Academic journal article Notes

Chamber Works by Vainberg

Academic journal article Notes

Chamber Works by Vainberg

Article excerpt

CHAMBER WORKS BY VAINBERG Mieczyslaw Weinberg. Sonate Nr. 1 für Violine solo = Sonata No. 1 for Violin Solo, Opus 82. Hamburg: Sikorski Musikverlag, 2014. [Score, p. 1-24. ISMN 979-0-003-04040-0, pub. no. H.S. 2432. i16.]

Mieczyslaw Weinberg. Sonate Nr. 2 für Violine solo = Sonata No. 2 for Violin Solo, Opus 95. Hamburg: Sikorski Musikverlag, 2014. [Score, p. 1-14. ISMN 979-0-003-04041-7, pub. no. H.S. 2433. i12.]

Mieczyslaw Weinberg. 24 Präludien für Violoncello solo = 24 Preludes for Violoncello Solo. Hamburg: Sikorski Musikverlag, [2014]. [Score, p. 1-36. ISMN 979-0-003-03936-7, pub. no. H.S. 2420. i20.50.]

Mieczyslaw Weinberg. Drei Palmen = Three Palms. Poem nach Versen von Michail Lermontow für Sopran und Streichquartett = Poem on Verses by Mikhail Lermontov for Soprano and String Quartet, Opus 120. Hamburg: Sikorski Musikverlag, 2013. [Score, p. 1-36 + 4 parts (Violino I, Violino II, Viola, and Violoncello). ISMN 979-0-003-04035-6, pub. no. H.S. 2430. i37.]

Mieczyslaw Weinberg. Streichquartett Nr. 14 = String Quartet No. 14, Opus 122. Hamburg: Sikorski Musikverlag, 2012. [Score, p. 1-34 + 4 parts (Violino I, Violino II, Viola, and Violoncello). ISMN 979-0-00303876-6, pub. no. H.S. 2414. i36.50.]

Mieczyslaw Weinberg. Streichquartett Nr. 15 = String Quartet No. 15, Opus 124. Hamburg: Sikorski Musikverlag, 2012. [Score, p. 1-40 + 4 parts (Violino I, Violino II, Viola, and Violoncello). ISMN 979-0-00303877-3, pub. no. H.S. 2415. i38.50.]

In recent years, Mieczyslaw Weinberg (or Mosei Vainberg, to use the spelling adopted by the Library of Congress; the latter will be used in this review) has been celebrated as a confident voice in Soviet music, and promoted as a lyrical complement to Shostakovich's grotesque and monumental styles. In particular, Vainberg's chamber music has proven popular among performers and audiences alike. The editions featured here lack any foreword or commentary, and as a result, some introduction to his life and times may be helpful.

Vainberg (1919-1996) was a PolishJewish immigrant to the U.S.S.R. who achieved great success during his heyday, but eventually fell into neglect toward the end of his life. His biography is certainly unique: he evaded the Nazis twice, only to suffer anti-Semitism at the hands of the Soviets. In addition, his father-in-law was murdered on Stalin's orders in 1948, and Vainberg himself was briefly imprisoned in 1953 on trumped-up charges of "Jewish bourgeois nationalism." Despite such treatment, Vainberg continued to hail the U.S.S.R. as his savior from the Nazis, since his close family remained in Poland only to be murdered in the Holocaust (for an excellent overview of Vainberg's life and works, see David Fanning, Mieczyslaw Weinberg: In Search of Freedom [Hofheim: Wolke, 2010]).

Vainberg was an extremely prolific composer, producing twenty-six symphonies, seventeen string quartets, seven operas, some two-dozen song cycles, and around thirty instrumental sonatas. While some critics prematurely dismissed him as a "little Shostakovich," many have since come to appreciate his highly expressive voice. Vainberg and Shostakovich were close friends, and they showed each other their works in progress-in some cases, ideas can be shown to have originated from the younger composer (see Daniel Elphick, "Weinberg, Shostakovich, and the Influence of Anxiety," The Musical Times 155, no. 1929 [Winter 2014]: 49-62). In a handful of instances, it is difficult to surmise where ideas first originated. As a result, a considerable number of critics now speak of Vainberg as the third composer of Soviet music, after Shostakovich and Prokofiev.

The revival since his death has resulted from the tireless efforts of many individuals, performers and critics alike. The biggest success in recent years has been David Pountney's production of The Passenger, a Holocaust-themed opera that can lay claim to being Vainberg's masterpiece. His two main publishers, PeerMusic and Sikorski, have also driven the revival, and both have been successful in providing practical and affordable performance editions. …

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