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The Concerto for Bassoon by Andrzej Panufnik: Religion, Liberation, and Postmodernism

Description: The Concerto for Bassoon by Andrzej Panufnik is a valuable addition to bassoon literature. It provides a rare opportunity for the bassoon soloist to perform a piece which is strongly programmatic. The purpose of this document is to examine the historical and theoretical context of the Concerto for Bassoon with special emphasis drawn to Panufnik's understanding of religion in connection with Polish national identity and the national struggle for democratic independence galvanized by the murder of Father Jerzy Popieluszko in 1984. Panufnik's relationship with the Polish communist regime, both prior to and after his 1954 defection to England, is explored at length. Each of these aspects informed Panufnik's compositional approach and the expressive qualities inherent in the Concerto for Bassoon. The Concerto for Bassoon was commissioned by the Polanki Society of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and was premiered by the Milwaukee Chamber Players, with Robert Thompson as the soloist. While Panufnik intended the piece to serve as a protest against the repression of the Soviet government in Poland, the U. S. context of the commission and premiere is also examined. Additionally, the original manuscript and subsequent piano reduction are compared. Although the Concerto for Bassoon has been subject to formal analysis by several scholars, discussion of the piece is generally contained within a larger discussion of several other compositions, and a comprehensive analysis of the piece has not yet been presented. This document contains a thorough formal analysis of all movements, as well as analysis of Panufnik's compositional style within the context of serialism, postmodernism, and the new Polish school of composition. The Concerto fro Bassoon features several devices common to Panufnik's larger opus, including the se of a common three-note cell, strong contrasts between section and movements, and symmetrical patterns of transposition, metric alteration, dynamic alteration, and registral expansion.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Ott, Janelle
Partner: UNT Libraries