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Thread: Weekly quartet. Just a music lover perspective.

  1. #2206
    Senior Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    If anyone wants another Weinberg recommendation, I listened to the 21st symphony this morning (admittedly in chunks, I was just sampling it, but I’m going to come back to it for a deeper listen soon). Holy cow, this is an absolute masterpiece among 20th century symphonies. It’s not an easy listen - it’s one of the last things he composed and serves as both a summary of his bleak life and a memorial to Holocaust victims - but it is tremendously inspired, epic, and emotionally devastating. I can’t believe it hasn’t earned greater attention.
    It earned enormous attention in the UK last year, including winning the Gramophone Recording Of The Year 2020. I agree with you, it's a stunning piece (I still haven't quite got to grips with it completely).

    EDIT: On checking my download account, I bought this recording on 9th May 2019, so I'm not sure why Gramophone have it as their recording of the year for 2020. Strange.
    Last edited by HenryPenfold; Mar-04-2021 at 20:59.
    My new year's resolution is to buy less new music and listen more to the absolutely STUPID amount of music I already have.

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    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    I've been away for some time, but I gave a listen to the Weinberg quartet. It's a very interesting work, although quite moody (I was studying while listening to it for the first time, and have to say that solving problem sets has rarely been that tragic lol). I listened to the Danel recording as I didn't notice that there's a recording by Pacifica as well. Danel was fine but I'm currently listening to Pacifica's recording and I'm enjoying it a lot more - it's more atmospheric, detailed, and lively. I cannot recall ever hearing anything I would dare to call "bad" by Pacifica, and their sound is amazing as always.

    I didn't quite acknowledge that Weinberg was a Soviet composer until I saw Pacifica's album cover - quite embarrassing... Somewhat ignorantly I assumed that Weinberg must have been a German because of his last name. I'll try not to make the mistake of not reading anything about the composer before listening to his works again. But now I also understand why Weinberg's 6th SQ resembles Shostakovich so much - its overall musical atmosphere and idiom was in many parts strikingly similar, although I feel Shosty's works sound often even more deeply tortured. There's something about Shosty that just makes him very unique in that regard.

    Anyway, a great choice!!
    Last edited by annaw; Mar-04-2021 at 23:05.

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  4. #2208
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    Well, this was fun. It starts with a nicely sprung theme that, to my ears, could come from the celtic world of Bax or Moeran but doesn't. There's something of Shostokovich in this, certainly, albeit with none of Shostakovich's distinctive tics. There are also similarities, in some ways, with Prokofiev and Kabalevsky. And, if I was going to be provocative, I'd mention Ives and Haydn, too. If 'neoclassical' means very much, I suppose it would cover this. It's in a key, and there are themes and developments and recapitulations and everything.

    I've now listened to both the recordings available on YouTube, twice, and I'm really looking forward to hearing what the Silesians do with it. I slightly prefer the Danel version, at least for the moment, but I couldn't say why. The Pacifica Quartet is a bit more pointed, but that's largely a matter of taste. What struck me about this quartet, in both renditions, is that it works together very well. Astonishingly well. And that, like all well-crafted things, listening from a different angle doesn't hurt.

    The question I like to ask is 'why', and I guess the answer here is that Weinberg was a composer. I don't suppose I've read anything that everyone hasn't read already, but Weinberg clearly liked (or needed) to keep himself busy, and took his work seriously, whether or not he'd get paid for it. I imagine that solidarity with other composers was a bit of a motive and, whether there's any truth to the story of his bet with Shostakovich, a competitive element, too. It's difficult to keep up with the pack and stand out from it, and I imagine he'd have been far from alone in trying to strike that balance, but here he seems to have succeeded, if a bit too well for comfort at the time.

    From the scratchy bits of googling I've done, it seems Weinberg didn't spend the previous summer at the Composer's House in Ivanovo - where Prokofiev may have been helping Kabalevsky finish his 2nd quartet, and lending a bit of Cinderella for Shostakovich's (possibly by accident) - so any apparent borrowing from the home crowd is probably coincidental. That said, every time I listen, I seem to catch fragments that I've overheard before, but whether they've been dredged from the depths of Mussorgsky, wrested from humble peasants or pinched from peevish pretzel vendors, I couldn't rightly say.

