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Since I do not like to read reviews that go for longer than necessary, I will try not to write one. I reviewed Vol.3 and can only repeat that the production standards of the CPO label are as good as it gets (and should be, for those who endulge in every aspect pertaining to music.) I also mentioned that some of Panufnik's music became too esoteric and cerebral around the 1960s. Perhaps you need to go to the score; I won't. So, if CPO continues with this superb series, some of those symphonies will come next. Let us see how they come up with a program that is as engaging and varied as the first 4 volumes have been so far!
This Volume 4 is, of course, another winner. Symphonies 2 and 3 are truly superb and both performances and recordings supersede previous available ones (pace, Horenstein). I missed just a bit the outstanding venue of the Polish Radio (best recorded sound I have heard in years) but this one at Berlin Radio is no less than excellent. The surprise for me is Symphony 10 (1988). I was expecting a dud, frankly. But no. This one is concentrated, there is no time to ramble, and the 16+ minute ride remains intriguing. Worth listening to again. And so, I'll stop now.
[Disclaimer: There are many very good reviewers at Amazon who are classically trained and essentially subject matter experts. Me, I'm a layman who's been listening for a few decades and has picked up some understanding along the way. Please take my reviews in that context]
Three interesting symphonies on this disk. I agree with the earlier commentor that the earlier works are Panufnik's most direct and heartfelt, before he went all "music theorist" in the later symphonies... and nos. 2 and 3 here seem more fresh and direct than does 10. Panufnik wrote in neo-romantic style, yes in the 1950s,...I don't know how he accomplished that,..although I guess Piston and Schuman (the guy with the one "n", not the two "n's") also somehow kept the modern classical police at bay. For listeners who like their newer classical music more lyrical than discordant, this might be a composer for you.
Let me just talk about one of the symphonies on the disk:
Symphony #3, titled "Sinfonia Sacra", is composition about war and peace, or the prayer for war and the prayer for peace. Turns out they are one and the same. The ancient hymn in question, the Bogurodzica, is apparently an informal Polish national anthem. It was the first hymn ever to have been sung in the Polish language. Throughout the ages, it had been used in both religious functions and on the battlefield as plea for victory and glory. Talk about a song for all occasions...!!!
At the same time Panufnik was still deeply affected by World War II, in which Poland suffered greatly (the symphony was written in the 1950s). The composer therefore used the hymn which depicted its wildly different uses.Read more ›
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