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Mieczyslaw Weinberg: String Quartets, Vol. 3

Album Summary

>Weinberg, Mieczyslaw : Quartet for Strings no 6 in E minor, Op. 35
>Weinberg, Mieczyslaw : Quartet for Strings no 8 in C minor, Op. 66
>Weinberg, Mieczyslaw : Quartet for Strings no 15, Op. 124
Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The String Quartet No. 6 of 1946 represents one of the high points in the extraordinary chamber oeuvre created by Mieczyslaw Weinberg during his early Soviet years. It was on the "index of forbidden works." Although the prohibition was soon lifted, nine years would pass before Weinberg would return to this instrumentation. The demands placed by the quartet on the listener far exceed what Shostakovich (or Weinberg himself) had written in the quartet genre prior to this point. The work operates within a symphonic framework, and its overall structure is just as flexible as the individual movements themselves. The Quartet No. 8 composed more than a decade later, in 1959, consists of a single movement more or less clearly divided into three parts. The solemn adagio opening the work functions in the manner of a slow introduction preparing for the main movement proper. The Quartet No. 15 of 1980 is tops among all of Weinberg's quartets when it comes to delight in experimentation - also in view of its overall form of nine movements. Once again the Quatuor Danel performs "with absolutely incessant, often probingly persistent intensity and at the same time with uncommon subtlety, with an impressive wealth of colors and contrasts".

"Astonishing though it may seem, Mieczysvaw Weinberg's Sixth Quartet had to wait over 60 years before receiving what is believed to have been its world premiere performance by the Quatuor Danel in January 2007.

Composed during the troubled post-war cultural climate of the Soviet Union in 1946, it fell victim to proscription by Joseph Stalin's notorious cultural henchman Andrei Zhdanov two years later and thereafter was unfairly consigned to the dustbin of history. Yet on the evidence of this extraordinary compelling and beautifully recorded performance, it's an extremely powerful and deeply affecting work.

Conceived on an epic symphonic scale in six strongly defined movements, the Sixth encompasses a huge gamut of emotions from the almost brutal Shostakovichian violence and intensity of the middle of the opening Allegro semplice to the eerie disembodied sounds that appear at the end of the fifth movement. To my mind, this is one of the finest of the entire cycle brimming with distinctive musical ideas that have an immediate impact.

The other two quartets in the Quatuor Danel's latest release are much more elusive, and perhaps should be experienced outside the orbit of the Sixth. Both have wonderful moments, especially the more elegiac Eighth. Outstandingly dedicated performances." -BBC Music *****

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Köln, Studio Stolbergstraáe.



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Works Details

>Weinberg, Mieczyslaw : Quartet for Strings no 6 in E minor, Op. 35
  • Running Time: 32 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Weinberg, Mieczyslaw : Quartet for Strings no 8 in C minor, Op. 66
  • Running Time: 17 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music

>Weinberg, Mieczyslaw : Quartet for Strings no 15, Op. 124
  • Running Time: 24 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern