A Panufnik: Symphonic Works

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COMPOSERS: A Panufnik
LABELS: CPO
WORKS: Symphonic Works, Vol. 2: Sinfonia Rustica; Sinfonia Concertante for Flute, Harp and Strings (Symphony No. 4); Polonia Suite; Lullaby
PERFORMER: Lukasz Dlugosz (flute), Anna Sikorzak-Olek (harp),; Polish Radio SO/ Lukasz Borowicz
CATALOGUE NO: CPO 777 496-2

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Entitled Polonia, this second disc in CPO’s planned complete edition of Andrzej Panufnik’s symphonic works takes its name from the suite the composer wrote early into his English exile.

Inspired by conducting Elgar’s noble symphonic prelude of the same name, Panufnik based his work (1959) on more vigorous folk sources, and four of its five movements are colourful dances. Only the ‘Song of the Vistula’, tracing the river’s flow from the mountains to the sea, suggests the quiet contemplation of exile.

Polonia contains some of Panufnik’s most populist music, but the Sinfonia Rustica (Symphony No. 1) also makes a very attractive introduction to the composer’s work.

Folk sources were again used, this time peasant paper-cut art, and the symmetrical layout of the orchestra reflects this. Composed in Warsaw in 1948, the work was revised in London in 1955, and as a ‘bonus track’ this disc includes the longer, original slow movement.

The Sinfonia Concertante (Symphony No. 4) for flute, harp and strings is well represented on disc, yet this new version rivals any other. As heard at the outset of the Molto ritmico movement, the lower strings of the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra are taut and exciting, and the conductor ukasz Borowicz shows himself to be an ideal interpreter of this music.

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The earliest work here, the Lullaby of 1947, completes this outstanding Panufnik snapshot. John Allison