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Cat. No. CHSA 5107 Price: 11.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHSA 5107 - Weinberg: Symphony No. 20/Concerto
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Available From: 15 April 2012
Weinberg: Symphony No. 20/Concerto

This is the fourth album in our series dedicated to the orchestral works of Mieczyslaw Weinberg, performed by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra under Thord Svedlund. The cello soloist is Claes Gunnarsson, one of Sweden’s leading cellists, who combines the post as Principal Cello of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra with a brilliant solo career.
 After the Second World War, along with many other composers, Weinberg was subjected to a series of campaigns against so-called Formalism in the Soviet arts. As a result he turned his attention to concertante works, a medium less prone to censure than symphonies, sonatas, and quartets. The first movement of the Cello Concerto shares the tense, pensive lyricism found in the opening Nocturne of Shostakovich’s almost exactly contemporaneous First Violin Concerto. This later gives way to the rhythms of a habanera and some impassioned passages of Jewish klezmer, almost as if to guarantee a healthy quota of folk-rooted intonations (a required antidote to charges of Formalism), while at the same time allowing for deeper emotions too.
 In the 1970s, Weinberg’s symphonic production went in two distinct but complementary directions. One of these was at the patriotic end of the Socialist Realist spectrum, while the other was much more abstract. Weinberg’s highly austere five-movement Symphony No. 20 clearly falls into the latter category – challenging, perplexing, and unpredictable. In the second scherzo Weinberg quotes from his opera The Portrait, based on a short story by Gogol. In fact, the finale perfectly captures the mood of the opera’s closing scenes, in which the artist protagonist realises that he has betrayed his calling, and sinks into delirium and eventual death.
 A previous volume in our Weinberg series (CHSA 5089: Symphony No. 3 and Suite No. 4 from The Golden Key) was nominated for a Grammy this year, in the Best Engineered Album category.

Reviews

“Cellist Claes Gunnarsson plays with gorgeous tone, and with plenty of personality. In both the concerto and the symphony, Thord Svedlund and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, who have recorded several Weinberg discs for Chandos now, are confident and sympathetic advocates. .. this would be a good place to start, if you don’t know Weinberg’s music at all.”
Raymond Tuttle – Fanfare – November/December 2012   

                   Performance *****      Sound *****

"... it would be difficult to imagine a more assured and committed performance than is provided by the Gothenburg Symphony under Thord Svedlund..."
Erik Levi - BBC Music magazine - December 2012

 

                    ***** (Very Good)
"...This is great music, very well rendered by the ’Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra’ and the chief Thord Svedlund."
Marcel Louis - Pizzicato magazine - October 2012

“...Chandos now offers yet another recorded premiere: the 20th Symphony from 1988, superbly played by the Gothenburg Symphony under Thord Svedlund and captured in clear, airy, powerful sonics ...  With a plenitude of inviting tunes, appealing solo part, admirable craftsmanship, engaging but unpretentious warmth, and easy-to-grasp formal and emotional patterns, this wonderful concerto is sure to please most music lovers on first hearing and would make a good introduction to the composer for anyone who hasn’t yet discovered him....”
Lehman – American Record Guide – September/October 2012

                Recording of the Month
"There is no way to prepare the new listener for Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s cello concerto. I cannot describe its emotional tenor: the concerto’s opening throws aside all pretensions, all formal dress, and simply exposes its heart. The work’s full power works upon you within ten seconds...Gunnarsson is so good that this performance will be mandatory for much more than just the extraordinary sound quality...It is entirely Weinberg’s, and it is a masterpiece. It deserves to be a mainstay of every cellist’s repertoire, alongside Dvorák, Elgar, and Shostakovich, and if in a decade or two it has received the attention it deserves, we will have Chandos and soloist Claes Gunnarsson to thank."
 
Brian Reinhart - MusicWeb-International.com - 10 August 2012

                          Music  **** (Very Good)          Sound **** (Very Good)
Ole Pflüger – Fono Forum – August 2012


 

                              ****    Excellent
Bertrand Dermoncourt – Classica magazine – July/August 2012

"...The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and conductor Thord Svedlund have been excellent advocates and proponents for the music of Mieczyslaw Weinberg, with highly recommendable recordings in this Chandos cycle, and this new release reinforces that fact and should add an extra chevron to their épaulettes. And I know I’ve said this many times before, but if you enjoy the music of Shostakovich, odds are you will also enjoy the music of Weinberg. They shared the same ideals and outlook. And if I dare say, I believe Weinberg was the more "musical" of the two. Highly Recommended!!

Jean-Yves Duperron - Classical Music Sentinel - June 2012

“...Thord Svedlund secures playing from the Gothenburg Symphony of an insight and commitment equal to that on the previous instalments in this series... as are the warmly spacious sound and David Fanning’s notes. In bringing together the most approachable and inscrutable aspects of the composer’s creativity, indeed, this is as thought-provoking a release as any in the Weinberg discography.”
 
Richard Whitehouse – International Record Review – June 2012

 

"...Beautiful sound and excellent performances from Thord Svedlund’s Gothenburg Orchestra."

Graham Rickson - The Arts Desk - June 2012

           Performance *****      Sound *****
“Wholeheartedly recommended.”
Castor – SA-CD.net – 12 May 2012

 

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