Milena Antoniewicz: Mieczyslaw Weinberg Works for Violin & Piano

Milena Antoniewicz: Mieczyslaw Weinberg Works for Violin & Piano
Title: Mieczyslaw Weinberg Works for Violin & Piano
Label: CD Baby

RecArt presents a new album with chamber music for violin and piano of a distinguished Polish composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg - 20th century creator compared by musicologists to Dimitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev. Artist whose tragic fate intertwined with the history of the Second World War and Jewish persecution. In recording participated Ewelina Nowicka - violin and Milena Antoniewicz - piano Media patronage: TVP Kultura, Radio Merkury, Twoja Muza magazine and Culture. Pl Discovering Weinberg by Ewelina Nowicka. Weinberg's music is about magnitude - large and original phrases with evocative dynamics. We leave the music halls for the open space of freedom. Nowadays Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919-1996) is considered one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. During his lifetime Weinberg was perceived as a talented and much appreciated composer in the former USSR. He was a close friend and follower of Dmitri Shostakovich. Music lovers would even sometimes name Weinberg but really mean Shostakovich. A thorough analysis of Weinberg's compositions resulted in a clear conclusion that, although stylistically similar to Shostakovich, Weinberg's compositions are unique. Polish audience is particularly interested in raising Weinberg's profile on the European scale of contemporary classical composers. Weinberg was of Polish-Jewish origin (born in Warsaw), spoke Polish all his life, was largely influenced by the Polish culture and based his works on the Polish poets Adam Mickiewicz, Julian Tuwim and Leopold Staff. Globally, Weinberg is classified as a Russian composer of Polish-Jewish descent, known under the Russian name of Moisey Weinberg. On every day basis, however, Weinberg went by his Polish name, to which he then officially reverted in the early 1980's under the order of the court. Weinberg was born in Poland and became a promising talented piano student of Józef Turczynski at the Warsaw Conservatory, giving his first recital at the age of 10. Weinberg attracted attention of Józef Hofmann who wanted him to pursue further piano studies in the United States. The outbreak of World War II brought these plans to an end. In 1939, Weinberg escaped to the East. He came to Minsk where he studied composition under Vasily Zolotarev, the student of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. German invasion of the Soviet Union forced Weinberg to escape further into the inland of USSR. He worked in Tashkent as a pianist at the local opera. In 1942 Weinberg wrote his first Symphony and, intuitively, sent it to Dmitri Shostakovich, who appreciated Weinberg's work and invited him to Moscow. This was the beginning of not only long friendship between the two composers but the start of creative collaboration between two equals sharing similar values and styles. Weinberg never belonged to the Communist Party and tried to distance himself from the political reality. However, he officially had to accept and support the political system. Although Weinberg was not criticised as much as Shostakovich, he was nevertheless imprisoned in 1953. Had Stalin not passed away, Weinberg would have most certainly been executed by NKVD, or deported to the Siberian gulag. What is more, within the context of these times, Weinberg had the misfortune of being the son-in-law of the great Russian-Jewish actor, Solomon Mikhoels, the chairman of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. Mikhoels would travel to the United States collecting necessary finance from the American Jewish community in the fight against the Nazi Germany. The foundation of the modern State of Israel prompted hopes among Russian Jews for a formation of an autonomous Jewish Republic within the USSR. Mikhoels was in the meantime assassinated in January 1949, with his death reported as a car accident in Minsk, followed then by the official funeral in Moscow. The Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee was then dissolved, with it's founders either executed or detained in gulags. Weinberg survived the persecution of January 1948, but he was captured by Stalin's secret service in 1953. In that year, Stalin focused on a set-up story of the Kremlin doctors who were to be held responsible for planing to poison USSR leaders. And, unfortunate for Weinberg, Mikhoel's brother, prof. Miron Vovsi, was one of the Kremlin doctors. In 1953, a few hours after the concert performance of Weinberg's Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes opus 47/2 (for violin and orchestra) by David Oistrakh and Natan Rakhlin, Weinberg was arrested and detained at the Lubyanka under the charges of antagonising Crimea against the USSR. Shostakovich reacted to Weinberg's arrest in two ways: first, he wrote a letter to Lavrentiy Beria requesting Weinberg's release, and, at the same time, applied and won temporary custody over Weinberg's young daughter to protect her from orphanage. Shostakovich's letter made no impact. With Stalin's death in March 1953, Weinberg was released and the Kremlin doctors' story cleared. As a composer in the Soviet Union Weinberg was clearly respected and his music was often performed by the renowned instrumentalists such as Leonid Kogan, David Oistrakh and Mstislav Rostropovich. Few vinyl discs, published by the record label Melodia, were, however, distributed in the West. And, although, nowadays it is considered that the 20th century Russia had three significan composers: Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Weinberg, this was actually not the perception at that time. Globally, Weinberg, as opposed to Shostakovich, was virtually unknown as an composer. He was only recognised for his musical score to the Russian blockbuster The Cranes Are Flying; the film winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Festival. At the end of his life, Weinberg was seriously ill with mental depression because of the inability to continue his work. Most of all, he felt underrated as a global classical composer. Weinberg's output is impressive and includes over 150 opuses: 26 symphonies, 6 concertos, 17 string quartets, 4 cantatas and 7 operas (i.e. one of them based on the novel by Zofia Posmysz - The Passenger). The time has now come for Weinberg. Record labels such as Olympia, CPO, Naxos and Chandos have released several recordings of Weinberg's works. The conductor, Gabriel Chmura, plays a vital role in raising Weinberg's global profile. Chmura has recorded to date three CDs by Weinberg for the record label Chandos, predominantly for distribution in the United Kingdom, Europe. The discs are currently unavailable on the Polish music market. David Fanning, a British musicologist, is the only one who has written a biography about Weinberg In Search of Freedom, published in English and German by Wolke Verlag. Over the last three years, there has been a significant increase in events and articles on the composer in Poland: a Weinberg Conference was organized in 2007 by prof. Michal Bristiger who then commented further in magazines such as De Musica or Zeszyty Literackie; other articles were written by Jacek Hawryluk in Gazeta Wyborcza, by Dorota Szwarcman in Midrasz and on internet; and, finally another article was published in Ruch Muzyczny. Despite all of this, the audience is yet to discover some of Weinberg's masterpieces, such as his Concertino opus 42, Sonatina opus 46 (for violin and piano), or the Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes opus 47 no. 1/3. The three-part Concertino opus 42 was written in 1948 during Stalinist attack on classical music. The background of the composition is unclear as the original manuscript is lost. The work exists in two versions: for violin and string orchestra, and for violin and piano. It's harmony and melodies take us back into Weinberg's Jewish town; with quiet cries contrasting dynamic rhythms in the later parts of this masterpiece. The Sonatina opus 46, dedicated to the Russian composer Boris Tchaikovsky, was written in 1949 and performed for the first time in 1955 by Leonid Kogan and the pianist Andrei Mitnik in Moscow. It consists of three parts: first - a lyrical one, second

1.1 Concertino Op. 42: I. Allegretto Cantabile
1.2 Concertino Op. 42: II. Cadenza. Lento - Adagio
1.3 Concertino Op. 42: III. Allegro Moderato Poco Rubato
1.4 Sonatina Op. 46: I. Allegretto
1.5 Sonatina Op. 46: II. Lento - Allegro - Tempo Primo
1.6 Sonatina Op. 46: III. Allegro Moderato - Lento
1.7 Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes Op. 47/3

Milena Antoniewicz: Mieczyslaw Weinberg Works for Violin & Piano

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