lutosławski’s main works in the context of French music at the turn of the century.
For ten years, Lutosławski worked on his “Third Symphony”, which was premiered in 1983. Despite its mathematically precise construction, the composition plays with forms and sound textures in a kaleidoscope-like manner, Lutosławski’s multilayered, emotionally charged “Third Symphony” finds its antithesis in the shimmering sound quality and flighty harmonies of Claude Debussy’s epochal orchestral work “Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune”.
The centrepiece of this concert is Lutosławski’s composition “Les Espaces du sommeil”, which premiered in 1978 and was based on a text by French poet and Résistance fighter Robert Desnos, who was murdered in Theresienstadt shortly before the end of the Second World War. Baritone Matthias Goerne, who is internationally celebrated for his subtle interpretations, has the solo part.
The charming orchestral suite from Maurice Ravel’s fairytale ballet “Ma Mère l’Oye” rounds off a multifaceted programme of Polish and French music that is situated between dream worlds and reality.
Claude Debussy [1862-1918]
Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune [1892-94]
Witold Lutosławski [1913-1994]
Les Espaces du Sommeil
for baritone and orchestra 
Maurice Ravel [1875-1937]
Ma Mère l’Oye
Suite for orchestra 
Symphony No. 3 [1972/73]