Friday, December 09, 2005

Living in perfect Panufnik musical moments

People often look baffled when I reply "Panufnik" when they ask me who is my favorite composer. Depending on the situation, I explain quickly or more in depth, that Andrzej Panufnik is not only my favorite but one of the most talented composers of the 20th Century.

Let's hear some of the last movement of Panufnik's Violin Concerto. This excerpt shows the symetry of Panufnik - the orchestra slows down as the solo violin plays the melody and then returns, speeding up. (listen first to the melody, then go back and listen for the "clicks" (col legno - literally with the wood of the bow) as they slow down, the solo part continues, then the clicks come back in, speeding up.)
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A perfect polacca.

Next is the Hommage a Chopin, in his arrangement for Flute and strings. We begin with the second movement and a funny half step passage (which is hidden by them in different octaves - highly original!) and the return of the melody (a folk tune near the village where Chopin was born.)
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Original and very thoughtful.

Next the third movement is very quiet and sparse. First the flute takes the melody, then takes on the accompaniment. We'll hear the last phrase of the melody and then the first phrase of the accompaniment.
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Lyric and linear.

Finally, Panufnik's brillant Concerto Festivo - written for the London Symphony. This is one of my all time favorite works. You are getting just a sample here, I encourage you to seek out the entire piece (score and recording!)
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Brassy and classy!

After the fanfare and joyous music comes a much softer section. This is the most sublime music I know. The strings are linked with percussion to the woodwinds. The effect builds and grows.
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Drifting and uplifting.

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