Chester Music is the publisher of this work in all territories except Poland, Albania, Bulgaria, China, countries of the former Czechoslovakia, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, Romania, Hungary and the whole territory of the former USSR, where the copyright is held by Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne (PWM).
This work was written in 1979 at the request of the late Janet Craxton as a memorial to her husband Alan Richardson and was first performed by Janet Craxton and Ian Brown in 1980.
Epitaph is the result of a master working in miniature. Whilst never forgetting the intimate nature of his commission, Lutoslawski paints a startling array of colour and emotion within a simple but strictly organized structure. The elegiac opening phrase of the oboe, repeated on four occasions, dominates the mood of the work. After each repetition, the secondary, contrasting material is developed in increasingly adventurous fashion. Employed here are some of the new oboe sounds discovered in the contemporary Double Concerto and also other older techniques involving a certain freedom of synchronization between the players. The piano, prompting, colouring and responding to the oboe throughout, is the perfect partner.
© 1982 James Rushton