(4 out of 5 stars)
"This CD, the last in Naxos's survey, starts off with the "Three Postludes", written just after his "Funeral Music". They were composed in a transitional period, when Lutoslawski was trying to adapt the techniques used in his "Funeral Music" to a full orchestra. Lutoslawski was apparently unsatisfied with the result, and did not encourage their performance. I can understand his problems with the second and third, but the first is a fine piece that I listen to often. It has a very dramatic climax, and a variety of inventive sound effects as often found in later works. The next work, the Preludes and Fugue for 13 solo strings, is certainly one of the most "difficult" Lutoslawski works I have yet to encounter. The first prelude is reasonable enough, but I quickly get lost in the remaining six. The fugue, clocking in at 17 minutes, lost me after about the first minute on the first several listens. It's certainly a far cry from traditional, academic fugal writing, as seen in previous eras and even Shostakovich's set in the 20th century. Basically, it appears to consist of strong, emotional statements of the "subject" (four notes and a glissando) interspersed with long "cloud" sections constructed from large note clusters. Though difficult, the fugue did grow on me after repeated listens. Like many Lutoslawski works, it rewards repeated listening.The five remaining works are fanfares and occasional pieces lasting altogether about 7 minutes. Though some of these are as short as 30 seconds, they are all very fun, cool pieces, packing highly dramatic gestures and compelling writing. Though I certainly wouldn't recommend this as anyone's first Lutoslawski CD, Lutoslawski fans will probably want it for the fanfares if nothing else. Performances are generally good."