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Polish Composers in Wales: From Panufnik to Łukaszewski

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 Andrzej Panufnik with daughter Roxanna, photo by © Camilla Jessel Panufnik FRPS
 Andrzej Panufnik with daughter Roxanna, photo by © Camilla Jessel Panufnik FRPS

This month, Welsh audiences will have the opportunity to hear music by Grażyna Bacewicz, Andrzej Panufnik, Witold Lutosławski, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Krzysztof Penderecki, Paweł Łukaszewski and Maciej Zieliński at the Presteigne Festival, partnered by Polska Music.

The focal point of this year’s edition is the compositions of Sir Andrzej Panufnik. Panufnik was born in 1914 in Warsaw. In 1954, he emigrated to Great Britain. Warsaw Variations, which received the Prix Europa for the Best Music Programme of 2012, will be performed on August 22. It tells the story of Panufnik’s and Lutosławski’s life during the war. The audience will also be able to meet the composer’s daughter, Roxanna Panufnik, who followed in her father’s footsteps as a composer, during a talk hosted by musicologist Stephen Johnson.

Centred around the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of Panufnik's birth, the festival’s programme includes a special centenary concert for the Polish composer on the same day. Two compositions will be performed – Sinfonia Concertante for flute, harp and string orchestra, and Landscape for string orchestra. George Vass will conduct the Presteigne Festival Orchestra with solo appearances from Juliette Bausor on flute and Sally Pryce on harp. The audience will also enjoy Grażyna Bacewicz’s Concerto For Strings, Michael Tipp’s Little Music for string orchestra as well as Huw Watkins’ Concertino for violin and string orchestra with the participation of Benjamin Nabarro in the solo part.

A composer, conductor, and an emmigrant. A husband and father, an artist constantly inspired by the... Read more about: (A)symmetries of the 20th Century. Who Was Panufnik?

Music from the great Polish émigré composer will be heard in the following series of concerts. On August 23, Cavaleri Quartet will play String Quartet No.3. Paper Cut-Outs. On the same day, The Joyful Company of Singers Choirs conducted by Peter Broadbent will perform Song to the Virgin Mary. On August 25, Richard Uttley will play Miniature Studies Book 2 and on August 26, mezzo-soprano Clare McCaldin and pianist Chris Hopkins will perform Panufnik’s Love Song.

Requiem for soprano, baritone, mixed choir, performed by Paweł Łukaszewski’s orchestra, has been listed among the most significant events of the festival. It will premiere on August 24, performed by soprano Rachel Nicholls, baritone Christopher Foster, The Joyful Company of Singers and Presteigne Festival Orchestra conducted by Vass.

The almost 55-minute long piece is comprised of 10 parts: Requiem aeternam, Kyrie, Psalm 23, Alleluia, Pie Jesu, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Lux aeterna, In paradisum and Libera me. Nearly every part is dedicated to people close to me who have recently passed on: Wojciech Kilar, John Tavener, Wiesława Krodkiewska, Cardinal Józef Glemp, Otto Stock and members of my family: Leszek Łukaszewski, Andrzej Patrzyk and Michalina and Zenon Michalski. Through funeral rites we send the dead to God and strengthen the faith of the living, we keep faith that all the baptized will be resurrected with Christ and we pray that the dead passed through death to life. The message of the funeral liturgy is the hope of eternal life, profession of faith in resurrection and reunion in the kingdom of God. From the heavenly Jerusalem, angels will come and will take souls to Paradise, where the martyrs will take them to the accompaniment of angel choirs. In Requiem I attempt to approximate the greatest mystery of our faith. - said Łukaszewski of the piece.

The festival’s programme includes also other compositions by Polish artists. On August 26 the British premiere of Maciej Zieliński’s Concello, performed by Gemma Rosefield and the festival orchestra, will take place during the closing concert of the festival. The composer’s older pieces such as Lutosławski in Memoriam (August 23) and Trio for MB (August 25) will also be presented. The audiences will also hear compositions by Witold Lutosławski, such as Grave – Metamorphoses for cello and piano (August 22), Dance Preludes for clarinet and piano and Partita for violin and piano (August 23). Apart from Grażyna Bacewicz’s Concerto for Strings, Two Etudes for piano (August 25) will resound on the festival stage.

String Quartet No.1 Already It Is Dusk and Two Sacral Songs for baritone and orchestra composed by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki will be presented on August 25. Krzysztof Penderecki’s work will be represented by his Quartet for clarinet and string trio and Serenade for string orchestra (August 26).

Paweł Łukaszewski’s Piano Trio will be performed on August 23.

source:,, ed. By fl 1/8/2014

translated by Kasia Dolato 4/8/2014

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