Mieczysław Weinberg – Recommended Recordings

Mieczyslaw _Weinberg_laurson_600 Classical Critic
Updated August 14, 2018
Weinberg, Piano Quintet…

Piano Quintet & Quartet no. 8, Borodin String Quartet, M. Weinberg (piano),
Melodiya 1001998

Pretty much regardless of your preferences (orchestra, vocal, chamber), this should be your first listen-stop on your Weinberg tour of discovery. Some of the greatest Soviet artists and the composer himself giving their best in two of Weinberg’s finest works. Unmissable.

Orchestral Works

Weinberg, Sys 1 & 7

Symphonies nos. 1 & 7, Gothenburg SO, Thord Svedlund,
Chandos 5078

Symphony no. 3, Suite no. 4 from The Golden Key, Gothenburg SO, Thord Svedlund,
Chandos 5089

Symphony no. 5, Sinfonietta no. 1, National Polish RSO Katowice, Gabriel Chmura, Chandos 10128

Symphony no. 6, Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes, St.Petersburg State SO, Vladimir Lande, Naxos 8.572779

Symphony no. 8 “Polish Flowers”, Warsaw PO & Choir, Antoni Wit et al., Naxos 8.572873

Weinberg, Sys 4 & 6

Symphonies nos. 4 & 6, Moscow PO, Kirill Kondrashin, Melodiya 1000986 (oop)

Symphonies nos. 7 & 12, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Rudolf Barshai & USSR TV & Radio SO, Maxim Shostakovich, Olympia (oop) or Symphony 12 & Flute Concerto, Russia Disc (oop)

Symphonies nos. 14 & 16, National Polish RSO Katowice, Gabriel Chmura, Chandos 10334

Weinberg, Symphony no.19 et al.

Symphony no. 19 “The Bright May”, Banners of Piece, St.Petersburg State SO, Vladimir Lande, Naxos 8.572752

Symphony no. 4, Violin Concerto, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Kirill Kondrashin, Leonid Kogan (violin), Olympia 622

(nla, but watch for a reissue)

Violin Concerto, (+ B. Britten Violin Concerto), Ilya Grubert, Dmitry Yablonsky, Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Challenge Classics SACD 72627

Weinberg, Concertino & Moldavian Rhapsody

Violin Concertino, Moldavian Rhapsody (orch.), (+ K. A. Hartmann, Concerto funebre; D.Shostakovich, Unfinished Sonata), Linus Roth, Ruben Gazarian, Württemberg CO Heilbronn, Challenge Classics SACD 72680

The Concertino and the Rhapsody are absolute delights that would have you believe in the bright side of Weinberg: magnificent lyrical sweep and tender gracefulness spell a seemingly untroubled dose of late romanticism. Coupled the great (if dark) Hartmann concerto and a Shostakovich world premiere, this is a very easy recommendation. Ditto the recording that couples the considerably more stern Violin Concerto with an excellent reading of the Britten Concerto above.

Weinberg & Myaskovsky, Violin Concertos

Violin Concerto, (+ N. Mayaskovsky Violin Concerto), Ilya Grubert, Dmitry Yablonsky, Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Naxos 8.557194

Concertino for violin and string orchestra
 (+ Violin Concertos by J. Conus & A. Arensky), Artist (violin), Conductor Name, Orchestra, Naxos 8.572631

Chamber Symphonies nos. 1 & 4, Umea SO, Thord Svedlund, Alto / Musical Concepts 1036

Symphony no. 2, Chamber Symphony no. 2, Umea SO, Thord Svedlund,
Alto / Musical Concepts 1037 (oop)

Weinberg, Chamber Symphonies 3 & 4

Chamber Symphonies nos. 3 & 4, Umea SO, Thord Svedlund,
Chandos 5146

Chamber Symphonies nos. 1, 3, & 4, Misha Rachlevsky, Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, Claves 9811

Fantasia for Cello and Orchestra, Concertos nos. 1 & 2 for Flute and Orchestra, Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra, Anders Jonhäll (flute), Urban Claesson (clarinet), Claes Gunnarsson (cello), Gothenburg SO, Thord Svedlund, Chandos 5064

Chamber Music

Complete String Quartets nos. 1-17, Quatuor Danel, CPO 777 913

(also available individually on:
Quartets nos. 1, 3, & 10; Aria; Capriccio, CPO 777 566 ,
Quartets nos. 4 & 16, CPO 777 313,
Quartets nos. 7, 11, & 1, CPO 777 392,
Quartets nos. 2, 12, & 17, CPO 777 587,
Quartets nos. 6, 8, & 15, CPO 777 393,
Quartets nos. 5, 9, & 14, CPO 777 394)

Weinberg, Piano Quintet et al.

