The Life and Works of Andrzej Panufnik (1914–1991)  book cover
1st Edition

The Life and Works of Andrzej Panufnik (1914–1991)

ISBN 9780367599249
Published June 30, 2020 by Routledge
226 Pages

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Book Description

Sir Andrzej Panufnik was born in Warsaw and studied in the newly independent Poland in the 1930s, as well as in Vienna and Paris just before the outbreak of the Second World War. During the German occupation he formed a piano duo with his friend and fellow composer Witold LutosÅ‚awski, and they performed in cafés around Warsaw. After the war, Panufnik quickly established himself as a leading Polish composer, and as a conductor he played a significant role in the re-establishment of first the Kraków and then the Warsaw Philharmonic. Although he was considered Poland’s leading composer for some years after the war, Panufnik was subsequently put under intolerable pressure both musically and politically. Frustrated by the continuing rejection of his compositions and the unending political demands inflicted on him by the country’s post-war Communist regime, he made a daring escape to England in 1954. He briefly became Principal Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, a post he relinquished after two years to devote all his time to composition. His works were in demand by major figures such as Leopold Stokowski who conducted the first performances of Sinfonia Elegiaca, KatyÅ„ Epitaph and Universal Prayer, Yehudi Menuhin who commissioned the Violin Concerto, Seiji Ozawa in Boston and Sir Georg Solti in Chicago who both commissioned symphonies for the centenaries of their famous orchestras; also Mstislav Rostropovich with the London Symphony Orchestra, who together commissioned the Cello Concerto. Beata BolesÅ‚awska has written the first book on the life and artistic output of Panufnik, setting his significance alongside the political and cultural scene of twentieth-century Europe. The account of the composer’s life is based on numerous archival documents, as well as the personal accounts contributed by his family and friends. Panufnik’s compositional style and techniques are also analysed. This book will be of interest not only to those devoted

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword; Preface; Early years; Education and first attempts at composition; The Second World War and the Nazi occupation; The new reality - The first years after the war; Socialist realism and the decision to emigrate; Escape from Poland and first years in a new homeland; Birmingham - The conductor and a return to composition; Success of Sinfonia Sacra, marriage and beginning of stabilisation; The search for a new musical language, and artistic flourishing after 1968; The last decade - The years of fulfilment; Andrzej Panufnik’s compositional style - A sketch; Symmetry in the composer’s self-reflection; Symmetry in terms of harmony and tonality; Symmetry in terms of musical syntax; Symmetry of form; Afterword; Chronological list of compositions; Index.

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Beata BolesÅ‚awska studied at the Institute of Musicology at Warsaw University (Poland). In 2000 she was commissioned by PWM Edition (Polish State Music Publishers) to write a monograph on Sir Andrzej Panufnik, which was published in September 2001. In 2010 she completed her doctoral studies at Cardiff University, with a thesis entitled ’Symphony and Symphonic Thinking in Polish Music after 1956’. In 2013 and 2014, PWM Edition also published her collected conversations about Górecki (Górecki: A Portrait in Memory) and Panufnik (Panufnik: Architect of Emotion). In addition BolesÅ‚awska has written for websites devoted to both Górecki ( and Panufnik ( and BolesÅ‚awska has taken part in many Polish and international musicological conferences, presenting papers on Panufnik, Górecki, Mycielski and the Warsaw Autumn Festival. She has also published numerous articles and reviews on Polish contemporary music for musicological journals and music magazines both in Poland and abroad. From 1997 to 2005 she worked for the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music. Since 2005 she has worked for Polish public television and is currently with the Culture Channel, TVP Kultura. She is a member of the Main Board, and Board of the Musicological Section, of the Polish Composers’ Union.