Following his recent visit to Walt Disney Concert Hall with his Philharmonia Orchestra, LA Phil Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen returns to lead the LA Phil in its celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the 20th century's pre-eminent composers, Witold Lutos?awski. The Lutos?awski Centenary includes two orchestral concerts and one Green Umbrella event with the LA Phil New Music Group between November 30 and December 9.
The celebration begins with performances Friday and Saturday, November 30 and December 1, at 8 pm, as well as Sunday, December 2, at 2 pm, featuring the composer's Symphony No. 1, which will be recorded live to complete a Salonen/LA Phil cycle of the composer's four symphonies to be released on Sony Classical in January 2013. Also to be recorded is Fanfare for Los Angeles Philharmonic, a short piece for brass and percussion, written by Lutos?awski in celebration of the LA Phil's 75th anniversary season. This quintessential Salonen program pairs Lutos?awski with Beethoven, as he had done for his Beethoven Unbound festival in the 2004/05 season – this time with King Stephen Overture and Symphony No. 2.
The Green Umbrella concert, Tuesday, December 4, at 8 pm, led by LA Phil Resident Conductor Lionel Bringuier, continues the celebration of Lutos?awski with the composer's Partita and his magical song-cycle Chantefleurs et Chantefables on Robert Desnos' enchanting poems for children. The latter work features soprano Laura Claycomb. Along with those pieces are works by two of Lutos?awski's most ardent advocates – Steven Stucky's Ad Parnassum, which was inspired by a Paul Klee painting, and Salonen's string quartet Homunculus.
The Lutos?awski Centenary concludes with three LA Phil performances, Friday and Saturday, December 7 and 8, at 8 pm, and Sunday, December 9, at 2 pm. The program features Lutos?awski's Les espaces du sommeil, his evocative interpretation of disordered sleep, which Salonen and the LA Phil recorded. Acclaimed Canadian baritone Gerald Finley performs the Surrealist vocal nocturne. The program also includes the West Coast premiere of Salonen's Nyx, which was recently released along with his Violin Concerto on Deutsche Grammophon. Following is Schumann's Piano Concerto, the composer's ardently Romantic concerto written for his wife, Clara, and performed by young French pianist David Fray. The program closes with Tchaikovsky's tone poem Francesca da Rimini.
As a cabaret pianist on the run from the Nazis in occupied Warsaw and then a staunchly independent composer denounced by Communist party apparatchiks, Witold Lutos?awski survived some of the 20th-century's grimmest years, and his cultural importance seems only to have grown since his death. Lutos?awski became a close artistic associate of the LA Phil and Esa-Pekka Salonen in the last decade of his life.