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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last I hope a continuation of a series, 4 May 2010
By 
Charles Voogd (Underwaterland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Weinberg: Symphony Nos.1 & 7 (Audio CD)
The recording of Weinberg/Vainberg (the late Per Skans - an eminent musicologist - always stated Weinberg had to be written as Vainberg) symphonies is so important for anyone who wants a clear picture of Russian symphonism in the 20th century (Knipper's symphonies are too I'm sure) that I jumped out of my chair many years ago when Chandos announced a symphonic cycle. Quickly followed 3 extraordinary CD's with some symphonies and orchestral works and after that: DEAD SILENCE. Many times I railed at Chandos not completing symphonic or orchestral cycles they did advertise with (Williamson, Rodney Benett, historical releases of Boris Tchaikofsky). Mail them: no answer. (What're email accounts for?). Now this release gives me hope that this cycle will be completed. They changed conductor and orchestra (from Polish to Swedish) and that's a happy thing. Although the Polish orchestra on the first 3 Cd's was good, the Swedes are better. Although an occasional rough edge to Weinberg is no problem, Shostakovich works can handle that too and many of Weinberg's symphonies lie close to Shostakovich's, I like them expertly played. Secondly Chandos changed too SACD, a very nice gesture and although the Polish recordings were sometimes rough-hewn, they're good ones too. Thirdly a total redesign for the front cover and the booklet; not a shock but I like the abstract ones of the first three releases.
What to expect of these works? They're tonal, wholly serious, sometimes Jewish sounding. They haven't the wit or the sarcasm of Shostakovich, or the simple melodism of Prokofiev's later work, the epic of Myaskofsky, or the tunes of Tchaikofsky. They lie somewhere in between all those works. Thoroughly Russian in feel with some cosmopolitanism. This last thing was `not done' so Weinberg got much critique in 1948 (just as almost every serious and genial Russian composer in those years).
Performances are very good, very polished and that's something that's not always necessary for these works. A recent recording of Symphony #1 on the Northern Flowers label is a little bit rougher and has some wrong notes but feels to be better sustained than the Chandos release. The Petersburg orchestra alas is al little bit on the sloppy side compared with the mellow Gothenburgers and that's a matter of taste to be discussed! So many compliments for Chandos, please go on. There're many more symphonies to go.
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Weinberg: Symphony Nos.1 & 7
Weinberg: Symphony Nos.1 & 7 by Gothenberg So (Audio CD - 2010)
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