Talk:Witold Lutosławski/Archive 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


Is there a way to have the slashed "l", "ł", in the article title? Hyacinth 21:58, 16 Apr 2004 (UTC)

No. The character set we use doesn't allow it. I think there are plans for us to switch to one that does at some point in the future, but until then we're stuck with it (same for Leos Janacek and so on). --Camembert
This was fixed in the 1.5 upgrade, 27th June 2005, and the titlelacksdiacritics tag removed by Antandrus shortly thereafter (smart work, Antandrus!). --RobertGtalk 28 June 2005 11:22 (UTC)

Draft article

There was a draft article which I was working on which anyone was welcome to incorporate here if you thought it was worth it. --RobertGtalk 09:27, 16 May 2005 (UTC)

I thought it was so nearly there, I'd just clean it up a bit and post it, and see what happens. --RobertGtalk 10:55, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Looks really good. I've just made a few little edits to break down a few very long sentences and change a few little grammatical things - I hope that's ok. I'm a newbie, so please let me know if I'm doing things wrong - I just want to help! 17:02, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Sorry, didn't realise I wasn't logged in - both the comment above and the recent edits discussed are from me. Thanks!

Hutchies 17:03, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)


I recently added three images to the article, hopefully making it more attractive and liable to being accepted as featured article. All photos are in public domain, I have contacted the authors/sources and asked for permission. Please move the photos about the text to make the layout look better. If there is a need, I can find another/more images. Karol July 8, 2005 21:25 (UTC)

Peer review

Thanks everyone who contributed to the peer review; particularly thanks to Karol for uploading those images. I will submit this article for featured status in mid-to-late-August when I return from Wikiholiday and when time permits. --RobertGtalk 11:02, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

Do you think I should also add an image from times when he was a bit younger? I have found a few from the 70s. Karol 11:07, July 14, 2005 (UTC)
The more, the merrier, just make sure you add the correct Wikipedia:Image copyright tags. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 12:26, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
All the sources I used declared their images to be PD. Karol 14:22, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

Recent edits to introduction

A recent edit introduced factual inaccuracy and removed implicit information. I have revised the changes. Individual performers are not given latitude, nor are they asked to improvise, as the section Aleatory technique makes clear. Implicit information was removed when the Easter-egg link was added (People's Republic of Poland was wrapped under Poland). His solistic works (song cycles and concertos) were the ones written for renowned soloists: this obviously wasn't stated clearly enough in previous versions. You don't adhere to a line: the correct expression is to toe the line. I've recast the sentences in question. --RobertGtalk 09:13, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Some queries

Robert, I'm wondering why this sentence: 'Until World War I, Poland was divided according to the 1815 Congress of Vienna, and Warsaw was part of Tsarist Russia.' is in the middle of the paragraph on L's family. Can it be relocated? Tony 12:34, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

It's important as context for Jozef's political activity, and because it helps explain why the family went to Moscow. I'll move it to the start of the Early years section and see how that looks, perhaps as part of your suggestion below of merging these two sections. --RobertGtalk 14:27, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Is there a reason for including Polish translations such as '(szlachta or ziemiaństwo)' and '(Stronnictwo Narodowo-Demokratyczne or Endecja)'? They make the text signficantly harder to read, and I can't see what the advantage is. And two alternatives in Polish are given for each of these examples, without explanation as to whether they are interchangeable, synonymous, etc. There are already quite a number of Polish names in the text. What do you think? Tony 12:34, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

I agree with you. Ziemiaństwo and Endecja came direct from one of my references (Rae); the other translations have been introduced by our native Polish Wikipedia friends, and I'm afraid I don't speak Polish. I haven't really thought about it too much, except that szlachta is a separate link and to bundle it up as link like this: "landed gentry", seems unfair on the reader. I take it that Stronnictwo Narodowo-Demokratyczne is simply Polish for National Democratic Party. It wouldn't worry me if you removed the translations. --RobertGtalk 14:27, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

