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Byzantion
MusicWeb International, December 2012

…this is not like any symphony of Shostakovich’s. Weinberg sounds like Weinberg. Perhaps surprisingly, given the fact that around half a dozen of his Symphonies have still not been commercially recorded, the Sixth has been done at least five times, most recently by Vladimir Fedoseyev and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Singverein… Taking into consideration audio quality and the presence of a splendid native-Russian choir, this Naxos recording must be the new first choice.

…the SPSSO are quite at home in these works, especially when so convincingly conducted by the under-rated Lande. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Roger Hecht
American Record Guide, September 2012

This is the third recording of Moisei Vainberg’s Sixth Symphony that I’m aware of. I do not know the other recordings of these works, but these are first rate. The sound and Whitehouse’s notes are worthy partners. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online



Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, September 2012

Naxos’s series of Weinberg releases, which so far includes three CDs of his cello music, is augmented here with this release of his wonderful Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes and innovative Symphony No. 6.

The Rhapsody begins softly, mysteriously, but builds into an impressive musical structure in which the music almost morphs from one section to another rather than sounding forcibly juxtaposed. These Moldavian themes have a certain Sephardic quality about them, a soulful minor-key tendency that influences one’s emotional reaction to the music even in the most energetic passages. Wisely, too, Weinberg does not over-write, so the piece doesn’t overstay its welcome.

This is remarkable music, excellently played and sung by the various forces involved…Vladimir Lande’s performance is very fine. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review



Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, September 2012

These both are terrific works, and you’re missing out if you don’t get to know them. The symphony dates from 1963, and reflects both the composer’s Jewish background and his sympathy—and hopes—for young people. For me, it is a completely satisfactory presentation of a very fine symphony.

The symphony is preceded by the Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes, a work from 1949. This is less serious in tone than the symphony, and less innovative in form, but still the work of a composer who knows how to express himself. Apparently Weinberg uses real Moldavian folk melodies, but even if this is a medley, it is not a simple-minded concatenation of tunes, but a work of imagination and personality. Again, it is given a very satisfactory performance by Lande and the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra.

Have you made Weinberg’s acquaintance yet? The music on this CD is approachable, important, and of the highest quality, so this would be a good place to start, especially given the strength of these performances. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review



David Fanning
Gramophone, August 2012

Weinberg entrusted three of his five movements to boys’ voices…The boys of Glinka Choral College carry the responsibility well here, showing up the limitations of the brave but non-native Russian singing on Fedoseyev’s Neos disc and of the adult female voices for Ahronovich…Lande conducts with an understanding and fervour that is greatly superior to both Fedoseyev version…Naxos should be thanked for giving us this worthwhile stop-gap. If it heralds recordings of Weinberg’s later, as yet unrecorded, vocal symphonies, that will certainly be cause for hats in the air. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Robert R. Reilly
Crisis Magazine, August 2012

Naxos has issued a splendid new recording of Weinberg’s Symphony No. 6, with the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, under Vladimir Lande…It begins with a hauntingly beautiful horn theme, which recurs and is developed throughout. Several of its movements include a children’s choir. Despite its gruesome subject matter, the murder of Jewish children, it is an ultimately affirmative work, suffused with faith and hope. © 2012 Crisis Magazine Read complete review



Robert Cummings
Classical Net, June 2012

…the Sixth Symphony…is a dark work, with a long first movement filled with tension and emotional turmoil…a powerful impression is left.

There are three middle movements approximately half as long…and a finale of about ten minutes in length. The second, fourth and fifth movements feature a boys chorus, and the first of these is quite colorful and rhythmic, with a text on youthful subjects by Lev Kvitko…

The Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes is a colorful composition for the most part…The latter half of this thirteen-minute work is quite attractive in its exoticism and folkish vigor. Both pieces on this CD are performed with commitment and accuracy by the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, under the knowing baton of Vladimir Lande. The Glinka Choral College Boys’ Choir also turn in splendid work. The Naxos sound is powerful and clear. If you admire 20th century music or are looking for a substantive alternative to Shostakovich, this release should prove of great interest. © 2012 Classical Net Read complete review



Infodad.com, May 2012

This symphony [Symphony No. 6]…is a large work but not an overwhelming or ungainly one, lacking some of Shostakovich’s scope but also avoiding some of the older composer’s excesses. Vladimir Lande leads it with understanding and deep sensitivity—this would be a welcome first volume in a cycle of all of Weinberg’s symphonies. The Naxos CD also includes the vivid Rhapsody on Moravian Themes, a 1949 work that ranges between melancholia and high, almost frenetic spirits, and ends with a very upbeat dance. © 2012 Infodad.com Read complete review



