Soviet composer Mieczysław Weinberg was born in Warsaw on 8 December 1919 into a Jewish family. His father was a well-known composer and conductor from the Yiddish theatre, and his mother was an actress, also working in Yiddish theatre companies.
Weinberg studied piano at the Warsaw Conservatory from the age of twelve, and graduated in 1939, fleeing to the Soviet Union when World War II began, and studying composition in Minsk. When the war reached Soviet territory, he was evacuated to Tashkent, where he met and befriended Dmitri Shostakovich, who persuaded Weinberg to move to Moscow, where the two composers lived near to one another and shared ideas.
At the end of his life, Weinberg had Crohn's disease and became housebound but continued to work. He was baptised into the Russian Orthodox Church on 3 January 1996 and died in Moscow on 26 February 1996.
CD Spotlight. Immediately Engaging - Raphael Wallfisch plays cello concertos by Mieczysław Weinberg, recommended unreservedly by Geoff Pearce. 'This magnificent disc showcases the work of a composer who is still relatively under-represented in recording catalogues and on the concert platform.'
CD Spotlight. Style and Panache - Gerald Fenech listens to flute music by Mieczysław Weinberg. 'A compelling disc which should keep the renewed interest in Weinberg's musical legacy on the upward curve.'
CD Spotlight. Fine Performance - Orchestral music by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, heard by Geoff Pearce. 'Serenade Op 47 No 4 ... represents a happier and undemanding part of the composer's output, written, I guess, to appease the authorities.'
CD Spotlight. A Musical Bond - Kabalevsky and Weinberg Concertos, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Innovative stuff worthy of some serious investigation.'
CD Spotlight. Austere and Brooding - Weinberg orchestral music, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... deserving of serious consideration.'
CD Spotlight. Emotional Power - Moisey Weinberg's Symphonies 5 and 10, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... this music truly speaks with the language of our time.'
CD Spotlight. Musical Potential - Weinberg's Symphony No 4 and Violin Concerto, heard by Howard Smith. '... seductive timbre and technical mastery ...'
CD Spotlight. Emotional Range - Shostakovich and Weinberg string quartets, heard by Andrew Schartmann. '... virtuoso passages leap off the page with excitement ...'
CD Spotlight. Predominantly Sorrowful - Weinberg's 'Polish Flowers' Symphony impresses Patric Standford
CD Spotlight. Powerful Capabilities - Piano trios by Weinberg and Shostakovich, heard by Howard Smith. '... notable gusto ...'
Ensemble. An Eclectic Mix - Mieczyslaw Weinberg's 'The Portrait' at Opera North, experienced by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. An Immensely Successful Event - Thomas Bielinski reports from the West Cork Chamber Music Festival 2009
Record box. Russian transcriptions - Basil Ramsey listens to music from the Jewish Folk Music Society