The blue links are an essential aspect of Wikipedia, but there are guidelines on their density (roughly not more than one per line, or 10% of the words). There are quite a lot of links at the opening, and I wonder whether some of the years could be delinked, since they are hardly focused on the topic. The advantage would be that the text is easier to read with fewer links. I wonder about mathematics and violin; starting to look like a dictionary. Tony 12:34, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Again, I agree. I do think the article has become somewhat overlinked. Be bold! --RobertGtalk 14:27, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Early years: perhaps it would be kinder to the uninitiated to avoid using 'Germany', 'Russia', and 'Prussian forces' in the same sentence. 'Prussian' is likely to confuse. Tony 12:34, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

An alternative doesn't immediately spring to mind. Have you a suggestion? --RobertGtalk 14:27, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

At the opening, I'd like to see a statement giving the reader a sense of L's achievement in relation to music in the twentieth century. Tony 12:34, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

The international recognition and also the implicit demand for major compositions for important figures are already there. What else did you have in mind? Do you see anything in the main article which could be summarised to give what you suggest? --RobertGtalk 14:27, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

I wonder whether the section on 'Lutosławski's family' can be merged with the next section on 'Early years'. Perhaps these sections could be slightly shorter as well. Tony 12:34, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Perhaps you're right. I'll take a look. The "Lutosławski's family" section began as a couple of context-setting sentences! Much of it is not appropriate for the Early years section because it's about what happened before that! --RobertGtalk 14:27, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Robert—I've made some changes pursuant to some of the points above; see what you think. As well, I'm concerned that the biography is in too much detail; you have to scroll down a long way to get to what's important: the music. Can you see any scope for trimming the biographical details here and there? Tony 23:20, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Good. I accept there may be a little too much biographical detail for perfect balance (my personal style is a little more succinct), but it was partly a result of the Peer review, and I don't see where to trim without compromising that. Also, there is necessarily some discussion of the music in with the biography. --RobertGtalk 16:50, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

Is it possible to find a photo of one of his scores? It would be valuable to give the readers an idea of just how innovative his style, and the related notation, was. Also beautiful visually. Tony 23:52, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

I will ask some experts on fair use, and perhaps upload a photo if I have time to take one: I agree that a photo of, say, the climax of his 2nd symphony would be an excellent addition if it is not considered a copyvio. --RobertGtalk 16:50, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

My preference is for a photo from Symphony No. 3, or Chain 2 or 3; but any example of his later scores would be just excellent. Tony 01:33, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

Your suggestion of what not to do with the 'landed gentry' link is just what I have done; sorry, but don't you prefer it now? Tony 23:54, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Yes I do, strangely enough! --RobertGtalk 16:50, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

Robert, I wonder whether all works cited in the text could be referred to by their formal name (unless perhaps repeated soon after, where a less formal abbreviation is OK), and in italic? I'm thinking of Symphony No. 3, and the Concerto for ...., etc. Tony 01:33, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

See format standards: it is not done to put, say, "Symphony No. 3" or "Concerto for Orchestra" in italics. There are small inconsistencies in the article (for instance I notice "Third Symphony" is capitalised once only) which I may get round to looking at. Otherwise, if you want it to state the formal title at first mention, I have no objection. --RobertGtalk 06:01, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

The discussion at that link isn't very clear, in my view, and is only in the discussion section of the manual of style. Perhaps we need to look at this issue when the article is ready. Tony 10:11, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

I have seen many Wikipedians removing unnecessary italics from generic titles like symphony on the strength of it, and they are unlikely to take kindly to being told to put them all back! Perhaps the manual of style needs updating to reflect the discussion? (The argument about italics not being necessary round symphonies, concertos etc. makes sense to me, although I haven't thought about it too deeply.) I still don't have any objection whatever to your suggestion of stating the title formally ("Symphony No. 1" rather than "first symphony") at its first mention. --RobertGtalk 17:01, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

