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.