Landscape, interlude for string orchestra
In 1962 Panufnik composed a short work for string orchestra, Landscape. As he wrote:
This is an attempt to convey musically a landscape of my imagination, similar to those I have seen in Suffolk or remember from Poland – a boundless landscape which evokes melancholy – where the far distant, evanescent horizon induces a sense of space and unconfined contemplation. It contains an echo of Poland in the musical texture. In design, it is constructed in three sections. The second section mirrors the first, like seeing the same landscape from the opposite end. The third section returns to the viewpoint of the first, but one might feel that heavy clouds have gathered low over the land. In the last bars of this short interlude for string orchestra, perhaps one might imagine oneself staring at a point in the dissolving horizon until it fades into infinity.
In accordance with the composer’s intentions – and like Autumn Music, written in the period – Landscape is full of melancholy and a kind of typical Polish “sorrow”. Using the sonically uniform apparatus of a string orchestra and having it slowly develop successive musical ideas, the composer builds a mood full of contemplation and reflection. This is achieved thanks to gentle harmonic chords, once again using major and minor third intervals – a characteristic feature of Panufnik’s musical language, especially in his pre-1968 works.The short 7-minute Landscape was described by the composer as an interlude for string orchestra because, apart from its brevity, it must have constituted an interlude in his work on larger pieces: Autumn Music (also completed, in its original version, in 1962) and Sinfonia Sacra (completed one year later, in 1963).