American Record Guide

This British recording offers a fascinating program intelligently executed. Panufnik was born in Poland but emigrated to England, where he wrote some of the complex, compelling works on this program. The Shostakovich pieces are from his student days, full of charm, whimsy and bursts of lyricism, with little hint of the darkness to come. They are also rarely heard, so this album is welcome for them alone. The Panufnik pieces are even rarer, and are played with great authority. They range from the brilliant and scintillating to the ghostly and ephemeral; the tonalities are unstable, but the designs are clear and poetic.

Raymond Clarke, who specializes in both composers and premiered the final version of Panufnik’s Piano Concerto, plays all these coolly passionate works superbly and contributes expansive notes. The recording, made at the University of Newcastle-on-Tyne, has plenty of depth and color. Highly recommended.