Novelette for orchestra
The form of Novelette resembles that of Livre pour orchestre: several short movements, the Announcement and three Events, lead to the larger finale, the Conclusion. The content of the Events is announced in the first movement, hence its title. From sharp chords of the orchestra several musical ideas emerge: the violins’ “sliding” sounds and declamatory melody, birdsong motifs of the piccolos, intermittent tapping of the xylophone and falling figures of the woodwinds. In the Announcement’s last section, the xylophone and flute motifs are heard simultaneously – the former in the clarinets and bassoons, the latter in the brass – while the strings carry a new idea: a characteristic “step-like” phrase with repeated notes. These ideas return before the beginning of the Conclusion, with the exception of the first one The initial Event is based on this “step-like” figure in the strings, followed by the birdsong motif of the flute, while figures presented by the woodwinds fall as they did in the introduction. The third Event uses the xylophone motif, taken by the French horns and strings, and falling sound formulas of the wind section.
The Conclusion is based almost entirely on new motifs and is linked to the preceding movements by other elements, primarily by the choice of chords. The exception is a return of the introduction’s sharp sounds at the end of the work. An important element in this movement is a long, meandering melody of the violins, accompanied by vigorous figures in the woodwinds with the percussion and two harps. As the melody develops, the music becomes increasingly dramatic. A series of contrasting episodes leads to a climax followed by a discreet “kicking around”, as usual with Lutosławski. In Novelette, this is achieved with capricious melodies spun by two oboes, two clarinets and two bassoons with marimba and xylophone. After a short pause, orchestral chords emphatically close the work.