Warsaw Variations: Lutosławski and Panufnik BBC Radio 4 programme wins International Award

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.