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Panufnik: Sacra / Symphonies Vol.4 (Sinfonie Elegiaca/ Sinfonia Sacra/ Symphony No. 10) (CPO 777683-2) [CD]

Lukasz Borowicz Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Panufnik: Sacra / Symphonies Vol.4 (Sinfonie Elegiaca/ Sinfonia Sacra/ Symphony No. 10) (CPO 777683-2) + Panufnik: Symphonic Works Vol.2 (Sinfonia Rustica/ Sinfonia Concertante/ Polonia/ Lullaby) + Panufnik: Orchestral Works (Tragic Overture/ Nocturne/ Heroic Overture/ Katyn Epitaph)
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Product details

  • Conductor: Lukasz Borowicz
  • Composer: Andrzej Panufnik
  • Audio CD (28 Nov 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: cpo
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 137,846 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sinfonie Elegiaca (Symphony No. 2) - Konzerthausorchester Berlin
2. Sinfonia Sacra (Symphony No. 3) - Konzerthausorchester Berlin
3. Symphony No. 10 - Konzerthausorchester Berlin

Product Description


The Second and Third symphonies, Sinfonia Elegiaca and Sinfonia Sacra, from 1957 and 1963 respectively, were the first that Andrzej Panufnik composed after settling in Britain in 1954. The slow-fast-slow single-movement Elegiaca, dedicated to the victims of the second world war, recycled material from a Symphony for Peace that Panufnik had withdrawn after its first performance, while the Sacra, with its sequence of three "Visions" and a final Hymn, was dedicated to Panufnik's native Poland on the 1,000th anniversary of the country's conversion to Christianity. As these rather impressively refined performances under Lukasz Borowicz demonstrate, they are both beautifully crafted, contained pieces that never parade their emotional content too conspicuously. They certainly belong to a very different musical world from the 10th Symphony, also in a single movement, which was first performed in 1990, the year before Panufnik's death. The craftsmanship is as impressive as ever.*** --Guardian,22/12/11

Lukasz Borowicz clearly has the expressive geometry of Panufnik's thinking under his fingers. --Gramophone,Mar'12

This is a further fine instalment of a series which will hopefully also take in the concertos before it has run its course. --IRR, Mar'12

CD Description

The first three releases in the Panufnik Symphonic Work cycle have been met with outstanding praise. The aspiring young conductor Lucasz Borowicz leads the larger forces of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin through the adventurous scores of the second and third symphonies and indeed the rest of the series. Panufniks third symphony Sacra is his most performed symphony even today.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timely retrospective 16 Feb 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I once asked Sir Andrzej Panufnik when we were going to get a modern recording of his Sinfonia Elegiaca (Symphony No. 2). His eyes widened in amazement: 'Do you know all my music?' he asked, adding 'Nobody knows that piece!' In fact, I only knew it through an obscure Louisville recording (still available on CD). Here it forms part of CPO's laudible survey of his most important orchestral works in a vivid digital recording of a performance that does full justice to this striking work. Coupled here are the much better known Sinfonia Sacra, with its antiphonal, apocalyptic trumpets thrillingly sounding from the four corners of the orchestra, and the late 10th Symphony (no title this time). The addition of No. 10 might seem arbitrary, but the piece does contain a number of elements present in the two earlier works, although by this time, emotional self-expression had long given way to a more detached, 'mathematical' approach. This is not to say No. 10 doesn't have impact (its opening bars certainly command attention!). Written between 1988 and 1990 for Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, it is, in its composer's words, a concerto for a virtuoso orchestra and is concerned with 'the beauty and mystery of geometry'.
The rarely-heard 'Sinfonia Elegiaca' (premiered by Leopold Stokowski) hails from 1957 and is dedicated to 'the victims of the Second World War'. It is very much a 'war requiem', from its sombre opening bars, through the jagged rhythms of the middle section (the idea reappearing in both the third and tenth symphonies) to the elegiac final section. We come full circle in this moving piece - a personal protest against man's inhumanity to man (of which Panufnik had ample experience in his own life).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner in this series 14 Jan 2012
By Laszlo - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
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.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A prayer for war: A prayer for peace 1 Nov 2012
By Some Guy - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
[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. Abstractly this idea fit with Poland's deep Catholic identity, the war horrors of WWII, and the people's weary longing for peace. Panufnik said he had written the symphony as two movements. The first is a set of 3 "Visions": the first being a war-like fanfare, followed by Vision 2, a "mystic and contemplative movement, and ended with Vision 3: the interweaving conflict of the two. The second movement is "The Hymn", a "very simple prayer to the Virgin, which would express adoration and warmth".

The symphony works quite well, and Panufnik makes his abstract point.

This disk is part of a series on CPO of all of Panufnik's symphonies and orchestral works. Recommended
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