Author Topic: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)  (Read 14037 times)

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Offline Maciek

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Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« on: April 18, 2007, 11:46:37 AM »
I will be moving on to other nationalities later (or maybe not, why disappoint my "fans"?) but right now I'm only about halfway through my basic list of Polish composers. So here's another one.



He was a concert pianist as a young man, and played in a piano duet with Witold Lutoslawski during World War II (Lutoslawski's Paganini Variations were written then). In 1954 he left Poland for good (he lived in England for the rest of his life), and his name was on the censor's index until 1977.

Generally I'm not too fond of his music (I find it too contrived) but I do have a soft spot for two pieces: Autumn Music (1962) and Lullaby (1947).

Maciek
« Last Edit: April 18, 2007, 03:19:16 PM by MrOsa »

Robert

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2007, 09:20:25 PM »
I will be moving on to other nationalities later (or maybe not, why disappoint my "fans"?) but right now I'm only about halfway through my basic list of Polish composers. So here's another one.



He was a concert pianist as a young man, and played in a piano duet with Witold Lutoslawski during World War II (Lutoslawski's Paganini Variations were written then). In 1954 he left Poland for good (he lived in England for the rest of his life), and his name was on the censor's index until 1977.

Generally I'm not too fond of his music (I find it too contrived) but I do have a soft spot for two pieces: Autumn Music (1962) and Lullaby (1947).

Maciek
I happen to like this chap.. I like the following:
Arbor Cosmica
Sinfonia Sacra
Piano Concerto
Violin Concerto
Suite of ancient Polish air and dances
Autumn Music
Heroic overture
Nocturne
Sinfonia Rustica
Tragic Overture
« Last Edit: April 18, 2007, 09:26:16 PM by Robert »

Offline Thom

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2007, 01:47:24 AM »
I agree with Robert. A charming disc is "Homage to Polish Music" on Naxos (but maybe it is the same as Robert's 'Suite of ancient Polish air and dances'). His Sinfonia Sacra is an impressive work.

X

Harry

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2007, 01:51:58 AM »
Could I have some general idea of what his music sounds like, and pointers towards what to listen, which performances! :)

Offline MDL

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2007, 01:56:47 AM »
I only have one Panufnik CD, but it's a cracker.

Panufnik - Sinfonia mistica; Sinfonia di sfere
 
« Last Edit: April 19, 2007, 01:59:33 AM by MDL »

Offline Thom

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2007, 01:58:57 AM »
I quote from the AllMusic database:

---------------------
AllClassicalGuide:

Sir Andrzej Panufnik
Birth Sep 24, 1914 in Warsaw
Death Oct 27, 1991 in Twickenham
Period Years Active
Modern 1934-1991

Biography by Roy Brewer
Andrzej Panufnik was living proof that genius is exportable. Without compromising his Polish roots, he became a British citizen, and eventually reached full stature as a composer in his adopted country, but it was not an easy transition.

Son of a leading violinmaker, he studied with Sikorski at the Warsaw Conservatory and Weingartner in Vienna. After the Nazi invasion of Poland, he kept the creative spark alive in the Polish underground, where he became a friend of Witold Lutoslawski and was conductor of the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra from 1945 to 1946. His first serious work, the Tragic Overture, composed in 1944, was followed in 1949 by Homage to Chopin, for soprano and piano (or — an early example of Panufnik's readiness to encourage freedom of musical expression — for flute and strings).

By 1954, Panufnik was Poland's leading composer, but Russian domination was making artistic freedom impossible; in 1956, while on a recording trip to Switzerland, he boarded a flight to London with no intention of returning to his native country. For some years, he was treated coldly by the British musical intelligentsia. His style was neither traditionally tonal nor fashionably serial; but it certainly sounded "un-British," and for nine years, none of his music was broadcast by the BBC. (American audiences were to prove more responsive).

At his home in Twickenham near the River Thames, Panufnik continued to work on symphonies constructed from small cells of two or three notes arranged in geometric forms, somewhat akin to Webern. By the end of his life, Panufnik had written ten symphonies, including Sinfonia Elegiaca, premiered in Boston in 1957 by Stokowski.

Much of his work reflects the sufferings of the war and its aftermath. It is easy to see why Panufnik would not have survived as an artist under a Stalinist dictatorship. The composer exacted his own bleak revenge: Katyn Epitaph (again premiered by Stokowski in 1968) exposed the massacre of 15,000 Polish officers executed on Stalin's orders. Sinfonia Votiva (premiered in Boston by Seiji Ozawa in 1982) celebrates the popular uprising against Communist rule in the form of a votive offering to the "black Madonna," a statue in Gdansk where the first blows for Polish freedom were struck. After the solo cadenza that opens the Violin Concerto written in 1972 for Yehudi Menuhin, the soloist is (unusually) allowed to decide both the tempo and overall interpretation of the whole work, perhaps yet another symbol of the freedom Panufnik had demonstrated by his own self-exile.

