Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Persons catalog

Peter Pears

Peter Pears (1910-1986) - English tenor, possessed a bright-sounding voice. His performances were characterized by great proficiency and wide expressional range. From 1937 he collaborated with Benjamin Britten, who considered him to be the ideal interpreter of his works, and with him in mind wrote a series of songs, concert pieces, and tenor roles in his operas. Pears gained fame as a superb performer of early music (Bach, Schütz, Purcell) and Romantic song (Schubert, Schumann).

With the thought of Peter Pears as performer, Witold Lutosławski composed the Paroles tissées to the words of Chabrun. The composer remembers: "For me it was a very memorable collaboration. This was an artist of great caliber. I met him when he appeared at the Warsaw Autumn. Britten was at the piano. After the performance Peter Pears approached me with the question whether I'd write a composition for him. I engaged in the project with great energy and pleasure."

The world premiere of Paroles tissées was given on June 20, 1965, at the Festival in Aldeburgh, by Peter Pears and with Witold Lutosławski as conductor.

In conversation with Zofia Owińska, Witold Lutosławski reminisced: "When we appeared together for the last time, in Saint-Louis, he was 68 years of age. This is when he sang best in every respect - it was absolutely the best performance both vocally and musically". (kt/mk)