After the glut of composer anniversaries in 2013, this year’s list looks considerably shorter. Strauss will be dominating the opera houses, of course, but let’s hope that the concert halls find space in their schedules to celebrate the work of Andrzej Panufnik, whose 100th anniversary falls on 24 September.
The LSO made a great start yesterday evening, with a concert featuring two works from opposite ends of the Panufnik spectrum: the Sinfonia Sacra, a bold statement of defiance against Poland’s Communist rule, and Lullaby, a quirky little microtonal number with some surprising twists. The event, and indeed the entire centenary, is being promoted by Poland’s Adam Mickiewicz Institute (I wish somebody would promote British music the way Poland does theirs – effortless superiority only gets you so far), and plenty more events are planned. The LSO will be returning to Panufnik in October, with a performance conducted by Antonio Pappano, and there will be some chamber music concerts at Kings Place. There are also apparently “extensive UK summer festival plans yet to be announced”, but I couldn’t possibly speculate about what that might refer to. He’s a composer well worth getting to know better, and 2014 is shaping up to be the ideal year to do so.
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