Tuesday 11 February 2014

February Update

Upcoming releases
The month of February brings several exciting Weinberg releases, some already available, some new and some with world premiere recordings.

First of all, the CPO label will be issuing a boxset of Weinberg's String Quartets, as recorded by the Quatuor Danel. Seeing as these recordings form a cornerstone that I consult on a daily basis, I can't recommend these enough. The six-volume cycle will be packaged in one box-set, at the extremely attractive price of EUR 29.99. From the CPO's site: (link).

Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s genuinely awe-inspiring complete seventeen string quartets are now available in a box set in interpretations by the Belgian Danel Quartet that can only be described as a musical blessing. Inspired by Shostakovich’s widow Irina (and other factors), the Quatuor Danel began acquiring the scores of all seventeen Weinberg quartets in 1995 and after a number of years (2007 to 2012) has now finished its complete recording for cpo. The BBC Music Magazine immediately named the first volume the best chamber music CD in March 2008, and further prizes followed. klassik-heute. com wrote, »In content and skill the works are equal to good works by Shostakovich, but this does not at all mean that Weinberg was a Shostakovich imitator. The Danels perform with unabating, often almost urgent intensity.« And Weinberg’s teacher and friend Shostakovich never missed an opportunity to recommend the works of his friend and fellow musician Weinberg. They were brothers in spirit. Both worked in manifold genres and over a broad stylistic spectrum ranging from folklore (in Weinberg’s case, Jewish folklore in particular) to twelve-tone elements. In the field of the string quartet Shostakovich involved his pupil in a friendly competition and was very happy in 1964 to be the first of the two to write his No. 10. Our final volume received the highest marks from klassik-heute. com: »A full 10 for exciting music and its enthralling interpretation by an exciting ensemble.«

There is also news of another upcoming release from the CPO label - 'Chamber Music for Strings'.

    Led by the same musician who brought us the 'Chamber Music for woodwinds' release a few years ago, Elisaveta Blumina, the release promises to feature the following works:

Piano trio op. 24;
Sonatina for Violin & Piano op. 46;
Sonata for Double Bass solo op. 108

If the previous cd is anything to go by, this should worth buying. 

I mentioned world-premiere recordings above, and the latest disc from Toccata Classics promises just that.

This upcoming disc is listed as 'in preparation' on the Toccata website (with very little information provided besides that and the album cover, seen above). Works to be featured:

Symphony No. 21, 'Kaddish', Op. 152 [wth Veronika Bartenyeva, Soprano] (World Premiere recording)
Polish Tunes, Op. 47, No. 2 (Also a world premiere)

The Siberian Symphony Orchestra, under Dmitry Vasilyev.
I must admit, I'm particularly excited about this release, I'm always pleased with premiere recordings. This leaves just Symphonies 9, 11, 13 and 15 still to be recorded.

Of course, is you can't until these discs are released, I still heartily recommend Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica's 2-disc set, which was something of a revelation when I reviewed it here.


Here's a few of the latest youtube videos of Weinberg:

Linus Roth and José Gollardo play the Weinberg Sonatina, Op. 46:

A preview of the Naxos Symphony 12 recording: (see my review here).


My own work is ticking along nicely. I recently survived my latest PhD assessment panel. My writing is now focusing on analysis of the Weinberg Quartets - I'm currently up to 12 out of 17! In publication news, I am pleased to announce that my manuscript for a set of conference proceedings has been submitted, with the full text available hopefully from June of this year, with paper copies available some time in Winter. Until then, some of my academic work is available for you to read on my profile on Academia.edu - link.

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