Author Topic: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)  (Read 38957 times)

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Offline Maciek

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Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« on: November 13, 2008, 02:32:49 AM »
What?! No Weinberg thread??

[WARNING: The first page of this thread contained a rather large (and quite informative) sub-discussion about Miaskovsky's symphonies, which I have excised and merged into the Miaskovsky thread. If one or two of the replies in this Weinberg thread seem a little bizarre, that may be because they refer to something that is now in the Miaskovsky thread. Sorry for the inconvenience, but I thought people looking for info about Miaskovsky should be able to find it in the composer's thread, and not be forced to look for it all over the place. Seemed only fair. 0:)]
« Last Edit: February 07, 2010, 02:46:22 PM by Maciek »

Offline Maciek

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2008, 02:41:14 AM »
Quote from: http://www1.freewebs.com/black_arrow/
Why Weinberg?
Why not Vainberg?
Why not Wainberg?
Or Vajnberg?
Or Wajnberg?



The reason is very simple: Weinberg is correct, all other spellings are wrong! Weinberg grew up and spent his first twenty years in Poland, where the Latin alphabet is used, and he and his family spelt the name exactly this way. Its origin is German/Yiddish. Any other spelling in the Latin alphabet must thus be avoided!

I confess having a certain guilt myself, since I once accepted - without checking them - certain rumours that Weinberg himself preferred the spelling "Vainberg". I discovered my error after I had written the texts for half a dozen CDs in the large series of Olympia in London, and I wanted to change the spelling, but they refused. In fact I understand this, because it would have confused their customers if they had changed it in the middle of a series. Nevertheless the CDs have unfortunately contributed to the present Babylonic situation.

The variety of (wrong) spellings is due to the circumstance that various people believed that the original spelling of the name was the one of the Russian alphabet. They then transliterated the name into the Latin alphabet, according to various rules (an ironical detail being that Soviet scores -- of all! -- used the correct spelling Weinberg!). But now Weinberg is becoming increasingly accepted. The New Groves, the famous dictionary, used the English transliteration "Vaynberg" some years ago, but in the Internet edition they have now corrected this into Weinberg.

I am at present writing a biography in English which is scheduled to appear in 2005 at Toccata Press in London; there I of course am using the correct spelling Weinberg!

Per Skans Uppsala, Sweden


Now, this goes against the Wikipedia article (where Wajnberg is quoted as the original Polish spelling) and against my knowledge of Polish spelling mores of the time under discussion (names which would have been spelt with ein in Germany were spelt with ajn in Poland) but Per Skans had authority, so we should probably trust that he was saying this on solid evidence.

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2008, 03:00:08 AM »
Now, if Weinberg is considered a Polish composer, which he should be, then I have to add to the list of Polish composers I know. I have lots of Weinberg (spelled Veinberg on the Olympia CDs I have). I like almost everything I have of him, including symphonies and chamber music. For the moment my favorites are the chamber symphonies. That might change with my next listening.

I have heard/read about some of his other music unknown to me, including ballet music, and I would like to have more for sure.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2008, 05:03:10 AM »
A very interesting composer. Symphony 5 is a masterpiece I think. The only work apart from Popov's First Symphony to rank alongside Shostakovich's 4th Symphony. There was a great recording with Kondrashin on Russian Disc but there is a very good one on Chandos. The Choral Symphony No 6 is deeply moving too. Per Skans sadly died before finishing his biography. David Fanning is apparently completing it.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline The new erato

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2008, 05:41:45 AM »
There was a great recording with Kondrashin on Russian Disc but there is a very good one on Chandos. 
I have them both. Have recently listened to the Chandos, fine sound but not the ultimate orchestra.

Offline Guido

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2008, 06:19:12 AM »
The opening of the cello concerto must surely rank as one of the most beautiful in all of music. How can something so simple sound so good?!  :D It's a very nice work in it's totality too, but the first movement is just a stunner. The later Fantasy for cello and orchestra, as well as the cello sonatas and solo cello pieces are not as immediately appealing to my ears. Been meaning to explore the symphonies... No.5 good to start with?
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2008, 07:06:34 AM »
I have them both. Have recently listened to the Chandos, fine sound but not the ultimate orchestra.

Yes, I agree.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2008, 07:07:19 AM »
... No.5 good to start with?

Yes, absolutely.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2008, 08:55:41 AM »
His(too scared to use a surname!) even numbered symphonies have been much more fortunate in being recorded than the odd numbered. We still are waiting for recordings of Nos. 1, 3, 8, 9, 11, 13 and 15.

The problem presumably is that of the symphonies which have been recorded only Nos. 6 and 18 are choral but of the others-

No.8: "Flowers of Poland" for tenor, boys' chorus and orchestra
No.9: "Everlasting Times" for narrator, chorus and orchestra
No.11: "Festive Symphony" for chorus and orchestra
No.15: "I believe in this Earth" for soprano, baritone, women's chorus and orchestra

Olympia did a grand job in making available superb performances of a considerable number of the symphonies and Chandos started a
series which I hope has not come to a stop!