Piano Quintet; Sonata for Clarinet and Piano; Jewish Songs after Shmuel Halkin,
RCA Red Seal 87769

Cello Sonatas nos. 1 & 2 (+ Boris Tchaikovsky’s Cello Sonata), Alla Vasilieva (cello) & M. Weinberg (piano), Russian Disc 11026

Weinberg, Complete Violin & Piano Works

Complete Violin Sonatas; Sonatina; Moldavian Rhapsody op.47/3, 3 Pieces, Linus Roth, José Gallardo, Challenge Classics 72567

Violin Sonatas nos. 1 & 4; Sonatina; Sonata for Solo Violin no. 1, Yuri Kalnits, Michael Csányi-Wills, Toccata Classics 0007

Violin Sonatas nos. 2 & 5; Sonatina; Sonata for Solo Violin no. 2, Moldavian Rhapsody op.47/3, Yuri Kalnits, Michael Csányi-Wills, Toccata Classics 0026

Weinberg, Complete Sonatas for Viola Solo

Complete Sonatas for Viola Solo, Clarinet Sonata op.28 Version for Viola and Piano (+ Fyodor Drzuhinin, Sonata for Viola Solo), Julia Rebekka Adler, Jascha Nemtsov, Neos 11008/09

Complete Music for Solo Cello, Josef Feigelson,
vol.1, Naxos 8.572280

vol. 2, Naxos 8.572281


available at Amazon
Weinberg, The Passenger

The Passenger♀, Theodor Currentzis, VSO, Michelle Breedt et al., NEOS Blu-ray 51005

Weinberg’s operas are astounding – at least the two that have gotten any play in the last few years. The Passenger (No.3 on my Best Recordings of 2011, ionarts), especially in its performance at the 2010 Bregenz Festival, did much to spur the Weinberg renaissance. It is undoubtedly the best opera with the Holocaust as its topic but moreover (and more importantly), it is one of the great 20th century operas. Don’t take my word for it, though, if Shostakovich’s suits you better: “I simply cannot stop enthusing about Weinberg’s The Passenger. I’ve heard it three times now, studied the score, and every time I understand more of the beauty and greatness of this music. It is a work of consummate form and style and its subject extremely relevant. …Weinberg’s own life and fate have de facto dictated him the work; the drama of the opera’s music is harrowing… there isn’t a single ‘empty’ or indifferent note in it. …I’m glad for every opportunity to help this opera which I love and believe in.”

Weinberg, Idiot

Idiot, National Theater Mannheim, Thomas Sanderling, soloists, Pan Classics PC10328

It may be controversial to some, but I think that Weinberg’s last opera, The Idiot, is better still. Not that it’s a race. If you are into the operas of Britten and Janáček, these are a must. (See also my review of the premiere of the full orchestral version in Mannheim on ionarts and my review of the recording on Forbes.com: The 10 Best Classical Recordings Of 2016)

Piano Music

Weinberg, Children’s Notebooks, Sonata No.1

Children’s Notebooks, Sonata No.1, Elisaveta Blumina, cpo 777 517

Complete Piano Works, Allison Brewster Franzetti, Grand Piano GP 698-701

Piano Sonatas 1-3, 17 Easy Pieces op.24 (Russian Piano Music Series v.9), Murray McLachlan, Divine Arts dda25105

Piano Sonatas 4-6 (Russian Piano Music Series v.10), Murray McLachlan, Divine Arts dda25107

The piano sonatas of Weinberg’s are very good stuff, but not in the emaciated interpretations of Allison Brewster Franzetti, whose overview of Weinberg’s complete piano output is laudable and helpful, but largely in a documentary, not interpretative sense. Murray McLachlan is clearly the performer to go, for the sonatas. (See also my review on Forbes.com: Classical CD Of The Week: Murray McLachlan, The Early Weinberg-Champion, Still Shines and ionarts’ “Best Recordings of 2012“. Elisaveta Blumina shines where she is a supplement to McLachlan.


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