LEBRECHT HEARS | Weinberg is light in darkness


At the turn of the century, there was almost no Weinberg on the record, except for old Soviet records. Two decades later there is so much about Weinberg that it’s hard to advise a new listener where to start.

Weinberg is one of those composers – like Martin and Mio – for example – who continued to write, with or without an order, continuing even when publishers refused to release more. By the end of his life, when 26 symphonies lay virtually unperformed, he wrote chamber symphonies and string quartets in the hope that smaller ensembles might be interested.

– Mieczyslaw Weinberg: Chamber Symphonies 2 and 4 (Naxos)


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A refugee from German-occupied Poland, he became a friend and follower of Shostakovich, without losing the vital elements, Jews and Malarians, which made him a distinct Weinberg. The 2nd and 4th chamber symphonies, urgently performed here by the Minsk East-West Chamber Orchestra of Ratislav Krimer, tremble with nervous energy and disappointed ambitions. The second, dated 1987, is smoking with alarms of disintegration. The fourth, since 1992, is damn invincible. Written for string orchestra, clarinet and triangle, it is a klezmer halftone, a half-cry dedicated to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

– Light in the Dark: Mieczyslaw Weinberg: Chamber Music (Evil Penguin Classics)

★★★★ ☆

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The 1945 Piano Trio is a small-scale repressed symphony, enhanced in this performance by German violinist Linus Roth with Argentine pianist Jose Gallard and cellist Danjul Ishizaka. At the heart of this work is musical journalism: an essay on the end of the existential war. But Weinberg is more subtle than ordinary journalists, and his trio quickly turns into a saga of refugees, disturbing and disturbing. Two hurt Songs without words 1947 informs us that the sky is getting darker again. Weinberg is an absolute master of intimate emotions.

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