Witold Lutoslawski

Symphonies 2 & 3

Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Hannu Lintu, conductor



Sleeve notes in English and Finnish


February 2020

Catalogue No.:
ODE 1332-5


Track listing

CD/SACD 61:40
Witold Lutoslawski (1913-1994)
Symphony No. 3 (1983) 32:56
1 Vivo - Lento - Vivo - Lento - Vivo - Stesso movimento - Lento - 4:09
2 Vivo - Stesso movimento - Lento – 2:57
3 Vivo - Stesso movimento - Adagio - Piu mosso - Lento – 5:01
4 Vivo - Poco meno mosso - Meno mosso – 4:48
5 Tempo I - 4:44
6 Meno mosso - Tempo I - Meno mosso - Tempo I - Meno mosso - Ancora meno mosso - Piu largo - Tempo I - Lento - Vivo - Lento - Vivo – 3:09
7 A tempo - Poco meno mosso - Presto - Stesso movimento - Poco lento - Allegro 8:07
Symphony No. 2 (1967) 28:27
8 I Hésitant 13:47
9 II Direct 14:40

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Complete description

Second volume in the Witold Lutosławski (1913–1994) symphony cycle by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and its chief conductor Hannu Lintu brings together two symphonies which belong to the most remarkable symphonic creations of the late 20th century. In his 2nd and 3rd Symphonies Lutosławski is laying out the principal foundations of his creative legacy.


Lutosławski completed his 2nd Symphony in 1967. This symphony is the most radical of the composer’s four symphonies and takes full use of aleatoric writing. During the writing process Lutosławski was particularly preoccupied with the issue of symphonic form. The symphonic process is built up not of themes and how they evolve but of the dynamics between entire textures, how they meet and contrast. The movements are of roughly the same length but completely different in character. The first movement deliberately sketches out music of sporadic ideas and fragments, fostering dissatisfaction and frustration in the listener that are then dispelled by the second movement. The concept is underlined by the titles of the movements, Hésitant and Direct.


Lutosławski began sketching out his 3rd Symphony shortly after completing its predecessor. However, it took until the early 1980s when the composer was finally able to write it down. By then, the composer had already stylistically shifted towards more rich and diverse expression. This dramatic 30-minute work was premiered by Georg Solti in 1983 and undoubtedly influenced by the social unrest in Poland of the time. For many this work is the climax among the composer’s symphonies and belongs to the greatest achievements of the symphonies of our time.


Conductor Hannu Lintu was recently nominated for a GRAMMY for his recording of new works by Kaija Saariaho (ODE 1309-2) together with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He also won the Gramophone Award and ICMA Award for his recording of the Bartók Violin Concertos (ODE 1317-2) together with Christian Tetzlaff and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. The same recording was also nominated for the 2019 BBC Music Magazine Awards. Recordings by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Hannu Lintu on Ondine have gathered numerous excellent reviews in the international press. Two of their recordings were nominated for Gramophone Awards in 2018. One of them, including orchestral works and songs by Jean Sibelius (ODE 1289-5) also won an ICMA Award in January 2018. The first volume of their Lutoslawski symphony cycle (ODE 1320-5) was chosen ‘Recording of the Month’ by the BBC Music Magazine in February 2019.