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Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991): String Quartets Nos. 1-3; Witold Lutoslawski: String Quartet (1964) / Tippett Quartet

Album Summary

>Panufnik, Andrzej : Quartet for Strings No 1
>Panufnik, Andrzej : Quartet for Strings No 2 "Messages"
>Panufnik, Andrzej : Quartet for Strings No 3 "Wycinanki"
>Lutoslawski, Witold : String Quartet
Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

2014 is the centenary year of Andrzej Panufnik and, while his orchestral music has received attention, his innovative string quartets remain neglected. Bittersweet harmonies characterize the First Quartet. The Second Quartet, whose subtitle 'Messages' refers to the mysterious sounds of telegraph poles vibrating in the wind, is notable for its motivic coherence and emotional intensity. The Third Quartet, subtitled 'Wycinanki', a reference to paper cuts familiar in Polish rustic art, ends with one of Panufnik's most moving statements. Lutoslawski's dramatic and experimental String Quartet was written when he was at the forefront of the European avant-garde.

The Observer, 24th August 2014
[Panufnik], like Lutoslawski, had a gift for textures of extreme delicacy and detail, and the mood in each - though full of contrast - is predominantly beguiling and pensive.

Financial Times, 23rd August 2014
The Tippett Quartet's performances offer high-quality execution without hiding the dryness of some of the music. Inconveniently, the String Quartet of Panufnik's Polish contemporary Lutoslawski takes the listener, and the fine Tippett Quartet, on a more imaginative journey of exploration.

BBC Music Magazine, November 2014
You can really hear the members of the Tippett Quartet listening keenly to each other as they weave their seemingly effortless magic [in the Lutoslawski]. A much recorded piece, but this is the equal of anything out there.

Gramophone Magazine, January 2015
These are vital performances, edgy and energetic but rich in tone...A really fine disc, excellently played and beautifully recorded.

American Record Guide, January/February 2015
This is the centenary year for Andrzej Panufnik (1914-91), and as I've said often in these pages, he deserves more attention. These quartets were written from 1976 to 1990. Quartet 1 (1976) opens with a prelude in what amounts to a unison statement of threenote cells. These are turned into harmonies underneath melodic development. The work closes with a scherzo called 'postlude' - essentially a complete movement in itself. The internal pedal point contributes to the sense of eventual closure. The two-movement Quartet 2 (1980), subtitled Messages, is one of the composer's final works. This piece develops a four-note cell rather than one of three notes, its sections forming a tersely telescoped structure. Quartet 3 (1990) is subtitled Wycinanki, referring to symmetrical paper cuts found in Polish rustic art. Written for a London string quartet competition, the piece has plenty of "Late Work" characteristics: a quiet chorale with obsessive inner pedal, mournful lyricism, a vision from above trickling down to earth.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University, Cambridge,.



Reviews

Common country, uncommon sounds
The Tippett Quartet is a young ensemble that continues to explore the under-recorded portions of the string quartet repertoire. I enjoyed their Naxos recording of Miklos Rozsa's music, and I enjoyed this release -- albeit for different reasons.

On paper, Andrzej Panufnik and Witold Lutoslawksi may seem like a good match. Both composers are from Poland, both were active around the same time, and both are recognized internationally for the quality of their music.

But there are significant differences between the two. Lutoslawski's string quartet from 1964 sounds far more "modern" and avant-garde than Panufnik's quartets, which were written far later.

Lutoslawski's quartet incorporates aggressive dissonances and extended string techniques to create an atmosphere of stormy unrest. By contrast, Panufnik seems more concerned about developing simple motifs that are inherently tonal. And while that tonality is often obscured, it never totally goes away.

The Tippett Quartet seems equally at at home with both composers. They perform the Lutoslawski quartet with steely resolve and a machine-like precision that the music demands. In the Panufnik works, the quartet seems to be playing in a more relaxed fashion, with a much warmer ensemble sound.

It's an interesting program, and one that the Tippett Quartet successfully pulls off.
Submitted on 09/12/14 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>Panufnik, Andrzej : Quartet for Strings No 1
  • Ensemble: Tippett Quartet
  • Notes: Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK (02/04/2013-02/05/2013)
  • Running Time: 19 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music

>Panufnik, Andrzej : Quartet for Strings No 2 "Messages"
  • Notes: Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK (02/04/2013-02/05/2013)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music

>Panufnik, Andrzej : Quartet for Strings No 3 "Wycinanki"
  • Notes: Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK (02/04/2013-02/05/2013)
  • Running Time: 11 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music

>Lutoslawski, Witold : String Quartet
  • Running Time: 26 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1964