Commissioned by Norddeutscher Rundfunkorchester, Hamburg
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 first movement which is subtitled Hesitant comprises a succession of contreasting episodes which are generally fairly lively, punctuated by a recurring slow refrain. This movement merges into a the second which is called Direct and which is in its construction in direct contrast to the first. Although particular phrases or musical episodes can be distinguished here, they are subjugated to the forward motion (direct) which leads to the final conclusion. This contrast seems to me indispensablein a work lasting over half an hour.
The first performance of Direct was given in Hamburg in October 1966 by the Orchestra of the Norddeutscher Rundfunk, conducted by Pierre Boulez. The complete work was given its first performance in June 1967 in Katowice by the Symphony Orchestra of Polish Radio and Television, conducted by myself.
© Witold Lutoslawski