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  Ondine -
  ODE 1101-5
  Panufnik: Heroic Overture etc. - Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra
  Panufnik: Heroic Overture, Sinfonia di Sfere, Landscape, Sinfonia Sacra

Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra
John Storgårds (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 2

Review by Jonalogic September 11, 2010 (7 of 11 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I came to this disc without any preconceptions or expectations. I heard some Panufnik live at the Festival Hall many years ago, and then forgot all about it. I had never hear an Ondine disc, and - to my shame - I didn't even know where Tampere was, let alone that it had a symphony orchestra.

A few bars into the opening Heroic Overture, however, it became extravagantly clear that this was one exceptional sounding recording. Dynamic, natural, timbrally accurate, exceptionally transparent and - above all - graced by extremely focussed and dimensionally accurate staging. The top registers and transient response of the (ample) percussion are particularly noteworthy. This is probably the first all-digital recording I have yet heard which manages proper cymbals. Most SACDs manifest these as - variously - thin; hollow, gritty (low bit-rates) or rolled off. Analogue actually does better here.

Only later did I learn that this disc was recorded in DXD (32 bit floating point and 352.8kHz, 4X the data throughput of DSD) before down-quantising to a DSD bit-stream. Incidentally, this is nowehere evidenced on the disc or notes. Phew, if this is what a full orchestra sounds like in DXD, I'm just gagging for more...

And the music? Suffice it to say, if you're into 20th century classical, and like composers such as Ligeti, Messiaen, Part or Lutoslawski, then give Panufnik a listen: what have you got to lose?

This disc encompasses a broad spectrum of his work. The very early Heroic Overture and religiously -inspired Sinfonia Sacra are most musically satisfying to my ears, whilst the later Sinfonia da Sfere seems rather cerebral and distant by comparison.

The playing is - for the most part - excellent throughout. However, the cruel exposed upper brass writing in the 'Sacra' does cause occasional strain. But I guess it would with most orchestras, so no shame there.

The performances are probably 4 star; however, since the recording is 6 star, I have evened things out…

In conclusion- fine 20th century symphonies, well played and superlatively recorded. Strongly recommended.

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Review by JJ November 16, 2007 (4 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Le compositeur polonais Andrzej Panufnik naquit à Varsovie dans une famille de musiciens en 1914. Très jeune, il se mit à composer puis entra au conservatoire. Diplôme en poche, il se rendit à Vienne pour suivre des cours de direction d’orchestre auprès de Felix Weingartner. Puis c’est à Paris, puis Londres qu’il étudia la composition. Durant la guerre, c’est en compagnie de Witold Lutoslawski qu’il donna notamment des récitals de piano. Mais Varsovie se souleva en 1944 et Panufnik perdit la totalité de ses œuvres. Après la guerre, ce dernier entama une carrière de chef-d’orchestre où il dirigea l’orchestre philharmonique de Cracovie, celui de Varsovie, mais également le Berliner Philharmoniker, l’orchestre national de France ou encore le Philharmonique de Londres. Panufnik ne revint véritablement à la composition qu’au début des années soixante, avant de s’éteindre en 1991. Son œuvre comporte dix symphonies, des concertos pour piano, violon, basson et violoncelle, trois quatuors à cordes, de la musique vocale et chorale ainsi que des transcriptions de musique ancienne polonaise. Avec ce remarquable enregistrement, nous pénétrons l’univers de ce compositeur attachant en découvrant « Ouverture Héroïque » datant de 1969, la sixième symphonie « Symphonie des Sphères » datant de 1974-1975, « Landscape » dont la création eut lieu en 1965 et enfin la « Symphonie Sacrée » créée en 1964 sous la direction de Louis Frémaux. La musique de Panufnik, nous dit Bernard Jacobson dans le livret d’accompagnement, paraît d’une simplicité déroutante, mais « les textures et les mélodies et rythmes qui entrent dans leur composition sont rarement compliqués mais immanquablement d’une riche complexité ». Dirigeant l’orchestre philharmonique de Tampere, John Storgards joue avec finesse le jeu des contrastes, des couleurs et de la profondeur. Véritable révélateur d’une musique envoûtante, son interprétation offre le plus bel hommage que l’on puisse rêver aujourd’hui. Un SACD à la prise de son stéréo ou multicanal d’une présence naturelle respectant les timbres et l’espace.

Jean-Jacques Millo

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Works: 4  

Andrzej Panufnik - Heroic Overture
Andrzej Panufnik - Landscape
Andrzej Panufnik - Sinfonia di Sfere
Andrzej Panufnik - Sinfonia Sacra