Commissioned by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
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).
The work consists of five movements. Of these the main movements are the first (allegro giusto), the third (largo) and the fifth (presto). The second and fourth are but short interludes to be played ad libitum. A short ad libitum section also appears before the end of the last movement.
The three major movements to follow, rhythmically at least, the tradition of pre-classical (18th century) keyboard music. This, however, is no more that an allusion. Harmonically and melodically, Partita clearly belongs to the same group of recent compositions as Symphony no 3 and Chain 1.
Pinchas Zukerman and Marc Neikrug gave the first performance on 18 January 1985 at the Ordway Music Theatre, Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Witold Lutoslawski November 1984