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Comment: Cd is ex-library, but disc is in good condition. Former Library book. Audio CD This item shows wear from consistent use but remains in good readable condition. It may have marks on or in it, and may show other signs of previous use or shelf wear. May have minor creases or signs of wear on dust jacket. Packed with care, shipped promptly.
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Weinberg: Symphony 4 Op. 61 / Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes

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Audio CD, September 21, 2004
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 21, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B0002NRR9C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #357,816 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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It is likely that the majority of classical music fans are unfamiliar with the music of Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919-1996); some however may have seen his name appear in writings mentioning that he was a close friend of Shostakovich. Weinberg was born in Poland, but moved to the Soviet Union upon the Nazi occupation of Poland in 1939. It should be noted that "Weinberg" is the Polish spelling of the composer's name, while "Vainberg" is a Russian spelling and appears on some previously released CD's on Olympia and Naxos.

Weinberg's life wasn't easy. His parents and sister were murdered by the Nazis and Weinberg was heavily persecuted by the Soviet authorities. Weinberg himself was arrested by Soviet police in 1953 on the false charge of taking part in the preparations of creating a Jewish republic within the Soviet Union, although, Weinberg was released shortly after the death of Stalin.

If the Symphony No. 4 is any indication, the 22 symphonies of Weinberg really must be one of the outstanding musical achievements of the twentieth century. This is a fantastic and vibrant work. The open section of the symphony definitely shows the influence of Shostakovich with its aggressive cello and double bass writing, followed by clarinets (playing above their natural range) jumping out of the orchestral texture. At the conclusion of this movement, Weinberg's unique sense of drama becomes apparent, where the music gradually builds to an intense frenzy; then ends quite unexpectedly. I find the third movement, characterized by a melancholy melody played by solo woodwinds over pizzicato strings, to be quite beautiful. The work is capped by an inventive finale in which Weinberg combines Polish and Russian dance melodies in a rondo format.
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I find myself less than taken with the Symphony No. 4. Low key in its way and yet with stark undertones, it has just never caught on with me. The Rhapsody strikes me as more active and engaging, a view I also have of the Sinfonietta. Still, overall, I think these works don't match up to the Weinberg pieces you will find on later Chandos releases conducted by Thord Svedlund, or the complete cycle of string quartets on the CPO label.
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