Mini Overture for Brass Quintet




Witold Lutoslawski (1913-1994)

Composer Information

Witold Lutosławski showed his prodigious musical and intellectual talent very soon in life. He  studied  at  the  Warsaw  Conservatory  (1932-37)  and  soon  made  his  mark  as  a  pianist  and  composer. Witold Lutoslawski is known primarily for his orchestral works, which have established him as one of the twentieth century's major compositional voices; along the way, though, he wrote some important chamber works, and a collection of miniatures. Lutosławski’s greatest contribution was his development of aleatoric techniques, whereby certain details of pitch and timing were left to the discretion of performers. His symphonies and concertos, enriched by nuanced layering that could never have been notated precisely, remain pillars of twentieth century modernism.  


Chester Music





Ranking Position



Brass Collection by Simon Wright, John Wallace & The Wallace Collection: Collins Classics, 1991.

Music for Brass Quintet by Berlin Brass Quintet: Betont, 2017.

Music for Brass Ensemble by Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble: Australian Broadcast Coorportation, 1994.


Types of Instruments/Mutes

All but tuba need mutes.

Final Considerations

The following is extracted from a note by Philip Jones: “This work was a birthday present from Witold Lutosławski to Philip Jones' wife Ursula and was given its first performance in her home town Lucerne, Switzerland in March 1982 by the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble.”


Despite its brevity this is a fully characteristic Lutosławski piece, with its detailed structure and its sensitivity to timbre and nuance.  Fashioned into a tiny sonata form this piece uses two, compact and contrasting themes: the first is propulsive and long-limbed, while the more tranquil second theme area is formed in a layered manner from a single motif. There are three short sections (but no break), the third being a further development of the first; the second is slightly slower and strongly contrasting in texture. The notation in compound meter poses the biggest challenge for this piece.