Old Polish Suite for string orchestra
Written in 1950, Old Polish Suite is an arrangement for string orchestra of three old Polish dances: Cenar, Wyrwany and Hayduk, separated by short chorale-like interludes. In the first version of the work, the interludes were named Przegrywka (1 and 2), but in the revised version, arranged after Panufnik settled in England, they are called Interlude and Chorale.The dances used by Panufnik come from extant tablature collections: Cenar from Mateusz Weisselius’s Lute Tablature, Wyrwany from an anonymous 17th-century Tablature collection, Hayduk from John of Lublin’s Tablature. When introducing the material of the various dances, the composer makes slight changes: transpositions to different keys, slight melodic and rhythmic deviations, changes of voice arrangement or addition of voices, introduction of dynamic and tempo markings. All these measures, including the transfer of the pieces to modern instruments, do not significantly change the original structure of the dances, however. The composer also avoids means characteristic of 20th-century music, intending to convey the spirit of earlier periods rather than to modernize the quoted musical patterns.