MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Buy through MusicWeb
for £13.50 postage paid World-wide.

Musicweb Purchase button


Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (Moisei VAINBERG) (1919-1996)
Symphony No.1 Op.10 (1942) [40:11]
Cello Concerto Op.43 (1945-48) [30:31]
Dmitry Khrychov (cello)
St Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra/Alexander Titov
rec. December 2008, St Catherine Lutheran Church, St Petersburg

Experience Classicsonline

Now that Weinberg’s music is becoming well disseminated, and via a variety of labels, we are in a better position to assess his notable place in compositional life. Cycles of his chamber and orchestral works are underway; it’s to be hoped that a complete symphonic cycle will bring to light his most important large-scale works.
In the meantime we can choose from the commercial recordings work that suit our tastes. This one combines his First Symphony, written diring the Second World War, with the Cello Concerto, begun as war was ending and completed three years later.
The First Symphony was written in Tashkent where he had been evacuated, and it was dedicated to the Red Army, who had facilitated his escape from Poland. The long sonata-allegro with which it opens is a study in extremes, from mollifying figures to the incrementally ratcheted tension of abrasive brass calls and wind flurries. Firmly controlled, it establishes that trenchant control of subject material was already not lacking in the twenty six year old composer. The slow movement is aptly described in the booklet as a ‘symphonic song’ and it does indeed enshrine some Mahlerian melos, tautly expressed and moving. This is contrasted with a free-wheeling, relieved scherzo, that whilst not reaching especially personalised heights does break the mood satisfactorily. The finale courses with the optimistic strains of a chorale, which Weinberg allows to flower and expand throughout the movement adding some strangely winsome moments to infiltrate the writing as well. His finale is artfully constructed however, and cogent, producing a dramatic strain of ultimate victory. There are competing versions, differently coupled. A recent entrant, which I have not yet heard, is by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Thord Svedlund, coupled with the Seventh Symphony [Chandos CHSA5078].

The Cello Concerto was completed in 1948 but had to wait until 1957 for its premiere. This was given by Rostropovich with the Moscow Philharmonic conducted by Samosud. The reason is not hard to fathom. Its Jewish ethos is fairly explicit. At a time of denunciations, state sponsored terror, and ‘Doctors’s Plots’ the time was hardly apposite for a klezmer infused, Freilachs-savvy concerto. Rostropovich was taped in the work with the USSR State and Rozhdesvensky in 1964 [Brilliant 92771 – a ten CD box devoted to the cellist] and his way is compellingly different from others and from Dmitry Khrychov too. The older man understates the adagio introduction whilst Khrychov is heavier of bow weight, and expressive devices, and heavier with the Jewish themes as well. The Freilachs are heard in the second movement of this idiosyncratically structured work, where the flute especially shines, and the brass is self confidently engaged. In the second half of the work however the greater incision and speed of Rostropovich and Samosud begins to tell. One can’t deny that the newcomer is adeptly characterised but the heaviness weighs against it somewhat. That isn’t quite so noticeable in the finale, where the single minded March theme can bear different approaches, before the quiet end. But overall the older performance has more of a sense of contrast and energy.
Nevertheless that recording is a quarter of a century old now. This one is well engineered and performed with sensitivity and control. Questions as to the explicit heaviness of the Jewish themes in the Concerto are perhaps a matter of taste. To my mind a lighter allusion works better but that’s not to underestimate the commitment of this team. Let me end by paying a small tribute of my own to Northern Flowers: this is Volume 5 in their ‘Wartime Music’ series, and they’re doing a tremendous job disseminating new and resissued material. They deserve plaudits.
Jonathan Woolf


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.