Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon
worked on this piece from autumn 1944 until the first few months of the
following year in Komorów near Warsaw, where he had managed to go with his
mother before the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944. However, this
grim period had no influence on the nature of the Trio. Composing this
purely “abstract” music must have helped Lutosławski insulate from the sinister late-war reality.
The combination of oboe, clarinet and bassoon is typical of neoclassicism, especially in its Parisian variety. It was used by Jean Françaix, Jacques Ibert, Francis Poulenc and many others, and in Poland under their influence by Grażyna Bacewicz, Michał Spisak, Antoni Szałowski and Stefan Kisielewski. Lutosławski drew on this tradition as well.
The work consists of three parts, the tempos of which make up the classic fast-slow-fast arrangement. The Trio shares with neoclassicism its capricious, motoric rhythm, “angular” shape of melodic lines, spiciness of chords and a conventional way of developing the form. The piece is a link between the Etudes and the series of 50 polyphonic exercises on one hand, and the Overture for Strings and Symphony No. 1 on the other.