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Calendar 1990-1994

1990

Lutosławski receives the Signature Award of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and an honorary doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh.

8 June
Meeting with John Paul II at Warsaw’s Teatr Wielki [Grand Theatre]

8 August
Premiere of Chantefleurs et Chantefables at the Proms Festival in London.

And finally […] I remembered those poems Desnos had written for children, and I completely changed my decision and decided to write a cycle. Simply because I didn’t have a text that would fit into what I wanted initially. They are short, very charming poems, sometimes funny, sometimes delicately lyrical, very beautiful; I put together nine of those in order to compose a cycle for soprano and small orchestra. As regards the Norwegian singer Solveig Kringleborn, I heard her when the work had already been written.

I simply thought that she could be a good performer of the work. I’m very happy that she has agreed, and has even has become quite keen on the project, because she immediately accepted an invitation from the Warsaw Autumn Festival to repeat it at the final concert.

(Interview for the II Programme of the Polish Radio.)


1991

Lutosławski receives the Signature Award of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and an honorary doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh.

8 June
Meeting with John Paul II at Warsaw’s Teatr Wielki [Grand Theatre]

8 August
Premiere of Chantefleurs et Chantefables at the Proms Festival in London.

And finally […] I remembered those poems Desnos had written for children, and I completely changed my decision and decided to write a cycle. Simply because I didn’t have a text that would fit into what I wanted initially. They are short, very charming poems, sometimes funny, sometimes delicately lyrical, very beautiful; I put together nine of those in order to compose a cycle for soprano and small orchestra. As regards the Norwegian singer Solveig Kringleborn, I heard her when the work had already been written. I simply thought that she could be a good performer of the work. I’m very happy that she has agreed, and has even has become quite keen on the project, because she immediately accepted an invitation from the Warsaw Autumn Festival to repeat it at the final concert.

(From an interview with Elżbieta Markowska, 1991)


1992

April
2nd Lutosławski Composers’ Competition

22 August
Lutosławski completes Symphony No. 4

October
Member of Lech Wałęsa’s presidential Culture Committee.

Today no one blames Brahms for not being a very avant-garde composer in his day, though we still discover in his works solutions his contemporaries never dreamed of. Eventually, we have to arrive at a situation in which music will not be only a show of novelties, a show of how to make it, but will be first of all an important message from its author. And only then will we have conditions in which some classics can be created; but it will still be years before we achieve that. Although there are signs that this is already happening, because the so-called avant-garde has lost its significance, its edge. I would even venture to state, that this avant-garde has become terribly old-fashioned.

(In conversation with Mieczysław Kominek.)


1993

5 February
Premiere of Lutosławski’s Symphony No.4 in Los Angeles

18 May
The Swedish Academy of Music awards the Polar Prize to Lutosławski. The award is considered the equivalent to a Musical Nobel.

23 May
Polish premiere of Symphony No. 4

25 September
Last concert at the Warsaw Autumn Festival.

7-8 October
A Lutosławski competition is launched in Białystok on Stanisław Olędzki’s initiative.

24 October
Last concert conducted by Lutosławski (in Toronto).

November
Lutosławski receives the Kyoto Prize.

December
An initially innocent looking disease turns out to be a malignant neoplasm (melanoma).

In the preface to his novel The Nigger of the ”Narcissus” the great English writer, Joseph Conrad -- who, by the way, was Polish -- wrote about the ”the magic suggestiveness of music - which is the art of arts”.

In this context, the decision of the Polar Music Prize founder -- to award it also to the so-called ”serious” composers -- deserves the highest praise.

(Witold Lutosławski's speech after receiving the musical Nobel - the Polar Music Prize.)


1994

Classical Music Award for Symphony No.4

19 January
Lutosławski receives the Order of the White Eagle.

7 February
Lutosławski dies in the Government Hospital on Emilia Plater Street.

16 February
Funeral at the Powązkowski cemetery.

22 April
Death of Danuta Lutosławska.

These works are a message from an ideal world, which is the world of our dreams, desires, or notions of an ideal world. It is a message from someone who exists in a different world, to which others have no direct access. Yet, there is indirect access through works of art.

And this is a role for a creative artist, this and not participation in politics or various areas of public life.

(In conversation with Ludwika Malewska-Mostowicz.)

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