Weinberg: Symphony No. 6 - Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes
St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra
Vladimir Lande, conductor
Glinka Choral College Boys' Choir
Mieczyslaw Weinberg was a
close personal friend as well as a colleague of Shostakovitch, and that
relationship shows in his music. His Sixth Symphony opens in a manner
that sounds (to my ears) very much like Shostakovitch. But while there
are some stylistic similarities, there are also plenty of differences.
Weinberg was an imaginative orchestrator, particularly with his use of
brass instruments. This programmatic work has a powerful message. The
symphony begins with a celebration of the care-free days of youth, and
moves through the horrors of war (and the death of childhood) to a
tentative hope for the future. Weinberg's sparing use of a boys' choir
makes the message all the more effective.
The second work on the disc is a shorter Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes.
The rich melodic content of this composition makes it instantly
attractive. Weinberg sounds less like Shostakovitch here (perhaps its
the choice of subject matter). The music flows along in a relentless
fashion, with plenty of energy and high-spirited dance motifs that
almost beg to be choreographed.
Vladimir Lande leads the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra in the
performance of these works. The playing is first-rate, which really
helps further the cause for these relatively unknown compositions. If
you aren't familiar with Mieczyslaw Weinberg, this release is a good
place to start.