Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Places catalog
During the annual Lucerne Festival in 1980, the first work commissioned from Witold Lutosławski by the Swiss conductor and arts patron Paul Sacher was performed. That was the Double Concerto for oboe and harp, written for the Swiss virtuoso couple Ursula and Heinz Holliger and the Collegium Musicum Orchestra conducted by Sacher. On the programme of that open-air concert, held next to the famous lion monument designed by Thorvaldsen, Lutosławski’s new composition was placed alongside a Mozart Divertimento.
Two years later, during the spring festival, the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, of England, played the Mini-overture for wind quintet. That work was commissioned from Lutosławski, for the fiftieth birthday of his daughter, by Walter Strebi, one of the founders of the Lucerne Festival and a long-serving chair of the festival committee. It was a matter of course that the birthday work would be performed by Philip Jones’s ensemble, since Ursula Jones-Strebi was his wife. Unfortunately, she did not have the chance to hear the gift, since she died in 1981.
Heinz Holliger. (creative commons)
The river Reuss in the old part of Lucerne. Phot. Simon Koopmann. (creative commons)
Witold Lutosławski and his wife Danuta on a walk with Heinz and Ursula Holliger. Private collections of Gabriela and Martin Bogusławski
Witold Lutosławski on a rehearsal with Heinz and Ursula Holliger. The Witold Lutosławski Society.