Krystian Zimerman, Simon Rattle, Berliner Philharmoniker Lutosławski: Piano Concerto; Symphony No. 2 - Album review

Download: Symphony No. 2; Concerto for Piano and Orchestra

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

John Cage’s innovative theories had a profound effect on Polish composer Witold Lutosławski, who developed for his “Symphony No 2” a process of “limited aleatoricism” inspired by Cage’s use of random techniques – here involving motific units partly determined by the individual musicians.

The result was remarkable, with moments of sublime beauty, comparable to Cage’s own works, battling to emerge from chaos in this reading by the Berliner Philharmoniker under Simon Rattle.

Opening with brusque overlapping brass fanfares punctuated by sharp drum-cracks, while quiet piano and drifting woodwind rise  like mist over a lake, the first movement develops a glistening, iridescent quality akin to darting shoals of fish, subsumed by  a creeping cacophony in the second movement.