I'm concerned about the music section at the end; it's rather short, and might be better before the biography. Could be possible? Tony 10:11, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

This is the first time I remember anyone making this comment; indeed on peer review the biography was expanded and no-one mentioned the music! No other Wikipedia composer article I know of discusses the music before the biography; the music usually requires some biography, sometimes even history, for its context. I really don't want to start making wholesale changes to the structure of the article, particularly since the structure has had positive reviews in the ongoing FAC.
I agree there could be more discussion of the music, but before expanding those sections I would have to get back into Lutosławski mode (it's some while since I rewrote the article now, and I've been in Messiaen mode since then), and do some thinking and some more research, which I don't have time or the inclination for just now (and I don't currently have access to my references, anyway). It would help if you could jot down here any concrete suggestions for points you would like to see discussed. Anyone else have a view? --RobertGtalk 17:01, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

Recast of intro

Tony, I think you've needlessly "cut" the intro. He "rose from making a living by playing the piano in bars to be the pre-eminent musician of his country" gives a false impression: on the contrary, he and Panufnik were reduced to making a living playing piano in bars by wartime deprivation; if it hadn't been for the war, L. would have been studying in Paris. Why remove his formative struggle with Soviet Realism during the Soviet era from the intro? He was a notable pianist as a student, but he never pursued it; he was mainly (only?) a noted conductor of his own works. I've taken action on the pianist/conductor points, but I want to understand your reasons for the other changes before doing any more. --RobertGtalk 15:47, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

Robert, glad you fixed the piano and conducting bit. I think the first paragraph should give a bird's-eye view of just the really really important things, and nothing else. So there were three problems, in my view: (1) it didn't place him immediately as a great composer, (2) it included (and still includes) information that is too detailed for an opening, whereas I think it should merely prepare the reader for the greater level of detail in the body of the article, and (3) a couple of big-picture statements lacked brief but essential details.

Thus, I was trying to paint his career in one sentence (or two, if unavoidable) in terms of his overall rise and uniqueness: just about every composer in the last 150 years has studied at a conservatoire, so that could be left to (and is currently treated in) the biography. (If it had been retained, it probably should have specified the Warsaw C, but I think it's better dropped.) However, making a living in a bar is not universal, is interesting, and is related to his stylistic development; so I left that in. If the bit about honours and prizes is retained, can we specify them here? ... was awarded numerous prestigious prizes, including the ... and the ... I'd like to argue that the bit about dying suddenly from cancer be dropped from the opening—heck, lots of us do that; it's kind of private, and doesn't help the reader to understand the phenomenon of the great man. I'd like to add a sentence early in the paragraph about his stylistic influence. That should fill it out. What sayest thou? Tony 01:08, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

Ah, I see - we're coming from different angles. The question is "what is the purpose of the lead section?" I subscribe to the view that "the lead should briefly summarize the most important points covered in an article in such a way that it could stand on its own as a concise version of the article". I think for music articles the lead section should be a precis such as one might encounter in a 500-page dictionary of music & musicians. How it was before reflects this view (although it admittedly was capable of improvement!): a paragraph of potted biography, a paragraph about his music. How it is now reflects your view. What shall we do? --RobertGtalk 09:16, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

Are our views very different? Can't it be both? Tony 11:08, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

You're right. (Also I missed your edit summary: "work in progress".) On reflection I agree with your points above, although I think you stripped a little too much out. I think two paragraphs would be better as there is a natural break before the intro's discussion of his music. I think the Soviet proscription is important enough to be in the intro; I've tried to give the "piano in bars" bit more context. --RobertGtalk 11:45, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

Robert, how about this opening (first the existing one, then below, a possible recasting that ?takes the best of both of our ideas):


Witold Lutosławski (January 25 1913February 7 1994) was one of the major European composers of the 20th century, and possibly the most significant Polish composer since Chopin. Lutosławski studied piano and composition in Warsaw. During World War II he made a living by playing the piano in bars. In the late 1940s and early 1950s his music was banned as formalist by the Stalinist authorities. He became the pre-eminent musician of his country in the last few decades of the century, and was presented with a large number of international honours, awards and prizes. In the 1980s, Lutosławski was a staunch supporter of the Solidarność movement, which in 1989 won the legislative election and broke the Soviet hold over Poland. He died shortly after being awarded Poland's highest honour.

