The Listening Room: A Lot of Lutoslawski
9 Jan 2012
Inside the Classics

Later this month, (specifically, the week of January 23,) we’ll be kicking off another installment of The Listening Room, a project we launched with Judd here on the blog in November. Basically, TLR is like a book club, only with music. Each month Judd picks a specific recording, we all buy it (yes, we’re asking you to pay for the music if you want to participate, but recordings cost pennies these days, and given how much work goes into producing them, we don’t think it’s too much to ask) and listen to it, and then we get together with Judd to talk about the music.

So without further ado, here’s this month’s featured disc:

This is a Los Angeles Philharmonic recording of works by the legendary Polish composer, Witold Lutoslawski. I say “legendary,” but what I really mean is “legendary within the world of professional musicians,” because sadly, Lutoslawski is one of those composers who just doesn’t seem to show up on the radar screens of the average concertgoer, despite the fact that his music is a) at least as accessible as your average Stravinsky ballet score, b) incredibly evocative and distinctive in style, and c) just a blast to perform live. I don’t know why his music isn’t performed more by big American orchestras, ours included, but since it isn’t, this may be your first time hearing Lutoslawski, and if that’s the case, you’re in for a treat.

There are two symphonies and a work for baritone and orchestra on this 1994 disc, and the MP3 version is going for $2.99 on Amazon and iTunes, so joining the Listening Room conversation this month probably costs less than your daily Caribou Coffee fix. Jump on board, send your initial thoughts to me by e-mail (sbergman[at] if you want, and Judd and I will kick off the conversation on Monday the 23rd…

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