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Weinberg Mieczysław

Aitken, Robert

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Weinberg, Mieczysław

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Yun, Isang

Flute Concerto No 2, Op. 148bis

By Weinberg Mieczysław

M. Weinberg: Flute Concerto No 2, Op. 148bis was written in 1987 and dedicated to Alexander Korneyev. This was the last instrumental concerto composed by Weinberg. Initially scored for full orchestra, later reworked into a string orchestra version.

As David Fanning describes in his book "Mieczysław Weinberg: In Search of Freedom" describes this concerto:
…classically pure as, say, Richard Strauss’s late concert works, and the mood at the outset is straightforward and pastoral. Following the practice of his cello and trumpet concertos, just after the halfway point in the Allegretto finale, Weinberg slips in quotations from favourite pieces in the flute repertoire: The ‘Dance of the Blessed Spirits’ from Gluck’s Orfeo and Euridice and the ‘Badinerie’ from Bach’s Overture (Suite) No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067, alternating fragments in such a way that they seem to be glimpsed behind an impenetrable veil."

Claudia Stein

David Robert Coleman (conductor), Szczecin Philharmonic Orchestra, 2019 Naxos

1. Allegro

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Claudia Stein

David Robert Coleman (conductor), Szczecin Philharmonic Orchestra, 2019 Naxos

2. Largo

00:00
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Claudia Stein

David Robert Coleman (conductor), Szczecin Philharmonic Orchestra, 2019 Naxos

3. Allegretto

00:00
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Weinberg Mieczysław

Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996) was born in Warsaw in a musical family. His father was a violinist, composer, and musical director at a Jewish theatre, and the first music teacher of the young Mieczysław.
In 1933 he continued his piano studies at the Warsaw Conservatory under tuition of Józef Turczyński.
After fleeing Poland after the German invasion in 1939, he studied composition in Minsk (now Belorussia) with Vassily Zolotaryov, a disciple of Balakirev and Rimsky-Korsakov. The day after his final examinations in June 1941 the Wehrmacht rolled into Russia and Weinberg was again forced to flee. He found work as a coach at the Tashkent opera house in eastern Uzbekistan. Many intellectuals and artists had been evacuated here, among them the illustrious actor and theatre director Solomon Mikhoels, a Latvian Jew whose daughter, Natalia Vovsi, Weinberg would soon marry.
Immensely impressed by his First Symphony, Shostakovich organized for Weinberg to come to Moscow. He arrived in the capital in 1943 and remained there until his death in 1996.
Weinberg claimed that Shostakovich had introduced him to “a new continent” in music, and despite the 12-year age difference and Shostakovich’s burgeoning reputation, the nature of their relationship was collegial rather than that of master and student. They lived in the same Moscow apartment block; saw each other regularly, and played through one another’s compositions, often in arrangements for two pianos.
When Stalin’s anti-Semitic purges began again in 1948, Solomon Mikhoels, Weinberg’s father-in-law, was murdered by the KGB (the state secret police), his corpse run over by a truck and his death described as “an accident”. So began a particularly depressing period in Soviet musical history. Weinberg himself was arrested in January 1953 and charged with conspiring to establish a Jewish republic in Crimea.
Shostakovich, wrote to Stalin and his equally unpredictable security chief, Lavrenti Beria, protesting Weinberg’s innocence. Weinberg, incarcerated in sub-zero temperatures was deprived of sleep and interrogated. It was only Stalin’s propitious death on March 5th, 1953 that led to Weinberg’s public rehabilitation and ultimate release.

Weinberg lost many relatives in the war, including his parents and sister who died at the Trawniki camp, about 90 miles southeast of Warsaw. His experience of hate and racism informs his music to a very considerable degree. He contemplates the horrors of repression, the suffering of the Jews, and in particular the loss of children in many of his works.