Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

A fitting tribute to a great artist and friend

From May 23, 2014:


The fourth disc in the Naxos series of Weinberg symphonies includes the most impressive work so far: the 12th Symphony, written in memory of Dmitri Shostakovich. Weinberg makes reference to the symphonies of his friend and supporter, and this work has more of the sound and feel of a Shostakovich symphony than some of the others on disc. Weinberg is emphatically an original composer, though, and not just a Shostakovich clone. As Alex Ross has noted Weinberg’s music and ideas contributed to Shostakovich’s art as well as in the opposite direction. There are many felicities of orchestration that show Weinberg’s originality, like the intertwining of marimba and strings in the 4th movement. This is a serious and deeply sad work that’s a fitting tribute to a great artist and a friend with whom he shared many triumphs as well as adversity.

The Golden Key Suite also shows Weinberg’s mastery of a large orchestral palette, but in a lighter mood. The composer looks back to Prokofiev and Stravinsky in this suite chosen from music written for a 1962 ballet. Kudos to Naxos, and Chandos as well, as they continue building a picture of an important 20th century artist.

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