orchestration: orchestra
  1(picc) 2(ci)21, 0110, batt, cel, ar, pf, archi
dedicated to: Paul Sacher
year composed: 1989
about premiere
location: Monachium
date: 10 I 1990
orchestra: Müncher Philharmoniker
conductor: Witold Lutosławski
edition: PWM, Chester Music

The Interlude dedicated to Paul Sacher is a composition that is exceptional in Witold Lutosławski's oeuvre for reasons of its genesis alone. After composing Chain II - a dialogue for violin and orchestra - and the orchestral version of the Partita, the composer and Anne-Sophie Mutter mused upon the idea of performing both compositions in one part of the evening, after which Lutosławski came to the conclusion that the two concertante works should be divided by a piece in the character of an interjection, contrasting in expression, character of sonority, and type of narrative. To this end the Interlude (1989) was created, a piece that in concert practice often ‘clips together' the two concertante pieces for violin and orchestra in a kind of triptych.

In strong contrast with those two compositions, the aesthetic of the Interlude makes this piece almost a mystery. The slowly shifting plane of contrapuntal strings is not a process, but a certain state of sonic material maintained consistently in the dynamic level of piano - a non-conflictual ‘time-stopped' state. This plane created by the strings is accompanied by motives in the wind instruments, percussion, and harp, piano, and celesta, which encrust this seemingly immobile state with delicate, arabesque drawings that create the impression of having been taken from a different sonic space. The metaphysical pensiveness of this piece brings to mind on one hand Charles Ives' The Unanswered Question, and on the other hand, the scores of some minimalists.

The composition's world premiere was given in Munich on January 10, 1990, together with the concert world premiere of the orchestral version of the Partita performed within the entire triptych: Partita - Interlude - Chain II. The soloist of the evening was Anne-Sophie Mutter, and the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra was conducted by the composer.

ach / trans. mk