Panufnik, Lutoslawski: String Quartets

Panufnik, Lutoslawski: String Quartets

by Tippett Quartet


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Polish composers Andrzej Panufnik (father of Roxanna) and Witold Lutoslawski were near contemporaries, but the string quartets of Panufnik here (and much of his other music besides) follow that of Lutoslawski chronologically as well as stylistically. The three quartets by Panufnik and the single example by Lutoslawski here share a reflective, deliberate mood and several principles of organization: a nonserial, but pitch-collection-oriented, tonal world; extreme yet subtly handled textures; and aspects of aleatoric (chance) procedure, controlled as to its overall effect but imparting a kind of instrumental freedom. The program makes sense, but it's hard to escape the feeling that Lutoslawski does it better: the dry structural organization of the Panufnik quartets doesn't quite fit with the extramusical content like the rhythm of wind in telegraph wires. The Tippett Quartet is very much in its element here, though, and it is likely that these rather underexposed works will find an audience among those interested in the consistently strong Polish contemporary scene of the later 20th century.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/12/2014
Label: Naxos
UPC: 0747313316472
catalogNumber: 573164
Rank: 137622


  1. String Quartet
  2. String quartet No 3 "Wycinanki"
  3. String quartet No 2 "Messages"
  4. String quartet No 1

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Panufnik, Lutoslawski: String Quartets 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
RGraves321 More than 1 year ago
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.