Czech composer Jaromír Weinberger was born in Prague on 8 January 1896 into a family of Jewish origin. He was exposed to Czech folksongs from an early age, began learning piano at five, and was composing and conducting by the age of ten. By fourteen, he was studying at the Prague Conservatory. Later he also studied in Leipzig with Max Reger.
He is best known for his opera Švanda Dudák (Schwanda the Bagpiper), completed in 1926, and first performed on 27 April 1927 at Czech National Opera. Schwanda became hugely successful, with over two thousand performances in its first decade or so, partly because of its use of Czech folk music. Unfortunately, none of Weinberger's more than a hundred other works in a varied musical language achieved anywhere near this popularity.
Weinberger left Czechoslovakia in 1939 to escape persecution by the Nazis, and settled in the USA, becoming an American citizen in 1948. The onset of brain cancer, plus neglect of his music, resulted in his suicide by sedative overdose on 8 August 1967, aged seventy-one.
CD Spotlight. Innate Musical Talent - Robert McCarney listens to Weinberger piano music. '... a very welcome CD ...'
CD Spotlight. Scrumptious Outbursts - Orchestral music by Jaromír Weinberger, enjoyed by Roderic Dunnett. '... full of rich colours from the Berlin Orchestra under Albrecht's direction ...'
CD Spotlight. Valued archives - Stokowski and the classic Columbias, reviewed by Patric Standford. '... a powerful performance ...'