PANUFNIK Roxanna, Horą Bessarabia

Roxanna Panufnik initially composed Hora Bessarabia as a violin solo for the Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition in 2016, writing that she had ‘drawn inspiration from Yehudi Menuhin’s love of Eastern European Gypsy music – using Romanian melodies and fiendish-but-fun Bulgarian Gypsy rhythms.’ The contest finalist Ariel Horowitz asked Panufnik to make an arrangement for her and the double-bass player Sebastian Zinca. The result is a piece in the form of a dance alternating slow and fast sections, the bass part adding a conversational element to what had been a solo piece. The slow passages resemble a Romanian ‘Doina’, improvisatory in feel with both instruments occasionally imitating the sound of a cimbalom, while the faster ‘Hora’ sections become increasingly animated, leading to the thrilling rhythmic charge of the closing bars. 


© Nigel Simeone


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