Wednesday 28 January 2015

January Update

Greetings to all readers, happy new year for 2015.

Here's a round-up of the latest Weinberg-related events, releases and resources for January 2015.

Weinberg - Chamber Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Thord Svedlund, Chandos records.
Chandos continue their long line of Weinberg releases, with this disc that has got several critics very excited (see reviews here and here). I'm keen to get my paws on a copy - keep your eyes posted here for my review. Available now - from the Chandos website.


Weinberg, Violin Concerto, Op. 67, and Fourth Symphony, Op. 61. Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Jacek Kaspszyk, soloist Ilya Gringolts - Warner Classics. 

An extremely attractive looking CD, from a world-class orchestra (incidentally replicating the programme from a Melodiya release by Leonid Kogan with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Kiril Kondrashin). Released 9 February - preorder on Amazon - more info here.

14th February, London - Ealing Symphony Orchestra perform Weinberg's Violin Concerto.

With Kristine Balanas soloist. More details here.


The Vienna Festival Week is devoting several days of events to celebrate Weinberg's music. With four different concerts, and several talks, it looks set to be an excellent weekend. The concert programme runs as follows:
Saturday, 13 June, 3.30 p.m.
Concert programme 1
Musikverein, Grosser Saal

Mieczysław Weinberg
Chamber symphony No. 1 for string orchestra op. 145
Dmitri ShostakovichPiano concert No. 2 in F major op. 102
Mieczysław WeinbergChamber symphony No. 3 for string orchestra op. 151
Dmitri Shostakovich
Four Verses of Captain Lebyadkin for bass and piano op. 146

Alexei Mochalov bass
Andrius Žlabys piano
Kremerata Baltica
Conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla

Saturday, 13 June, 7.30 p.m.
Concert programme 2
Musikverein, Brahms-Saal

Mieczysław Weinberg
Sonata No. 2 for solo violin op. 95
Sonata for clarinet and piano op. 28
Sonata for two violins op. 69
Sonata for solo double bass op. 108
Bible of the Gypsies. Seven romances after poems by Julian Tuvim for voice and piano op. 57

Gidon Kremer violin
Olessia Petrova soprano
Madara Petersone violin
Mate Bekavac clarinet
Iurii Gavriliuk double bass
Yulianna Avdeeva, Andrius Žlabys piano

Sunday, 14 June, 11 a.m.
Concert programme 3
Musikverein, Grosser Saal

Mieczysław Weinberg
Chamber symphony No. 2 for string orchestra op. 147
Dmitri Shostakovich / Viktor Derevyanko
Symphony No. 15 in A major for three pianos and percussion op. 141a
Mieczysław Weinberg
Piano quintet in f minor, version for piano, string orchestra and percussion op. 18

Gidon Kremer violin
Giedre Dirvanauskaite violoncello
Andrei Pushkarev percussion
Yulianna Avdeeva, Andrius Žlabys piano
Kremerata Baltica

Sunday, 14 June, 3.30 p.m.
Stadtkino im Künstlerhaus

Летят журавли / The Cranes Are Flying
(USSR, 1957, b/w, 94 min.)
A film by Mikhail Kalatozov
Script by Viktor Rozov based on his play Вечно живые / Die ewig Lebenden (Eternally Alive)
Music by Mieczysław Weinberg
In Russian, with German subtitles

Sunday, 14 June, 5 p.m.
Stadtkino im Künstlerhaus

Unknown Weinberg
A discussion: Mieczysław Weinberg and his film scores
with Gidon Kremer, Michelle Assay, David Fanning, Markus Hinterhäuser
Free admission

Sunday, 14 June, 7.30 p.m.
Concert programme 4
Musikverein, Grosser Saal

Mieczysław Weinberg
Sonata No. 5 for violin and piano op. 53
Dmitri Shostakovich
Piano concert No. 1 in c minor for piano, trumpet and string orchestra op. 35
Mieczysław WeinbergChamber symphony No. 4 for string orchestra, clarinet and triangle op. 153
Dmitri Shostakovich
Anti-Formalist Rayok (arranged for bass and chamber orchestra by Andrei Pushkarev)

Gidon Kremer violin
Daniil Trifonov piano
Tine Thing Helseth
Alexei Mochalov
Mate Bekavac clarinet
Andrei Pushkarev percussion
Kremerata Baltica
Conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla
More details can be found at their website here.

I have recently discovered a very interesting broadcast from America, dated 22 October 1971. The broadcast is from the KPFA-FM archive, now available online on the internet-archive website. The clip is from the Other Minds programme, where new and unheard works were played across the airwaves. In the clip, presenter Bennett Tarshish presents Weinberg's Sinfonietta No. 2, together with some brief biographical information. The clip is particularly interesting, as it provides a glimpse at Weinberg's reception outside of Russia in the 1970s. Judging by the clip, not very much was known about Weinberg at all.

A transcript of Tarshish's introduction goes as follows:

'Greetings. This is Bennett Tarshish. Today’s programme is devoted entirely to Soviet composer Moisei Vainberg [sic]. Moisei Vainberg is a rarety among Soviet composers, he is a Jewish composer. He was born in Warsaw in 1919, but he settled in 1943 in Moscow and has become a Soviet citizen. Though there has been a lot of talk about the persecution of the Jews in Russia, it can’t be too completely widespread, because Moisei Vainberg, who is a very prolific composer, has had quite a lot of his works recorded. He has written at least seven symphonies, at least 7 or 8 quartets, much other chamber music, and music for several Russian films, several of which have been quite popular in Russia. He is hardly known outside of Russia, unfortunately, and there have only been 1 or 2 records which have appeared in the united states, one of which we will hear on this programme.  Unfortunately, the material, biographical or otherwise, about Moisei Vainberg and about these compositions we are to hear, is so slim that I can do little more than tell you what they are and read the movement headings. Even the dates of their composition are rarely given. Russian records are frequently like this, without any programme notes on the back, not even in Russian alone. The first work on our progamme is his sinfonietta no. 2 in g minor, op. 74. This work, by my guess, was written somewhere in the early part of the 1960s and is a stereo recording, with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, under Rudolf Barshai. It is in four movements, and they are entitled: Allegro, Allegretto, Adagio, and Andantino. We therefore open our programme with Moisei Vainberg’s Sinfonietta No. 2, in G minor, Op. 74; the Moscow Chamber Orchestra is conducted by Rudolf Barshai.'
A documentary on the Bregenz 2010 production of  Weinberg's opera The Passenger has been uploaded on to Dailymotion. See the embedded video below. (With interviews with David Pountney, Zofia Posmysz, David Fanning, and Olga Rakhalskaya [Weinberg's widow]).

Documentary 'In Exile - Weinberg at the Bregenz... 

And, finally, here's a photograph that I was previously unaware of, showing Weinberg looking casual and relaxed in his study.

Weinberg, c. 1965 - photograph from 'History of the Music of the Soviet People', ed. Yury Keldysh, 1974.

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