Cello Concerto - Hesitant - Direct

photo: Jan Styczyński, Witold Lutosławski Society archive



  • Cezary Duchnowski – computer
  • Kwadrofonik:
    • Emilia Sitarz – piano
    • Bartłomiej Wąsik – piano
    • Magdalena Kordylasińska – percussion
    • Miłosz Pękala – percussion

There are several reasons why we decided to work on a new “chamber” version of one of the most important pieces by Witold Lutosławski, his Cello Concerto. Above all we wanted to pay tribute to this ever-inspiring masterpiece in the year of the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Our aim was to perform the entire piece “as is” and to follow precisely all ideas and intentions of the original score, but “colouring” and spatialising it by means of state-of-the-art computer technology.

Our “team” consists of the composer and performing artist Cezary Duchnowski – probably the most important figure on the Polish electronic music scene – and Quadrophonic Ensemble (2 pianos and 2 percussions), well-known in Poland for its bold and original reinterpretations of 20th-century repertoire. The cellist Andrzej Bauer – Witold Lutosławski’s scholar – had an opportunity to study the piece with the composer and performed it several times with him as the conductor.

In the last few decades Lutosławski’s masterpiece has made its way into the repertoire of nearly all important concert cellists. During the International Lutosławski Cello Competition in Warsaw we often listen to very young musicians performing the Concerto with a considerable level of understanding, passion and technical ease despite its instrumental complexity. In conversations, they invariably stress that performing the piece is for them a very important artistic experience. We hope that the possibility of performing a chamber version of the Concerto, without the costly and in many ways limiting dependency on a huge symphony orchestra, will make the masterpiece even more deeply etched in the minds of music lovers. Ambitious young cellists will also have a chance to confront themselves with this challenging yet artistically very gratifying piece.

In an analogy to the two-part form invented by Lutosławski, our performance of the Cello Concerto will be preceded by an “introductory movement” – ensemble-composed improvisation (Hesitant). It will prepare the listeners for the “main movement” (Direct).

Our arrangement uses 4-channel sound projection, amplified acoustic instruments (cello and percussion). Electronic sounds are triggered in various ways by all musicians. Using all kinds of techniques, the pianists play partly prepared pianos as well as specially designed samplers. Our intention is not to diminish the listeners’ experience but to create a huge soundscape, comparable to, if not stronger than, the experience of an orchestral concert.

Andrzej Bauer

Other projects

My concert projects. Old and new. The projects I develop and perform cover a wide stylistic spectrum. Some relate to performances of the classical repertoire, some are modern creations combining performance and composition, using digital technology and multimedia.