"a commandingly virtuosic performance"
Best known for his big orchestral works, Andrzej Panufnik had a mixed relationship with the piano. Though he failed a piano entrance exam at the Warsaw Conservatoire, Panufnik survived the war as a café pianist, and one of his first works when he was able to resume composition was written at the keyboard and eventually published as the 12 Miniature Studies. Premiered in Kraków in 1948 and based on the circle of fifths, they already show his preoccupation with patterns and symmetry. Most last less than a minute, yet they are strongly contrasted and prove arresting in Clare Hammond’s commandingly virtuosic performance.
Geometric forms also inspired Panufnik’s other two works for solo piano, Reflections - composed in 1968 at the time of his daughter Roxanna’s birth and premiered five years later by John Ogdon - and the Pentasonata. Roxanna is represented here as both an arranger of her father’s music and as a composer in her own right. Her first piano piece, Second Homa, weaves variations around a haunting Polish folk tune in satisfyingly scrunchy harmonies, adding variety to Hammond’s imaginative performance.