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Lark Reviews, September 2019

I have to admit not knowing Weinberg before encountering this new recording and made the mistake of assuming it was by Weinberger. No connection of course and these lyrical chamber pieces speak eloquently for themselves. The composer did not have an easy time and spent the last years of his life in obscurity, his style now very much out of fashion. Thankfully we are—I hope—more open to recognising quality regardless of whether it happens to be fashionable or not and these are certainly worth following up in their own right. © 2019 Lark Reviews

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2019

Though on disc there is an effort to establish Mieczyslaw Weinberg as one of the great Russian composers of the 20th century, the concert hall is less accommodating. His life story is one of unremitting sadness brought about by the Second World War, an eventual friendship with Shostakovich saving him from further Soviet persecution, and managing to salvage his life as a composer. In that final period he was to become highly prolific in all genres, particularly the theatre. No one seemed to notice in that period of musical rehabilitation that the First Chamber Symphony of 1986 was an orchestral version of his Second String Quartet composed in 1940 when he was twenty-one and still a student in Minsk, that quartet already recirculated in a revised version. It broke no new boundaries, a hint of Shostakovich’s style unable to bring it into the contemporary music world. Not that this will concern today’s conservative audiences, the gentle and almost autumnal shades of the second movement’s Andante and the following Allegro, are offset by the scurrying final Presto. Four years later, in 1990, came the Third Chamber Symphony, this time using the Fifth String Quartet as its starting point, though going far enough away as to be seen as a new composition. Stylistically it is in a different world to the first, the opening is in a sparse, dark and cold world, offset, as often in Shostakovich, by a scherzo in a ‘naughty’ mood to please the audience. It is a humour short lived and we move to a despairing Adagio and a finale that holds out little hope for a happier world. It was recorded at the thirteenth Yuri Bashmet International Music Festival, and, by coincidence, it was Bashmet who gave the world the previous recording of the First Chamber Symphony. The orchestra here is specially formed for the occasion with soloists and orchestral principals arriving from around the world. They are obviously an outstanding ensemble first formed four years ago by the conductor, Rostislav Krimer, their fine quality ideally captured by the sound engineers. © 2019 David's Review Corner

Lynn René Bayley
The Art Music Lounge, August 2019

The East-West Chamber Orchestra, the resident group of Yuri Bashmet’s International Music Festival, is a crack unit that plays with superb precision and clarity. Krimer, who is a pianist as well as a conductor, is the Festival’s artistic director. His conducting style is straightforward and clean, although not as emotional or as well nuanced as Duczmal-Mróz’s performances. By and large, however, the readings here will certainly satisfy most listeners © 2019 The Art Music Lounge Read complete review

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