Bacewicz & Panufnik

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No, not a firm of solicitors from Warsaw, but two of Poland’s finest twentieth century composers. While their musical vocabulary is definitely of their time, they – unlike Penderecki or Lutosławski – weren’t deeply interested in exploring the sound worlds of sonorism, aleatoricism, serialism, etc.

Grażyna Bacewicz was both virtuoso violinist and a composer, many of her works making use of her preferred instrument (there are seven violin concertos)

Grażyna Bacewicz: Concerto for string orchestra

That Andrzej Panufnik ended up as Sir Andrzej Panufnik tells us much about his life: in 1954 he defected to the West and became a British resident. This must rank as one of the worst career moves ever; Panufnik himself said that, as a composer, he had ‘leapt from my Polish position of Number One to no one at all in England.’ Nevertheless he stayed the course, became a British citizen in 1961 and his prospects had improved sufficiently by 1991 (the year of his death) for him to be given a knighthood.

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Andrzej Panufnik: Violin concerto

Course materials:

More on modes plus those (useful!) hardy perennials:

Cycle of 5ths

Keyboard graphic 2 octaves

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