I Musici De Montreal: Shostakovich, Weinberg, Ichm

Album cover art for upc 774204989927
Label: ANALEKTA
Catalog: AN29899
Format: CD

I Musici de Montreal; Yuli Turovsky;

SHOSTAKOVICH: PRELUDE AND SCHERZO, OP. 11
WEINBERG: CHAMBER SYMPHONY NO. 1, OP. 145

Wholenote Discoveries - March 2009
Though the name of Shostakovich is printed in the largest typeface on this engaging release from the ever-reliable I Musici ensemble, in truth his music serves as bookends for some lesser-known works, most importantly the Chamber Symphony No. 1 by the Polish-Jewish composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919-1996). Weinberg (sometimes spelled as Vaynberg) fled to Russia in 1939 during the Nazi decimation of Warsaw; the remainder of his family would later perish in the Trawinki concentration camp. During his evacuation in Tashkent he met Dmitri Shostakovich. Impressed by his talent, Shostakovich later encouraged the younger man to move to his Moscow neighbourhood in 1943. They subsequently became very close friends, and while Weinberg was never formally a student of Shostakovich his own music was closely modelled on that of his mentor, though in the case of his Chamber Symphony (a late work from from 1987) evidencing a more neo-classical and abstract approach betraying little evidence of his harrowing life experiences. The young composer, clarinettist and conductor Airat Ichmouratov was born in 1973 in Kazan, Tatarstan and now enjoys a busy concert life in Montréal. His Fantastic Dances for piano trio (his own Muczynski trio) and strings was commissioned by I Musici in 2007. It is an affectionate tribute to both Shostakovich and Weinberg incorporating klezmer elements and includes a recasting the second movement of Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony as part of a demented waltz. The ghost of Gustav Mahler also makes a perplexing cameo appearance in the Ravel-derived grand finale. The Shostakovich works include the youthful Prelude and Scherzo Op. 11, notable for its hard-driven second movement, as well as string orchestra arrangements of the Elegy from the opera Lady Macbeth of Mzensk and the sardonic Polka from the ballet The Age of Gold. Excellent sound and intriguing programming make this one a winner. Daniel Foley

Price: $20.98