ROXANNA PANUFNIK (b.1953): Private Joe for Baritone and String Quartet, Canto for Solo Viola, Letters from Burma for Oboe and String Quartet, Hora Bessarabia for Violin and Double Bass, Cantator and Amanda for Bassoon and String Quartet, Second Home for Soprano, Piano and String Quartet, Heartfelt for String Quartet.
Catalogue Number: 06W056
Description: This most attractive disc showcases a wide range of the composer’s output for smaller forces than the choral works for which she is renowned. The varied yet stylistically consistent works share a deep sense of emotional resonance and humanity in an instantly accessible tonal idiom, poetic and imaginatively inventive. Every piece has its own special identity, as often as not with some specific cultural association - the composer’s inspirations are nothing if not eclectic - from the allusions to Burmese traditional music in the four colorful vignettes of dance, history, flowers - and troubled politics - of Burma, to the little sketches of life in the trenches of WWI in bemused letters of young soldiers of forced levity and utter despair intermingled, to the moving 14th-century tragic love story drawing on the warm, inviting melodies of madrigals and the chill austerity of a plainchant chorale. Second Home comprises four repetitions in the form of variations on a gently melancholy Polish folksong; incidentally, but probably not coincidentally, this is one of only two pieces here in which Panufnik fleetingly uses harmonies that resemble her father’s; the string quartet evokes heartbeats in its evocation of a stately Uzbek processional, the quartet imitating the sounds of Uzbek instruments, and in the moving lament for mistreated dancing bears in Bulgaria before the cruel tradition was banned.