Due to his early orchestral works based on folk music (Symphonic Variations for Orchestra). Witold Lutoslawski is claled the Polish Bartók from time to time. However, perhaps ironically it was in his Musique Funèbre À La Mémoire Béla Bartók (1958) that he truly broke new ground. A radio broadcast of John Cage's Concerto for Piano made a large impression on him. Inspired by him, he decided to give more freedom to the performers in some parts of his compositions. With that, Lutoslawski was settled among the Polish avant-garde in a blow, along with Penderecki and Panufnik. Some large-scale caleidoscopic compositions such as his Second Symphony and his Livre Pour Orchestre made use of a hallucinating richness of sound. In the same time, Lutoslawski composed major vocal cycles, akin to Ravel's and Debussy's music. He continued to refer to the French music tradition by composing in a free, refined style such as in his Paroles Tisées (1965), Les Espaces Du Sommeil (1975) and the charming cycle Chantefleurs Et Chantefables (1990).
György Ligeti is considered as one of the most important representatives of the postwar avant garde, next to Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Luciana Berio and Iannis Xenakis. While the science fiction classic 2001: A Space Oddyssey created publicity for Strauss Also Sprach Zarathustra in particular, most of the impressive music comes from Ligeti's Atmosphères and his Requiem. Ligeti's somber sounds could also be applied to happier things: in his obscene and death-defying opera Le Grand Macabre he would mock the horroreffects of experimental music in a hilarious manner.
Ligeti's maniac experiments often exceeded the human measure (think of his virtuoso Etudes for piano). Perhaps his most consequent work is the purely mechanic Poème Symphonique for 100 ticking metronomes. Legend goes that its première was recorded only to be archived with the note: never to be broadcasted again!