    But that's probably more than enough words from me. It's brightened my week. Best wishes and thanks to Malx for choosing it.

  5. #2209
    Senior Member GucciManeIsTheNewWebern's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burbage View Post

    The question I like to ask is 'why', and I guess the answer here is that Weinberg was a composer. I don't suppose I've read anything that everyone hasn't read already, but Weinberg clearly liked (or needed) to keep himself busy, and took his work seriously, whether or not he'd get paid for it. I imagine that solidarity with other composers was a bit of a motive and, whether there's any truth to the story of his bet with Shostakovich, a competitive element, too. It's difficult to keep up with the pack and stand out from it, and I imagine he'd have been far from alone in trying to strike that balance, but here he seems to have succeeded, if a bit too well for comfort at the time.
    Not totally sure what you're talking about with this paragraph and that last bit. Are you talking about his prolificity or just his general intentions as a composer?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GucciManeIsTheNewWebern View Post
    Not totally sure what you're talking about with this paragraph and that last bit. Are you talking about his prolificity or just his general intentions as a composer?
    I understand, from what I've read here and a few places elsewhere, that the sixth quartet was very popular with Weinberg's fellow composers, but much less with the authorities, including, perhaps, the Musical Union, which was in charge of what music was published (this was) and performed (this wasn't). They also ran the Composers' House in Ivanovo and I can't see that Weinberg was ever invited to stay there. Perhaps it didn't fit with his plans. Or maybe he was there, but under a different spelling. Or maybe he wasn't in favour.

    It's just a hint, and I've done next-to-no research, which is why I wrote with, I hope, guarded circumlocutoriousness. Individual talent was appreciated, at the time, but only when it served good Soviet aims. If it didn't, or the authorites just didn't like it (authorities who may have been coached by professional rivals), or it belonged to the 'wrong sort' of person, then it's likely to have been as much a liability as a gift, especially for those without an international reputation. Such things didn't just decide whether your music got played or not, it was the difference between being a composer and a salt-mine statistic.

    As for the keeping busy, Weinberg seems to have been writing prolifically in the preceding years. Again, I don't know why, exactly, he might have simply been ambitious. But he wouldn't, I gather, be the first composer to shut out the fears of oppression, war or persecution by writing music.

    So, in answer to your question: yes, both.

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Is Rangstrom still around? If not, we’ll go to BlackAdder this week.

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    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

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    Senior Member ELbowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryPenfold View Post
    It earned enormous attention in the UK last year, including winning the Gramophone Recording Of The Year 2020. I agree with you, it's a stunning piece (I still haven't quite got to grips with it completely).

    EDIT: On checking my download account, I bought this recording on 9th May 2019, so I'm not sure why Gramophone have it as their recording of the year for 2020. Strange.
    Henry! Please excuse if this has been answered else but is this the recording you refer to?61dTWt0-foL._AC_SL1200_.jpg

  10. #2213
    Senior Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ELbowe View Post
    Henry! Please excuse if this has been answered else but is this the recording you refer to?61dTWt0-foL._AC_SL1200_.jpg
    Yes ELbowe, that is the one. Why, have I caused some confusion?
    Last edited by HenryPenfold; Mar-05-2021 at 18:05.
    My new year's resolution is to buy less new music and listen more to the absolutely STUPID amount of music I already have.

  11. #2214
    Senior Member ELbowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryPenfold View Post
    Yes ELbowe, that is the one. Why, have I caused some confusion?
    No none whatsoever HP! ~ I just wished to clarify as sometimes I get sensory overload!! So much music! Thanks!!
    Sheer coincidence ….all of a sudden its Mieczyslaw Weinberg everywhere!!!….Just got advanced notification of upcoming programmes on Mezzo TV for the next week, Next week this:
    City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
    Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (Conductor)
    Sheku Kanneh-Mason (Cello)
    Programme Includes:
    ….Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919 - 1996)
    24 Preludes for cello, Op. 100 (n ° 18, Sarabande)

    Oliver Knussen (1952 - 2018)
    The Way to Castle Yonder

    Mieczyslaw Weinberg
    Symphony No.3 in B minor

    Recording: August 22 2019 - London Proms 2019

    That should be worth hearing/seeing. While I have never heard Mr. Kanneh-Mason perform I am interested to hear him… I read a UK critic comment last year (?) on a recording that he is not top shelf in the Cello world with so many excellent players around these days (Alisa Weilerstein, Camille Thomas, Gabetta, Várdai, etc., ) and he wonders if he hadn’t played at a famous wedding would we be still hearing about him…harsh?

