MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around   2022
 57,903 reviews
   and more ... 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

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996)
Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 8. (1942) [19:29]
Piano Sonata, Op. 49bis (1978) [16:23]
Piano Sonata No. 4, Op. 56 (1955) [29:20]
Elisaveta Blumina (piano)
rec. 2016, rbb Saal 3, Berlin
CPO 555 104-2 [65:32]

This is the second disc in Elisaveta Blumina’s excellent series, for cpo, devoted to Weinberg’s piano works. She has also recorded two discs of Weinberg’s chamber music, also for cpo. Blumina is sympathetic to Weinberg’s world, which is at once formal, intense, and sometimes elusive. Weinberg is rather quieter than his friend Shostakovich, less driven to monumentality and less bitter in tone. The seven piano sonatas reveal a wonderful clarity, scaled to the world of Haydn, Mozart, and Schubert. As we discover more of the work of Mieczyslaw Weinberg, it may be that his piano sonatas are the most consistently satisfyingly of all the genres in which he wrote.

The second Sonata, Op. 8, is a war-time work in a recognizably Soviet sonata style. The opening Allegro features clear rhythms, along with some razzle-dazzle for the pianist. What begins as merry music turns into something much more urgent, until three sour final chords remind us that the music only seemed to be merry at the outset. An Allegretto provides a touch of the machine age, although Blumina handles it rather gently. Like the rest of the sonata, the Adagio is always in motion, in this case resembling a baroque dance piece: distant, complex, and ornamented. The Vivace final movement is a celebration of momentum. The piece as a whole is accessible, but not condescending.

Sonata No. 4 from 1955 is the outstanding work on the disc, calling to mind Prokofiev’s greatest sonatas. The sonata here again begins with a jaunty theme, but by the movement’s end Blumina turns it into something forlorn. Latin rhythms dominate the second Allegro, with a ruder interlude bracketed by episodes of great formality. An Adagio is ambitiously grand and serious. This unsmiling music turns to sadness at its conclusion. The concluding Allegro echoes a Schubert rondo – the pianist takes us on a journey, with anxious and dramatic episodes, in a long movement (of nearly 10 minutes). Weinberg’s resigned slow-motion recapitulation of the opening tune reminds us how spooky a trip it has been.

Weinberg’s unnumbered Sonata Op. 49 bis is a 1978 reworking of a 1951 Sonatina dedicated to Shostakovich. A quiet and introspective Allegro leggiero is followed by an Andantino featuring a harshly punctuated Slavic melody. The final Allegretto’s fugato opening is followed by a magnificent bass melody and an eerie, skittish end.

The most recent competition to Blumina’s Weinberg series is from Allison Brewster Franzetti, who has recorded the same music for Grand Piano. Franzetti is the more serious, sometimes playing Weinberg as if he were Shostakovich. In contrast, Blumina adopts a softer-grained approach. Franzetti is more declarative and plays with a greater dynamic range. Blumina invites you to listen more closely. Both artists have intelligent perspectives on this music, and I would not want to be without either. Franzetti has a brighter piano sound, more closely miked as is typical of recordings from Grand Piano. For Blumina, cpo provides a slightly more distant recording.

Richard Kraus

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 cpo reviews

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

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount