• Panufnik Revised: Nocturne & Lullaby (2015)

Panufnik Revised: Nocturne & Lullaby

This article has not been published in any other format.  It was posted on 7 April 2015.

In this second article on Panufnik’s revisions of works written before he left Poland in 1954, I am combining two works from 1947: Nokturn (Nocturne) for orchestra and Kołysanka (Lullaby) for 29 strings and two harps.  The differences between the scores published by PWM in Kraków in 1949 and April 1948 respectively and the revised scores published by Boosey & Hawkes in London in 1956 are quite small but still of interest.  While the autograph of Nocturne has survived in Kraków, the whereabouts of Lullaby‘s autograph are unknown, as far as I am aware.


It seems that, unlike in its edition of Tragic Overture (see the first article in this series), Boosey & Hawkes followed Panufnik’s design principles for Nocturne, much as they were in the original PWM publication, which had been laid out exactly as in Panufnik’s fair copy.  (I say ‘seems’ because I have managed to locate only B&H’s 1971 ‘re-engraved’ edition; its copies file go back only as far as 1976, so I would be very interested to know if anyone has a copy of the first B&H edition of 1956.)  Panufnik’s instrumental abbreviations, and use of a thick horizontal line to indicate a note sustained over several bars, were abandoned, however.  Many of the dashed vertical lines linking different staves were removed, increasing the visual clarity.

There were a couple of more interesting changes.  The first of these was the change of title.  The PWM published score was headed Notturno, not Nokturn or Nocturne (the B&H choice).  Panufnik makes no mention of this substitution in his autobiography, even though he heads the autograph score (below, right) with the Polish, not the Italian, title.  As can be seen, the Polish word for ‘large’ was scrubbed out before publication.

IMG_7204 copyIMG_6202 copyAt the top of the inside title page there is the official stamp giving the go ahead for preparation for publication between the dates of 28 January and 28 April 1949.  It would be unwise to leap to the conclusion that this control system was primarily politically motivated.  In the years of post-war deprivation, all expenditure had to be approved. Had the score come up for publication after the Composers’ Union conference at Łagów in August 1949, when the Deputy Minister of Culture, Włodzimierz Sokorski, deemed it formalistic (although Panufnik’s composer colleagues stood up for it), the story might have been different.

IMG_6207 copy

Modifications to the score itself consisted mainly of dynamics and articulation.  In one place (the pulsing crotchet alternation between figs 11-12), Panufnik did a spot of reinstrumentation, replacing tamburo militare senza corde and gran cassa with tamburo piccolo senza corde and tamburo tenore.  There is one actual cut: he shortened the six-bar passage between figs 9-10 by cutting bb.4-5 (the last two bars in the example below).  This tightened up the transition to the start of the central build-up, but as they are not exactly the same as the neighbouring bars it was not a question of leaving out redundant material.

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 11.44.53Between the composition of Nocturne and its revision in the mid-1950s, Panufnik developed an ambivalence about one of the characteristic expressive traits of his music of the late 1940s, the glissando/portamento.  In Nocturne, these are applied quite liberally where the movement is upward, from the whole-tone intervals in the strings after fig.8 to the intervallically wider trombones at fig.11, the striding horns (and piano) at fig.12 and the flutes and clarinets from fig.13, where Panufnik uses the term ‘chrom.’.  On the other hand, there is one place where he removed the glissandi for B&H, and it is far from obvious why he did so.  This is at fig.4, where the strings are given a broad, sweeping passage.  In the PWM score, the large – and, in this case, descending – intervals are uniformly given glissando/portamento markings.  Perhaps Panufnik, on reflection, thought them too sentimental.  (The blue markings were, as elsewhere, made by an editor or printer at PWM, as were the numerical figures, which measure spacing along the staves ready for engraving.)

IMG_6221 copyThe most telling alteration concerns tempo.  The B&H version adopts a uniform tempo of minim = c.36.  The opening of the PWM score, however, up to fig.7 (also fig.7 in B&H), was markedly faster: minim = c.46.  In the Polish version, the tempo drops to c.36 at fig.7 and maintains this even when the music from the opening section is reeled in at the end.  The estimated duration of the piece increases from c.14′ (PWM) to c.16′ (B&H).

As a footnote, the autograph ends with a date in Panufnik’s hand – (jesień, 1947 r.) (Autumn, 1947) – later crossed out, probably at PWM.  Hitherto, all that was known was that Nocturne had been composed sometime that year.

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The substance of the PWM edition of Lullaby remains in the B&H version, which also follows Panufnik’s ideas for layout.  The tempo is upped marginally from minim = c.28 to = c.30, a mistake in the PWM score is corrected (a wrong note in the violas, three bars before fig.9), etc., but there are no material cuts.

Given that Lullaby is predicated on shimmering, overlapping layers, replete with tremoli and quartertones, it seems strange that Panufnik should cut out some of the details that contributed to this soundworld when he revisited the score for B&H.  With the immediate example of Nocturne in mind, it is perhaps no surprise that any glissando/portamento figure in Lullaby should also be excised.  These changes are apparent at the very opening, from which I have extracted the parts for violins 8-11.  The 1948 original is given above the equivalent passage from the 1956 version.

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• in Violin 8, Panufnik changed the tremolo from semiquaver to demisemiquaver (16th to 32nd notes) and removed senza vibr;
• in Violins 9 & 10, he took out both rising and falling glissandi;
• most interestingly, the pizzicati in Violin 11 came in pairs in the PWM score (at least, that is my interpretation of the two phrased notes – had Panufnik wanted a glissando/portamento shift between the two pitches, the second one not being separately articulated, he would have notated the figure differently); in the B&H version the first of these notes is cut and the second moved to the start of the bar, thereby losing the chromatic colouring as well as the crotchet pulse.

What is interesting about these two scores, and their predecessor Tragic Overture, is that the revisions of the PWM versions mainly concern expressive details.  It would still be fascinating to hear the Polish versions performed, just to hear what impact these changes made.  I suspect that Panufnik lost a little something in his tidying-up, especially in the disappearance of the glissando/portamento figures and in the subtle textures of Lullaby.  In Sinfonia rustica, Symphony of Peace and Heroic Overture – the subjects of the next articles – his revisions were much more radical.

© 2015 Adrian Thomas

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