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Monday, August 13, 2012

Weinberg Cello Concerto, Op. 43, Symphony No. 20, Claes Gunnarsson, Thord Svedlund, Gothenberg Symphony Orchestra

I conclude my informal and incomplete survey of Weinberg's symphonies on disk with another one from Thord Svedlund and the Gothenberg Symphony Orchestra, namely Weinberg's No. 20--paired with the Cello Concerto, op. 43, Claes Gunnarsson, soloist (Chandos).

The Symphony No. 20 bears the hallmarks of Weinberg's later style. Long-formed flow, a bit more dissonance, perhaps more wholly original but less directly communicating on a melodic level. The thematic material is more asymmetrical and diffuse. It is a somber affair for the most part. Its treasures do not necessarily yield themselves to us on first listen but emerge only gradually on repeated returns.

The Cello Concerto is on less rarified ground. The solo cello part is in turns plaintive, melodically somewhat Semitic, turbulent, Slavic, discursive and immediately engaging. It is a more accessible work and the orchestral accompaniment of course plays a large part in the mood painting of each movement. Gunnarsson sounds well-suited temperamentally and technically to his role. And as always Thord Svedlund and the Gothenberg Symphony combine attention to detail and passion equally for a fine set of performances.

This is another welcome release and shows a few more sides of Weinberg's multifaceted composing brilliance. It may not be quite as enthralling as a few of the disks discussed earlier. In some ways this music demands a bit more of the listener than some of his earlier symphonic works, but nonetheless--or perhaps because of that--it should be heard by those who wish a full picture of Weinberg over his career.

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