Lutoslawski’s Cello Concerto – So Simple It Hurts

Nothing special, just Thomas Ades conducting Lutoslawski’s cello concerto.

I’m in absolute awe of this piece. We’re talking about me holding back from gushing of a biblical variety. If you were to give me a blog and say to me, “Say something interesting about Beethoven and Lutoslaski and try not to resort to desperate internet ploys for attention – like kittens”, then I would say the following:

“Lutoslawski and Beethoven seem to have stitched a similar britch in that they’ve gone to a place in long form music making where you take a very simple element – almost simple to the point of being a clown – and spinning a whole piece from it.”

With Beethoven, you have one of the most popular hooks in existence: “Duh duh duh duuuuuuhhh!!!!”, in the fifth symphony; with Lutoslaski’s Cello Concerto the composer takes an enormous step forward by taking an enormous and ill-advised leap backwards: he takes out the first three notes of Beethoven’s memorable motto. He eliminates them. They are excessive baggage. In the words of an oft-forgotten character in a famous film: “His majesty says that there are too many notes”.


And if you don’t believe me, listen to the first ten seconds followed by the last ten seconds and tell me the parallels are a fluke. I DARE YOU.

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