Monday, 23 October 2017

Next Project - 'Parallel Worlds'

Dear all,

While my activity on this blog has slowed considerably, I can promise that my research activity has not ceased. That is why I am writing this to announce research and work on my next project, a monograph study on Weinberg and his Polish contemporaries, titled 'Parallel Worlds'.

This book will examine how Weinberg left Poland behind and delved into the mid-century Soviet style of composition, while also retaining influences and contacts in post-war Poland. I will continue my analytic focus on String Quartets, though taking in a wider focus of composition.

Research and writing are in early days yet, but I have made a start on initial progress, with my first research visit in Katowice in a few weeks. I will post updates on this page, including a 'diary' of sorts of my research visits.

As a preview, here's the first abstract for the book:

Mieczysław Weinberg fled his native Warsaw in September 1939, leaving behind a burgeoning career as a composer and pianist. He eventually reached the Soviet Union, where he made a name for himself, eventually becoming one of the USSR’s most celebrated composers, with a prolific output including twenty-two symphonies and seventeen string quartets. He worked alongside Shostakovich, and his works were performed by Rostropovich, Rozhdestvensky, Oistrakh, and the Borodin Quartet. Throughout his career, however, he was mindful of the nation that he had left behind, with constant references to Poland in his works. He only revisited Poland once in his adult life, for the 1966 Warsaw Autumn festival. Despite this apparent lack of contact, he frequently wrote works to Polish texts and with Polish themes. He also maintained correspondence with several Polish composers, including Krzysztof Penderecki and Krzysztof Meyer.
            As the Weinberg revival has thrown his works into an international spotlight, this book takes the occasion of his centenary to examine how his works written in Russia compare with his Polish colleagues; how one composer split off from his national tradition and created a style that embraced the music of a new homeland, while those composers in his native land surged ahead in a more experimental vein. More often than not, the points of contact between them are enlightening for both sides. This study provides an overview of Weinberg’s music through his String Quartets, analysing them alongside a host of Polish composers (many of them featured for the first time in an English-language publication). Through these comparisons, Weinberg’s distinct style drawn from parallel worlds is thrown into a new light. 

There is a tight schedule for publication in 2019, Weinberg's centenary year. I'll keep you posted.

All best,