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Panufnik: Symphonic Works Volume 1
Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Lukas Borowicz
This CD marks the beginning of a complete Panufnik Symphonic Works series on CPO.
Andrzej Panufnik, born in Warsaw, enjoyed a successful career as a composer and conductor until he was decreed formalist and decadent by the communists. He fled to England where he was granted political asylum and felt truly at home. During this time his international reputation grew and leading conductors such as Stokowski, Horenstein and Solti performed his works.
“Katyn Epitaph makes a profound impression...the Tragic Overture shows what Panufnik absorbed from his pre-war visit to Vienna and his analysis of the music of Webern...Nothing of its rigour is lost on the impressive young conductor, Lukas Borowicz, who maintains taut control of the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2010 *****
“The sound lacks nothing in spaciousness or immediacy...those yet to encounter Panufnik's music could not have hoped for a more representative introduction.” International Record Review, July/August 2010
“[Katyn Epitaph] is a memorable, spare, desolate eight minutes, pre-empting the mournful minimalism of Gorecki. Tragic Overture demonstrates Panufnik’s typical resourcefulness with a nuggety germinal motif.” Sunday Times, 9th May 2010
“They all reveal the careful craftsmanship and sharp-honed form that characterised Panufnik's work in the sequence of 10 symphonies that are promised from CPO, and the performances from the Polish Radio orchestra under Lukasz Borowicz suggest that the series will be well worth following.” The Guardian, 27th May 2010 ***
BBC Music Magazine
Orchestral Choice - August 2010
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Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991) the most important Polish/British composer of the 20th century and was championed by conductors such as Stokowski, Solti and Ozawa.This new Ondine recording features some of his major works on SACD for the first time.
Panufnik studied composition in Warsaw and Vienna. During Nazi wartime occupation, he performed in piano duo with Witold Lutoslawski. All his early works were tragically lost in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. He escaped from Poland in 1954, when the Communist imposition of Socialist Realism stifled creative freedom, and settled in England after which he 'ceased to exist' in his homeland.
His third symphony, Sinfonia Sacra, won the Prince Pierre de Monaco prize in 1963 and became his most performed score.This CD also contains the first digital recording of the fifth symphony, Sinfonia di Sfere. The extensive booklet contains unpublished photographs from the personal collection of Panufnik's wife, Lady Camilla Jessel Panufnik.
“Panufnik's music has always seemed more elusive than its demonstrable surface suggests. Even the wartime Heroic Overture – a work that plays to the gallery and knows it – has a more sober subtext as the Polish patriotic song on which it's based is secreted in the background. Is its relegation a symbol of repression? Could be, but Panufnik's driving optimism simultaneously transforms his source into a beacon of hope, something to be aspired to at a time of uncertainty.
The Tampere Philharmonic deliver a rhythmically propulsive and dramatically epic performance.
Throughout the disc, the Tampere brass sound has the swank and punch of a big band, while the string-playing is fastidiously nuanced – power-house sheets of sound rain down as required, and pianissimi are acutely hushed. This honed orchestral playing makes for a Sinfoniasacra that's a revelation. Probably Panufnik's most popular symphony, the work begins with brass fanfares embedded with tart harmonic ambiguities that Storgårds has primed with snarling clarity. His sense of pace, as Panufnik strips the orchestra down to strings alone and rebuilds again over a 30-minute duration, has the precision of sonar and supreme dramatic flair.
Panufnik's increasing interest in geometry governed much of the music he wrote in the 1970s, the Sinfonia di sfere included. The beauty of the music became highly objectified, just as his ear for piquant harmonies and idiosyncratic orchestration intensified. A potent combination, equally powerfully in the execution.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“The Tampere Philharmonic under John Storgårds deliver a rhythmically propulsive and dramatically epic performance… Throughout the disc, the Tampere brass sound has the swank and punch of a big band, while the string-playing is fastidiously nuanced…” Gramophone Magazine, November 2007
(also available to download from $10.50)
Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)