“I once met Mieczysław Weinberg. It was in Russia, in the mid-1980s, at the Grand Philharmonic Hall in St. Petersburg, during the Leningrad Music Spring, an annual festival of Soviet contemporary music. What I remember most is the way Weinberg looked at people, as if he were trying to get to the bottom of your thoughts, looking for answers to the enduring questions about right and wrong, about good and evil, and about you personally ... Losing his entire family in the Holocaust raised so many questions for which he would never find the answers.
The Symphony No. 17 is one of the most complex symphonies ever written. It’s a truly representative piece of 20th-century art, where emotions of apocalyptic proportions are presented at the deepest philosophical level.
The two works on this CD could not be more contrasted, which will help listeners grasp a full understanding of this truly great composer of the 20th century – Mieczysław Weinberg.”
One of the most significant projects of Mieczysław Weinberg’s later years was his symphonic trilogy On the Threshold of War. Symphony No. 17, which bears the dedication ‘In memory of the fallen in the Great Patriotic War’, is the largest-scale of the three and a probing work of considerable depth and unforgettable power. Symphonies Nos. 18 and 19 can be heard on Naxos 8.573190 and 8.572752. With its eloquent themes and ready climaxes, the Suite is one of Weinberg’s most intriguing scores to have survived the difficult early 1950s. This performance is thought to be both the first of the work and the first recording.
Listen to an extract from Symphony No. 17, “Memory”:
III. Allegro moderato, pesante
About the Artists
Vladimir Lande is the music director and conductor of both the Siberian State Symphony Orchestra and the “Washington Soloists” Chamber Orchestra. He is also principal guest conductor of the St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra. He enjoys an active recording career, and is currently recording a 17-volume cycle of orchestral works by the neglected Russian composer Mieczysław Weinberg for Naxos. In June 2011 he also launched a series of video recordings for Naxos of Concerts from the Palaces of St Petersburg, which featured violinist Tianwa Yang and pianist Vladimir Lande.
The Siberian State Symphony Orchestra [SSSO] was founded in 1977 and soon won a reputation as one of the best orchestras in the former Soviet Union. In 1993, by special decree of the Russian Ministry of Culture, the orchestra was awarded the title of State Orchestra. In 2015 Vladimir Lande became the orchestra’s new artistic director and chief conductor. Since his appointment, the SSSO has embarked on a recording programme with international labels, including Naxos, and their televised concerts have been made available for online streaming.
Previous releases in Vladimir Lande’s Weinberg Symphony cycle
“Both works are given committed performances full of colour from an orchestra that will surely have this music in their blood. It is conducted with verve and enthusiasm by Vladimir Lande.”
– MusicWeb International
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