I think that the earlier symphonies and the violin and cello concertos are indeed very fine works but the last few(Nos. 16, 17, 18 and 19) are harrowing works-impressive certainly but extremely grim.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2008, 10:03:53 AM »
Just this week I discovered some of Weinberg's music in a concert with three substantial chamber works, and it they were all very impressive.  Tuesday night's program was:

Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 18 (1945)
From Zhukovsky's Lyrics, Op. 116, vocal cycle for bass and piano (1976)
Piano Quintet, Op. 18 (1944)


The concert was the third in a five-day survey called Music in Exile: Émigré Composers of the 1930s at the Museum of Jewish Heritage here, by the ARC Ensemble of Toronto.  Due to a schedule change, they played Weinberg's Piano Quintet on opening night as well.  Here is a review from yesterday's New York Times

I loved the Clarinet Sonata, liked the song cycle, too, but the Piano Quintet is the real stunner.  I haven't heard a piano quintet this interesting since Schnittke's.  Definitely want to pick up the recording below, with the quintet and the sonata played by the same musicians (who were superb, by the way). 

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2008, 03:28:23 AM »
His(too scared to use a surname!) even numbered symphonies have been much more fortunate in being recorded than the odd numbered. We still are waiting for recordings of Nos. 1, 3, 8, 9, 11, 13 and 15.

The problem presumably is that of the symphonies which have been recorded only Nos. 6 and 18 are choral but of the others-

No.8: "Flowers of Poland" for tenor, boys' chorus and orchestra
No.9: "Everlasting Times" for narrator, chorus and orchestra
No.11: "Festive Symphony" for chorus and orchestra
No.15: "I believe in this Earth" for soprano, baritone, women's chorus and orchestra

Olympia did a grand job in making available superb performances of a considerable number of the symphonies and Chandos started a
series which I hope has not come to a stop!

I think that the earlier symphonies and the violin and cello concertos are indeed very fine works but the last few(Nos. 16, 17, 18 and 19) are harrowing works-impressive certainly but extremely grim.

We need a new recording of No 6.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2008, 06:32:22 AM »
We need a new recording of No 6.

Don't hold your breath for Chandos to record it! It is choral after all ;D

(Go on Chandos-prove me wrong ;D)

Offline Todd

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2008, 10:40:03 AM »
Anyone know his string quartets?  CPO recently released the second volume played by the Danel Quartet, who are really superb, so I'm thinking maybe I should investigate these . . .
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline The new erato

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2008, 11:33:51 AM »
Anyone know his string quartets?  CPO recently released the second volume played by the Danel Quartet, who are really superb, so I'm thinking maybe I should investigate these . . .
I have both. Vol 1 is a  favorite for disc of the year with me, after two playthroughs vol 2 doesn't seem quite as strong, but buy, buy, buy!

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2008, 11:40:42 AM »
I have both. Vol 1 is a  favorite for disc of the year with me, after two playthroughs vol 2 doesn't seem quite as strong, but buy, buy, buy!

I also urge you to buy.  And don't forget that Delos recently issued a disc of his string quartets - nos. 11 and 13 along with the Op. 18 piano quintet.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2008, 11:45:13 AM by Bulldog »

springrite

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2008, 04:48:42 PM »
Anyone know his string quartets?  CPO recently released the second volume played by the Danel Quartet, who are really superb, so I'm thinking maybe I should investigate these . . .

Considering how stronly Shostakovich thought of these quartets (Demitri almost made it a "competition" when he wrote how he had just heard one of Weiberg's superb quartet premiered and "now he is one ahead of me and I must complete my current one (I think it was #10?"), you should definitely get them. I have 2 CDs worth of it and enjoy the works to varying degrees. The piano quartet is probably a stronger work, but the quartets are also quite strong.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2008, 01:39:27 AM »
Apart from Symphony 5 and 6 my favourite work is the Piano Quintet Op 18; worthy to stand alongside that of his friend Shostakovich. Difficult to find as it was on Olympia. Maybe I'll pester Alto to reissue it.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2008, 06:56:57 AM »
Apart from Symphony 5 and 6 my favourite work is the Piano Quintet Op 18; worthy to stand alongside that of his friend Shostakovich. Difficult to find as it was on Olympia. Maybe I'll pester Alto to reissue it.

And the symphonies? ;D I have all the Olympia releases myself but others would jump at the chance ;D

Offline Daverz

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2008, 11:02:34 PM »
Apart from Symphony 5 and 6 my favourite work is the Piano Quintet Op 18; worthy to stand alongside that of his friend Shostakovich. Difficult to find as it was on Olympia. Maybe I'll pester Alto to reissue it.

There's a new recording on RCA:



Oops, bhodges already metioned it below.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2008, 02:43:36 AM »
There's a new recording on RCA:



Oops, bhodges already metioned it below.

Thank you.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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