Monday, January 30, 2017
Mieczyslav Weinberg, Chamber Symphonies, Kremerata Baltica, Gidon Kremer
This is a set of great beauty, thanks to the assured helmsmanship of Kremer, the finely contoured string parts by Kremerata Baltica and the soloists and their obvious sympathy and enthusiasm, and the exceptionally detailed soundstaging of Manfred Eicher.
The four Chamber Symphonies are some of Weinberg's most compelling forays into an unending flow of melodic-harmonic originality. They were written between 1986 and 1992, a time when he was able to compose without the threat of being labeled anti-realist and elitist that the Stalin era often enough hurled at Russia's greatest composers, to the peril of the music and their lives. Yet too the 1944 Piano Quintet, heard here in the aptly orchestrated version by Kremer and Andrei Pushkarev, manages to ring out in characteristic Weinberg fashion.
If you seek a single release to introduce yourself to Weinberg's music, I would recommend this one without hesitation. For those already initiated this is nevertheless primo Weinberg in the excellence of performances, the brilliance of the works themselves and the superlative sound. A landmark release!
Kremerata Baltica is touring the US and Canada through February 10 in a program that includes Weinberg's "Chamber Symphony No. 4." Google Kremerata for details on dates and locations.