• Panufnik in Warsaw (Aug-Sept)

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 10.38.26A phone call today from the director of the ‘Chopin and his Europe’ festival in Warsaw has alerted me to a raft of Panufnik performances that this imaginative festival is including this year.  Lutosławski was similarly honoured by the festival on his centenary last year.  In May I wrote a post here, Panufnik Centenary, giving some details of the worldwide coverage of his music in 2014.  Last week, BBC Music Magazine published my profile of Panufnik, ‘Poland’s Great Exile’ (its subtitle, not mine), in its regular ‘Composer of the Month’ slot.

I’ll pass over the loss, in the editing of the article, of my comment that the BBC Proms have ignored the Panufnik centenary.  And it remains the case that there are rather large repertoire gaps elsewhere in the centenary celebrations, such as the continuing absence of four of the symphonies (an improvement on the situation in May; see next paragraph).  Even the ‘Warsaw Autumn’, which reintroduced Panufnik’s music onto Polish concert platforms in 1977 (after a gap of 23 years following his escape to the UK) – and programmed eleven of his works when Panufnik visited Poland for the first and only time in 1990, is not marking the centenary.  It is a bit perplexing that it has passed up this opportunity to celebrate its key role.  It is, however, providing an umbrella for a three-day conference ‘Andrzej Panufnik i jego wizja muzyki’ (Andrzej Panufnik and his Vision of Music’, 24-26 September), which the Chopin Music University has organised.  The conference also includes a series of chamber concerts outside the ‘Warsaw Autumn’ programme.

The day after the ‘Warsaw Autumn’ ends, Polish Radio is hosting a concert of Panufnik’s orchestral music which plugs two earlier gaps in the celebrations: the orchestral Nocturne and Sinfonia rustica, both works dating from the late 1940s. The programme is completed by the Cello Concerto, played by Raphael Wallfisch.  The conductor is Łukasz Borowicz, whose recently completed 8-CD set of Panufnik recordings is a dynamic survey of the orchestral music.

It has been left to other festivals to provide audiences with cross-sections of Panufnik’s music, and two of these take place this month.  The Presteigne Festival in mid-Wales is one, and I posted on its repertoire in May: Poles in Presteigne.  The Panufnik component in Warsaw’s ‘Chopin and his Europe’ is as follows:

• Twelve Miniature Studies for piano (Cycle of Fifths) (1947)
• Piano Concerto (1961)
• Violin Concerto (1971)
• Sinfonia concertante for flute, harp and strings (Symphony no.4) (1973)
• String Quartet no. 1 (1976)
• String Quartet no.2 ‘Messages’ (1980)
• Arbor cosmica for strings (1983)
• String Sextet ‘Train of Thoughts’ (1987)
• Symphony no.10 (1988)
• String Quartet no.3 ‘Wycinanki’ (1990)
• Cello Concerto (1991)

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