After the collapse of Communism in Poland, Panufnik's reputation there was quickly re-established, and his music became part of the militant modernism for which the country was noted in the liberalization that followed. In Britain, where he conducted the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from 1957 to 1959, his music was gradually becoming better-known, with performances in London of the Symphony of the Spheres (1976) and Ninth Symphony (1987). The Tenth Symphony was premiered in Chicago in 1990.

When his last work, a cello concerto written for Rostropovich, was played in London in 1990, Panufnik had achieved full recognition in his adopted country. In 1987, he wrote a revealing biography called Composing Myself.
-------------------------

Indeed his music is often coloured by strong rhythms and Polish folksongs. The melodic material is often a repetition of the same four-note cell, he had a tendency to build pieces from similarly limited material.
Dark moods prevail, I think.

X

Harry

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2007, 02:06:22 AM »
Well my friend you gave me a piece of info to digest, so thank you again. I keep doing that me thinks ;D
But I am not sure if this composer is my cup of tea, so is there a sort of compilation disc to find out?

Offline Maciek

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2007, 02:19:21 AM »
Harry, I think you would like him. He is not atonal in the  >:D atonal >:D style. It's rather an 0:) atonal 0:) style - very easily digestable.

I'd recommend the Tragic Overture, Autumn Music and Piano Concerto as good entry points. Definitely steer away form the Violin and Cello Concertos until you know you like his style. Some of the Symphonies are quite good but they're usually quite long, so it may be better to start somewhere else. I can't recommend any recordings, the ones I have are all out of print or even never-had-been-in-print ;D.

Maciek

Offline Thom

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2007, 02:24:57 AM »
I can recommend the cd on the Unicorn-Kanchana label (UKCD 2020) from, I think, 1989 with:

Concertino Festivo
Landscape
Katyn Epitaph
Concertino
Sinfonia Sacra

Panufnik himself is conducting the Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra. Not sure though whether this disc is still available or not.

X

Harry

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2007, 02:30:08 AM »
Harry, I think you would like him. He is not atonal in the  >:D atonal >:D style. It's rather an 0:) atonal 0:) style - very easily digestable.

I'd recommend the Tragic Overture, Autumn Music and Piano Concerto as good entry points. Definitely steer away form the Violin and Cello Concertos until you know you like his style. Some of the Symphonies are quite good but they're usually quite long, so it may be better to start somewhere else. I can't recommend any recordings, the ones I have are all out of print or even never-had-been-in-print ;D.

Maciek

Thank you Maciek, I will compile a list, and put those works on it.
It will certainly give me a insight into this composer. :)

Harry

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2007, 02:31:10 AM »
I can recommend the cd on the Unicorn-Kanchana label (UKCD 2020) from, I think, 1989 with:

Concertino Festivo
Landscape
Katyn Epitaph
Concertino
Sinfonia Sacra

Panufnik himself is conducting the Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra. Not sure though whether this disc is still available or not.

X

I will look around and see what is available, and if I find something I will post it here, and ask for advice!

Harry

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2007, 02:37:20 AM »
Four I found, plus one already recommended before, so I will not post that one.

Harry

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2007, 02:38:50 AM »
And two more, so advise would be appriciated. :)

Offline Maciek

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2007, 02:41:45 AM »
The Piano Concerto I have is also with Ewa Poblocka (but different conductor ;D). She is excellent!!!

Harry

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2007, 02:52:52 AM »
The Piano Concerto I have is also with Ewa Poblocka (but different conductor ;D). She is excellent!!!

Fine, on the list then! :)

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2007, 03:10:13 AM »
EMI have recently reissued this excellent introduction from old Unicorn recordings.  Both symphonies are excellent;

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Panufnik-Sinfonia-concertante-rustica-sacra/dp/B000E5L84S/ref=pd_bowtega_1/026-5773581-7374844?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1176984488&sr=1-1
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Harry

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2007, 06:00:48 AM »

Robert

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2007, 06:11:28 AM »
Could I have some general idea of what his music sounds like, and pointers towards what to listen, which performances! :)

Good Morning Harry,

His music typically alternates between quiet and loud, slow and fast, meditative and exuberant....I cannot say it will be all to you liking. I would try the following three pieces to get an idea if he is your cup of tea...
Sinfonia Sacra
Heroic overture
Tragic overture

Robert

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2007, 06:14:56 AM »
I can recommend the cd on the Unicorn-Kanchana label (UKCD 2020) from, I think, 1989 with:

Concertino Festivo
Landscape
Katyn Epitaph
Concertino
Sinfonia Sacra

Panufnik himself is conducting the Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra. Not sure though whether this disc is still available or not.

X
If you can find UKCD 2016 it has Sacra, Heroic and Tragic conducted by Horenstein which I would highly rec....

Harry

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Re: Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991)
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2007, 06:16:55 AM »
Good Morning Harry,

His music typically alternates between quiet and loud, slow and fast, meditative and exuberant....I cannot say it will be all to you liking. I would try the following three pieces to get an idea if he is your cup of tea...
Sinfonia Sacra
Heroic overture
Tragic overture

Good morning my friend, afternoon for me! ;D
I will make a selection of all what is on offer, and then we will hear what it is all about.
Thanks Robert! :)