2014 marks the centenary of Andrzej Panufnik and many exciting events will taking place throughout the year. Leading orchestras, conductors, chamber groups and soloists and radio stations in several countries and continents are planning Panufnik performances, education events and lectures which will be announced on the dedicated centenary page.
The London Symphony Orchestra will start off the British celebrations of Panufnik’s Centenary on 5th February 2014, with two works including his much-loved 3rd symphony, Sinfonia Sacra. The LSO will also perform his music in London and in Poland in October 2014.
On 27th February 2014 Vadim Repin will perform Panufnik’s Violin Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Polish celebrations of his Centenary start a few days earlier with the Juventis Orchestra on 1st February 2014 in Warsaw with his Piano Concerto.
There are many more great Panufnik Centenary events yet to be announced, and a detailed programme will be published on this site. To publish news of your Panufnik Centenary concerts on this website please contact Emma Kerr at Boosey & Hawkes London: email@example.com
Two more brand-new recordings from the excellent CPO series of Panufnik works, superbly conducted by Łukasz Borowicz, are out now: Symphonic Works 6, Speranza, which includes Panufnik’s 9th symphony, Sinfonia di Speranza, alongside Concertino for Timpani, Percussion and Strings performed again by Konzerthausorchestra Berlin with soloists Michael Oberaigner and Christian Löffler.
Symphonic Works 7, Sfere, contains Panufnik’s 5th symphony, Sinfonia do Sfere, Bassoon Concerto, Lovesong and Landscape, performed by Konzerthausorchestra Berlin and Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra with soloists Michael von Schönermark and Sarah van der Kemp.
“(The series) reveals 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 under Łukasz Borowicz suggest that the series will be well worth following.” Andrew Clements, The Guardian
“Collectors will need little persuading to add this title to their collections, and the performances are every bit up to the expected standard… another richly rewarding journey.” MusicWeb-International.com
“Many wonderful, evocative moments.” ConcertoNet.com
Listen and buy links in the Discography page
Two Andrzej Panufnik works, Tragic Overture and Lullaby, were performed to great critical acclaim in the BBC Prom on 23rd August 2013. It was the Prom debut of Poland’s Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Antoni Wit as a climax to his many years as Music Director of this famous Polish Orchestra.
Tragic Overture, a dramatic musical rendering of war and fear, is dedicated to the composer’s brave Underground fighter brother Mirek who died in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. The beautiful, mysterious Lullaby, a short, extremely original work composed in 1945, demonstrates Panufnik’s true place as the father of the Polish avant garde movement. This work caused a stir at its premiere during the 1948 International Festival of Contemporary Music at Scheveningen in Holland: a letter in the Leonard Bernstein archives shows how impressed he was by Panufnik’s work.
A fascinating insight into how Panufnik and fellow composer Witołd Lutosławski helped to lift spirits in the misery of Nazi-controlled, half-starved Warsaw in World War II, broadcast twice on BBC Radio 4 was the winner of the Prix Europa award for the Best Radio Music Documentary in 2012.
Concerts or any large gatherings of Polish people were banned during the war years, but the two young composers were able to play in “artistic cafés”, much appreciated by music-hungry Warsaw inhabitants. They also risked their lives performing in illegal underground concerts for a mixed audience of music lovers and resistance fighters, all of whom faced likely imprisonment or death even for attending. This enthralling programme touched on the post war period also when Nazi domination was succeeded by Communist bullying.
You can listen to the programme, by Falling Tree Productions, here. It will be broadcast again, this time on BBC Radio 3, on December 22nd 2012.
Munich label cpo, currently enjoying its twenty-fifth anniversary, is in the midst of recording and releasing the complete orchestral works of Andrzej Panufnik, all conducted by the young Polish star Łukasz Borowicz, chief conductor of the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra. The first three recordings were made on home ground, the next three with Berlin’s Konzerthausorchester. So far four highly acclaimed CDs have been released, with the fifth, including Metasinfonia, Sinfonia Votiva and Concerto Festivo, is to be released on December 3rd 2012.
All issues available as MP3 download and CD. To preview these recordings please go to the Current Releases page.
“…this new version rivals any other… the strings of the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra are taut and exciting, and the conductor Łukasz Borowicz shows himself to be an ideal interpreter of this music…. (an) outstanding Panufnik snapshot.” 5/5 John Allison, BBC Music Magazine
A dramatic new ballet with the Polish National Ballet choreographed by Emil Wesołowski and conducted by Jakub Chrenowicz has been premièred with four performances in Warsaw in April 2012.
Cain and Abel uses Panufnik’s Rhapsody, the third vision of Sinfonia Sacra and Tragic Overture in a version adapted by Panufnik himself for Sir Kenneth MacMillan in 1969. It is the latest of several ballets choreographed to Panufnik’s music following in the footsteps of great choreographers including MacMillan, Martha Graham, Krzysztof Pastor, David Bintley, Gerald Arpino. For news of further performances contact Teatr Wielki, Warsaw.
You can see a short excerpt of the ballet here.
My Father, The Iron Curtain and Me (Polish title Tata zza żelaznej kurtyny), a joint commission by the European Broadcasting Union, BBC and Poland’s TVP, is a deeply moving film following Panufnik’s artist and record producer son, Jem, as he traces his father’s footsteps and attempts to discover how he coped with the severe conditions and restrictions imposed on him through the long years of Nazi occupation and then in Soviet-controlled Warsaw.
Directed by Krzyzstof Rzączyński, the programme won first prize at last year’s prestigious NURT Documentary Festival, as well as being shortlisted for the History Makers Award 2011 in New York.
You can see a recently broadcast interview with the director (in Polish) with clips of the film here.
Composer and numismatist Paweł Łukaszewski has produced a series of coins celebrating Polish-born composers of religious music, and is commemorating Andrzej Panufnik, whose ecclesiastical works include his Song to the Virgin Mary to an ancient Latin text of Polish origin, and one of his most famous works, Sinfonia Sacra, which celebrates 1,000 years of Catholicism in Poland. For more information please go to Mennica Kresowa.
The LSO-Panufnik Young Composers Project is a highly successful scheme developed from Panufnik’s stated belief that composers need a form of apprenticeship in order to be able to compose with maximum quality for the greatest musicians and finest symphony orchestras of the world. Developed by the London Symphony Orchestra together with Panufnik’s widow, Camilla Jessel Panufnik, this prestigious opportunity is offered annually to talented young composers from classical, jazz and other musical backgrounds, started in 2005, and is now supporting 6 new selected composers resident in Britain in developing their skills and getting to understand the workings of one of the world’s great orchestras.
With the support of the Helen Hamlyn Trust, 45 talented composers have benefited from the scheme, with commissions from many orchestras as well as invaluable know-how. The LSO considers this one of its “flagship” education projects. Competition to be one of the annual six is now very strong, with 110 applicants this year.
You can watch a film about the scheme here.