ANDRZEJ PANUFNIK (1914-1991): Symphonic Works, Vol. 8 - Violin Concerto (Alexander Sitkovetsky [violin]), Cello Concerto (Raphael Wallfisch [cello]), Piano Concerto (Ewa Kupiec [piano]).
Catalogue Number: 08Q007
Reference: 777 687-2
Description: The 1961 Piano Concerto is classic Panufnik; it follows a very similar outline to the seminal, stunning Sinfonia Sacra; kinetic, galloping rhythms, goaded into frenzy by pounding tenor and side drums; a slow movement of profound stillness, in ethereal wisps of sound, which in this case resolve into a calm, prayerful chorale in Panufnik's trademark major-minor harmony; and an ecstatic final peroration of transcendent luminosity. The piano writing in the outer movements is Panufnik's version of the traditional virtuoso showpiece. The string concerti were written with specific soloists in mind - Menuhin and Rostropovich - and this is clearly reflected in the dominance of the sustained, melodic solo lines and relatively subdued orchestration. The poetic Violin Concerto is built on major/minor juxtapositions, in ambiguous scales and 'reflected' arpeggios that form mobile, undulating figuration - very typical of the composer, even if the timbres - strings alone - are less so. The lively, dancing finale couldn't be by anyone else. The Cello Concerto was written at the very end of the composer's life, and it is hard not to hear a deeply personal farewell in the elegiac, unbroken thread of strained melody in the first movement, and the withdrawn, autumnal cadenza that makes up almost all of the latter half of the second. A brief, vehement episode of propulsive energy instantly identifies the composer at the start of the second part. Based on the image of two overlapping circles, the work is structured around the palindromic mirror-image geometry that Panufnik used as formal devices in much of his music from the 1970s onward. Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra; Lukasz Borowicz.