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Weinberg: Symphony No. 18 "War - there is no word more cruel"; Trumpet Concerto / Andrew Balio, trumpet

Album Summary

>Weinberg, Mieczyslaw : Concerto for Trumpet in B flat major, Op. 94
>Weinberg, Mieczyslaw : Symphony no 18, Op. 138
Performer Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Dedicated to 'the memory of those who fell in the Great Patriotic War' (1941-45), Symphony No. 18 is the centerpiece of Weinberg's symphonic trilogy On the Threshold of War. This is the fourth recording of Weinberg Symphonies from these artists.

BBC Music Magazine, July 2014
The present performance boasts a compelling contribution from Andrew Balio, who revels in the witticism of the Finale while also encapsulating the darker undertones of the wistful central movement. The St Petersburg State Symphony offers strong support.

Financial Times, 15th June 2014
The Symphony No 18, subtitled "War - there is no word more cruel", is grandly conceived but imperfectly sustained....In the Trumpet Concerto, played by Andrew Balio, the sardonic outer movements come from a different universe to the weighty, pensive slow movement.

Gramophone Magazine, August 2014
Lande and the St Petersburg State Symphony with the St Petersburg Chamber Choir here maintain the standard of their previous Weinberg recordings, which is to say that the depth of sound and the dramatic intensity of their Soviet counterparts are rarely matched.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: St. Catherine Lutheran Church, St. Petersburg, Russia (2010-12-25&2010-12-27&2012-).


Interesting and moving works from Weinberg…
This recording consists of Weinberg’s Trumpet Concerto as well as his 18th Symphony (“War, there is no word more cruel”). Weinberg was born in Warsaw, and was a highly regarded pianst – but the Nazi occupation forced him to flee his homeland and eventually move to Moscow. The well written liner notes indicate that he wrote his 1st Symphony there, and that the piece impressed Shostakovich – they also indicate that he was briefly imprisoned for alleged Jewish subversion prior to the death of Stalin, which obviously colored the works presented here.

The trumpet concerto, while clearly a contemporary piece, has very approachable Mendelssohnian characteristics, while at the same time being somewhat reminiscent of some of the works of Stravinsky. However, this work (while most definitely a non-trivial exercise for the soloist), is most definitely enjoyable, albeit with a certain amount of patience for the sonic discontinuities present in the piece.

As for Symphony No. 18, it is clear that the unrest present in the Soviet Union at the time is reflected in the piece. The chorus, however, does a marvelous job of bringing the text to life and instilling in the listener the frightening ambivalence and intensity of the wartime experience – this work is both unsettling and appropriate at the same time, and were it not for the top-notch work put in by the St. Petersburg Chamber Choir and Music Director Nikolai Kornev, this recording would not have been nearly as captivating.

Those listeners that appreciate virtuoso Trumpet work as well as fantastic choir work in the context of war, will most certainly find more than a few things of value here. This is a marvelous, if unsettling recording, and deserves to be experienced. Recommended.

Submitted on 06/30/14 by KlingonOpera 
There Is No Word More Cruel
The Symphony 18 is a heartfelt forty-four minute work laid out in four movements. The writing is primarily tonal, somewhat unusual considering the year of composition (1982-1984). The emotional tenor is one of despair and resignation alternating with episodes of spiritual reflection and hope. The substantial orchestration is augmented by four soloists and chamber choir. Comparisons to Shostakovich are inevitable. Nonetheless, Weinberg does project a decidedly personal style, quite sophisticated in its choral writing and facility with counterpoint. The trumpet concerto is chiefly of interest because of the stunning virtuosity of the soloist, Andrew Balio. Movements I and especially II are strong in terms of invention. Movement III, incorporating several familiar quotations, is somewhat contrived. The music on this disc is technically adroit and engaging, if not always memorable. The performances are committed and reasonably well played. The sonics are airy and detailed.
Submitted on 07/02/14 by Allen Cohen 
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Works Details

>Weinberg, Mieczyslaw : Concerto for Trumpet in B flat major, Op. 94
  • Performer: Andrew Balio (Trumpet)
  • Conductor: Vladimir Lande
  • Ensemble: St. Petersburg Chamber Choir
  • Notes: St. Catherine Lutheran Church, St. Petersburg, Russia (12/25/2010/12/27/2010)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1967

>Weinberg, Mieczyslaw : Symphony no 18, Op. 138
  • Conductor: Vladimir Lande
  • Notes: St. Catherine Lutheran Church, St. Petersburg, Russia (2012-12-29_2012-12-30&2013-)
  • Running Time: 44 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Orchestral