Text Box: Conductor autographs


Price: $150.00


Rare, dual autographed Unicorn RHS 306 recording of four pieces for orchestra by Andrzei Panufnik autographed on the back cover of the record jacket by the conductor and the composer.  The works include Panufnik’s Heroic Overture, Nocturne, Tragic Overture and Autumn Music.

The boutique classical record label Unicorn Records was founded in Great Britain in 1968.  The signed Jascha Horenstein (1898-1973) with the understanding they would allow him to record as he wished.  They had also signed the Polish composer Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991) who had escaped communist Poland in 1954 and had been given asylum in Britain.  Panufnik who had lost everything was reconstructing the works from earlier in his life.  He was known as the most important living composer in Poland at the time of his defection, but was not well known in the West.  He had lived a tragic life, his manuscripts were destroyed by a squatter in his home at the end of the Second World War.  After the War the composer wrote film music for military propaganda films.  He was also made Music Director of the Krakow Philharmonic and was promoted to the same role with the Warsaw Philharmonic shortly thereafter.  He began to reconstruct some of his earlier works including the Tragic Overture which is on this record.  He also conducted the Berlin Philharmonic and played the Tragic Overture, written after the death of his brother in the War as a reminder of the atrocities that were committed there.  He was made Vice President of the Polish Composers Union, but was unhappy with the post due to political pressures.  Eventually after the Polish government, firmly under the Russians control told him the style of music he had to compose, he rebelled and finally in 1954 he had had enough and escaped with nothing in his pockets to the West, with the Polish secret police at his heels.  He sought asylum in Great Britain and was shortly signed by Boosey and Hawkes for his compositions.  He was also made Music Director of the City of Birmingham Orchestras which he led for two years before deciding to devote himself to composition.  The works on this record, The Tragic Overture was written in 1943, reconstructed in 1945 and revised in 1955; Nocturne was written in 1948 and revised in 1955; The Heroic Overture was written for the Olympic Games in Helsinki in 1952 and revised in 1969; the last work, Autumn Music was written in 1962, revised in 1965 and first performed in 1968.  Panufnik, like his fellow Countrymen Chopin and Paderewski who chose to live outside Poland always maintained a strong Polish identity in his life and his music.  He was knighted by Queen Elisabeth in 1991.

Horenstein was chosen to conduct the record over the composer due to his popularity with the public and his relationship with the London Symphony Orchestra. Simply stated, he was a well known champion of modern music and the Unicorn executives felt the recording would sell better with his involvement.  The composer was there throughout the rehearsals and the recording sessions in London at the Walthamstow Assembly Hall on December 21st and 22nd, 1970.  The results are quite astounding and it was an extremely important release.

The record itself has a few scratches, we have not played it and we do not represent its condition as this item is sold solely based upon the rarity of the autographs. There is a slight crease at the top left of the front of the album cover and a little wear that can be seen on the flip side of the cover in the scan.  That said, trés rare, especially together!



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