WQXR (New York), May 2012

The Symphony No. 6 for boy’s chorus and orchestra Op. 79 (1963) helped establish Weinberg’s reputation within Russia and remains his best-known composition. This is a work of huge expression, encompassing lament, burlesque, circus gallops and a heartrending slow movement. The Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes is a concise and joyous medley of folk-influenced tunes. © 2012 WQXR (New York) Read complete review



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, May 2012

The [Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes] is a 15-minute work that brings much Slavic color into its concise form. It is a good prelude to the more ambitious, sprawling Sixth Symphony, which is scored for large orchestra and boys’ choir.

the 6th is a work of great dynamism and charm, and the presence of the boy’s choir gives it a sort of youthful innocence to contrast with some of the more caustic, somber moments.

The performance is quite good…Weinberg’s Sixth should be enjoyed by anyone who follows and appreciates the 20th century composers of the Eastern Bloc. It most certainly has regenerated an interest in the composer for me. Get this one and enjoy!! © 2012 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review



Chris Hathaway
Classical 91.7 KUHA, May 2012

There is always clarity, a seeking of "chamber" effects from large forces; there is always a sense of musical architecture as well as one of musico-dramatic continuity.  Weinberg's skilful use of the entire tonal palette—including sotto voce percussion—never lets the orchestra overwhelm the voices.

Weinberg's voice is unique—it is personal and at the same time evocative of something outside of himself. Vladimir Lande…catches this spirit admirably, and the boys' chorus and orchestra are superb. Naxos has done a great service in bringing this much-neglected composer's music back to life. © 2012 Classical 91.7 KUHA Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2012

In the past five years the Polish-born Russian composer, Mieczysław Weinberg, has emerged out of the shadow of his friend, Dmitry Shostakovich. Born in Warsaw in 1919, he went to find safety in Russia when the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, only to find himself imprisoned under the Stalin regime. His rehabilitation came as a pawn of the regime who needed music to disparaged Prokofiev and Shostakovich, and he remained silent when others decried the treatment of political dissidents. That backdrop did not fit with the ideals of the Western media who were looking to elevate dissidents when the Communist State came to an end, and his music sank into obscurity. The Sixth Symphony dates from 1963, the year following the notorious premiere of Shostakovich’s Thirteenth Symphony. The first movement opens in dark and sombre tones that could well have come from Shostakovich, but then, as if to please his Communist overlords, he uses boys voices to tell the story of the boy who makes his own violin so as to play to animals and birds. A boisterous dance follows in the style of Khachaturian, before the apocalyptic opening of the fourth movement, when, mirroring Shostakovich, Weinberg reworks one of his Jewish Songs of 1944, taking us into the graveyard of murdered children. To pacify everyone he ends with a lullaby that foretells of a bright tomorrow—but does the final orchestral bars really believe it?  The singing of the Glinka Choral College Boys’ Choir is superb both in tonal quality and security of intonation. The Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes is exciting and pleasing… The sound of the St.Petersburg State Symphony—who play with admirable impact—and the recording quality reminds me of my much treasured Russian discs of forty and more years ago. © David’s Review Corner



Stephen Habington
Classical Music Sentinel, April 2012

This is an important and timely release. Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919-1996 and also known as Moishei Vainberg or Vaynberg) has achieved prominence in the past two decades thanks to an expanding torrent of recordings of his works. As though blessed by divine providence, the composer’s legacy benefitted from excellent performances and typically first-class audio conveyance. This issue from Naxos is no exception in terms of quality. By 2010, Weinberg was the featured composer at the Bregenz Festival with performances of 20 of his works including operas. The man once described as ‘the Jewish Shostakovich’ is now spoken of as the equal of Shostakovich and Prokofiev at the summit of Soviet music. Weinberg created strong music but avoided the bombastic irony of the former and quicksilver chain-rattling brilliance of the latter. In depth and breadth of feeling, this music can speak to the present day miseries of the new world disorder. In many respects, the continuing revelation of Weinberg resembles the 1960s discovery phase of the Mahler boom. Naxos has previously favoured Weinberg with recordings of chamber music and two accounts of the violin concerto. This venture into the symphonic realm at bargain price should induce more collectors to become acquainted with the composer. It is also good to see renewed Russian interest in this music which was studiously ignored during the last two decades of Weinberg’s life. Fortunately for us, he resolutely continued to compose. © 2012 Classical Music Sentinel Read complete review






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