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  13. #2215
    Senior Member Malx's Avatar
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    I've thoroughly enjoyed reading everyones comments on the Weinberg Quartet.
    I'll not repeat any of the observations all I'll add is that in my opinion this is an exceptional quartet given it was composed by a relatively young man and given the world around him at the time.
    Having played both of the recordings a few times over this week I find myself struggling to say If I prefer one over the other.
    I suspect my mood may determine which one I turn to, the Danel recording is perhaps a bit more sober and the Pacificas maybe have a little more attack in places but its marginal - I'm happy to have both on my shelves. I am now going to delve deeper into the other 16 quartets - that should keep me busy for a while.
    Last edited by Malx; Mar-05-2021 at 23:01.

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  15. #2216
    Senior Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malx View Post
    I've thoroughly enjoyed reading everyones comments on the Weinberg Quartet.
    I'll not repeat any of the observations all I'll add is that in my opinion this is an exceptional quartet given it was composed by a relatively young man and given the world around him at the time.
    Having played both of the recordings a few times over this week I find myself struggling to say If I prefer one over the other.
    I suspect my mood may determine which one I turn to, the Danel recording is perhaps a bit more sober and the Pacifica's maybe have a little more attack in places but its marginal - I'm happy to have both on my shelves. I am now going to delve deeper into the other 16 quartets - that should keep me busy for a while.
    Yes, very enjoyable following all the interesting comments - and well done Malx on a very good choice (when it's my turn I'll probably choose a dud! )

    I too have resolved to work through the rest, a tall order, but it has to be done. I have all the Silesian releases bar the last one with 1 & 16, so it will be interesting to compare performances.
    My new year's resolution is to buy less new music and listen more to the absolutely STUPID amount of music I already have.

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  17. #2217
    Senior Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ELbowe View Post
    No none whatsoever HP! ~ I just wished to clarify as sometimes I get sensory overload!! So much music! Thanks!!
    Sheer coincidence ….all of a sudden its Mieczyslaw Weinberg everywhere!!!….Just got advanced notification of upcoming programmes on Mezzo TV for the next week, Next week this:
    City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
    Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (Conductor)
    Sheku Kanneh-Mason (Cello)
    Programme Includes:
    ….Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919 - 1996)
    24 Preludes for cello, Op. 100 (n ° 18, Sarabande)

    Oliver Knussen (1952 - 2018)
    The Way to Castle Yonder

    Mieczyslaw Weinberg
    Symphony No.3 in B minor

    Recording: August 22 2019 - London Proms 2019

    That should be worth hearing/seeing. While I have never heard Mr. Kanneh-Mason perform I am interested to hear him… I read a UK critic comment last year (?) on a recording that he is not top shelf in the Cello world with so many excellent players around these days (Alisa Weilerstein, Camille Thomas, Gabetta, Várdai, etc., ) and he wonders if he hadn’t played at a famous wedding would we be still hearing about him…harsh?
    Knussen's passing was so sad, a huge loss - RIP big fellah .........
    My new year's resolution is to buy less new music and listen more to the absolutely STUPID amount of music I already have.

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  19. #2218
    Senior Member BlackAdderLXX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    Is Rangstrom still around? If not, we’ll go to BlackAdder this week.

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    Willing and able to go next if needed.
    My new years resolution is to buy less new music and listen more to the absolutely STUPID amount of music I already have.

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  21. #2219
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryPenfold View Post
    Knussen's passing was so sad, a huge loss - RIP big fellah .........
    I don't know how I missed that back in 2018? I saw that post here and did a double take. Okay, I don't want to get off the subject. Looking forward to this week's quartet.
    “Music makes you feel feelings. Words make you think thoughts. But a song can make you feel a thought.”

    - Yip Harburg

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  23. #2220
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    BlackAdder, I have not heard back from Rangstrom, so if he doesn’t post here by tomorrow morning, you can make your pick
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

    "Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." - G.K. Chesterton

    "Ceaseless work, analysis, reflection, writing much, endless self-correction, that is my secret." - Johann Sebastian Bach

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