PANUFNIK Symphony No 9. Bassoon Concerto

Author: 
Marc Rochester
HTGCD266. PANUFNIK Symphony No 9. Bassoon Concerto

PANUFNIK Symphony No 9. Bassoon Concerto

  • Symphony No. 9, `Sinfonia della Speranza'
  • Concerto for Bassoon and String Orchestra

Marking the centenary of Sir Andrzej Panufnik’s birth, these recordings, originally made by the BBC in 1987, offer a double insight into the composer. We have his own interpretations of two key works, each preceded by his spoken commentary. Both works were inspired by contemporary events – events which are rapidly becoming obscured by the mists of time – so it is good to experience directly his very personal response to what was happening back in the homeland he had left in 1954.

The recordings certainly show their age but while the sound is often shallow and hard-edged, the profound intensity of the music-making shines through with great potency. That is particularly evident in the Bassoon Concerto. Just as he started work on the Concerto, Panufnik heard of the torture and murder of the priest Father Jerzy Popieuszko and decided to dedicate it to his memory. With its humorous connotations, it might seem risky to use the bassoon as a vehicle to express profound grief but such is the power of Panufnik’s writing that what, in other hands, might sound clownish here evokes almost vocal utterances of pain and sorrow. Thompson clearly understands the emotional significance of the work and, supported by alert and incisive playing from the BBC SO, gives a performance of compelling intensity.

The Ninth Symphony, Sinfonia di Speranza, was composed immediately after the Bassoon Concerto and Panufnik describes it as the concerto’s ‘direct musical and spiritual sequel’. But he also refers to the rainbow as the work’s ‘guiding symbol’, and one thing missing from this performance is colour. We have the detail in black-and-white, as it were, but for all the intensity of his direction, the composer’s vision is significantly undermined by this unsympathetic BBC studio recording.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From £48/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From £48/year
Subscribe
From £48/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From £48/year
Subscribe
From £48/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From £48/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2018