Lutosławski's early compositions were overtly influenced by folk music; in the late 1950s and early 1960s he developed his own harmonic techniques and started to employ aleatory processes. His works include four symphonies and a Concerto for Orchestra; he also composed concertos and song cycles for renowned musicians including Mstislav Rostropovich, Peter Pears, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. He was also a notable conductor of his own music.


Witold Lutosławski (January 25 1913February 7 1994) was one of the major European composers of the 20th century, and possibly the most significant Polish composer since Chopin. Lutosławski studied piano and composition in Warsaw, and during World War II made a living by playing the piano in bars. His early compositions show the influence of Bartok, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and Polish folk music. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, his music was banned as formalist by the Stalinist authorities. From the late 1950s onwards, he developed his own charactistically dense harmonies and highly innovative aleatoric techniques, in which the rhythmic coordination of parts within an ensemble is subject to an element of chance. It was largely through his strategic use of aleatory that he went on to explore a wide range of rich atmospheric textures, a distinctive feature of his style that was imitated by several other composers.

In the last three decades of the century, he became the pre-eminent musician of his country, and was presented with a large number of international awards and prizes, including Poland's highest honour, the Order of the White Eagle. In the 1980s, he used his stature to support the Solidarność movement, which won the 1989 legislative election and broke the Soviet hold over Poland. His works include five major symphonic works and several concertos and song cycles. He was a notable conductor of his own music.

I propose that the clause '... for renowned musicians including Mstislav Rostropovich, Peter Pears, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau' be left for the detailed sections.

What do you think? Tony 13:09, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, Tony: an improvement, and as we've discussed, I've implemented part of this suggestion. The Bartok influence, while entirely obvious, needs discussion in the main article, as do the Prokofiev and Stravinsky influences (which are less obvious), before they find their way into the intro. I agree with the influence on other composers' styles, but also this should be discussed and exemplified in the main article before going into the intro. --RobertGtalk 10:18, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Suggested improvements

You might want to use "Solidarity," perhaps with its Polish equivalant in parentheses.

Also, I suggest you explain "formalist," which is used in the intro and again in the postwar years paragraph. In the late style paragraph, formalist is finally linked, but the link doesn't help me understand why his music was "banned as formalist." Perhaps if you improve the Formalism (art) stub, you can just link to it in the intro.

I recommend that all of the red links be eliminated, ideally by generating articles (or stubs). Non-encyclopedic people do not need to be linked. Technical terms, however, should either be explained in context or should have links to explanatory articles (especially for us non-musicians). Thanks! Rewster 21:06, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

Thank you Rewster for your helpful suggestions. I did as you suggested for "Solidarity", and linked formalist to Russian Formalism as the most appropriate explanatory article. While I sympathise with the idea that there should be no red links, I do think they perform a useful function as requests for articles. I have removed some red links as unencyclopedic (I don't think there will ever be an article on Lutosławski's mother or his wife) leaving only particularly notable ones; Wicenty Lutosławski for example is in my opinion well worthy of documentation, but I am not planning to start an article about him. There will be no red links when Wikipedia is complete! :-) --RobertGtalk 10:18, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Assessment comment

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Witold Lutosławski/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

needs inline citations --plange 20:20, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Last edited at 20:20, 24 September 2006 (UTC). Substituted at 16:06, 1 May 2016 (UTC)