His striving for harmony and order, and his attachment to the large musical forms, particularly the symphonic form, puts Panufnik among the classics of twentieth-century music. His work grew out of the classical models - not surprisingly, since neoclassicim was the dominant musical trend, particularly in Poland, during Panufnik’s musically formative years. An attachment to classical, traditional forms and genres remained a living force in his music until and including his last works, but he filled them with his own, new content.
Andrzej Panufnik created his own musical world – modern, but not avant-garde. On the basis of traditional musical values he created works that were rich and varied, surprising in their abundance of shades and colours. The core of his output is symphonic. Ten symphonies, a number of instrumental concertos, overtures and many orchestral works – all of them reveal the symphonic nature of their creator. Even as early as 1945, after the first performance of Panufnik’s later withdrew Symphony No. 1, Zygmunt Mycielski observed that the young composer was a typical symphonist and that the main feature of his music was the struggle between emotion and restraint. Both these descriptions remain valid to this day, and apply to the full, closed legacy of Andrzej Panufnik, which also includes the equally important chamber works.
In the musical culture of twentieth-century Poland, Panufnik’s music occupies an important place. What is also significant is that it is imbued throughout with the spirit of Poland. In its dedications, quotations, atmosphere and mood, it testifies most tellingly to the roots of its author. Andrzej Panufnik succeeded in creating his own variety of national style, continuing along the path established by the works of Chopin and Szymanowski. There is no doubt that, in spite of having left Poland, he always remained a Polish composer, and his music forms a significant part of Poland’s national heritage.