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Weinberg: Violin Concerto, Op. 67, etc

Gidon Kremer (violin); Gewandhausorchester Leipzig/Daniele Gatti, et al (Accentus)

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Violin Concerto, Op. 67; Sonata for Two Violins, Op. 69
Gidon Kremer, Madara Pētersone (violin); Gewandhausorchester Leipzig/Daniele Gatti
Accentus ACC 30518   51:04 mins

Mieczysław Weinberg’s Violin Concerto was composed for the great violinist Leonid Kogan in 1959, when the Polish-born composer was beginning to achieve much greater recognition from the Soviet music establishment. Cast in the four-movement symphonic structure used by Shostakovich in his First Violin Concerto, it follows a rather different trajectory, but like its great predecessor makes formidable technical and musical demands on both soloist and orchestra.

In recent years, the concerto has been championed on disc by such distinguished violinists as Ilya Gringolts, Benjamin Schmid and Linus Roth. Gidon Kremer has become the work’s strongest advocate, having performed it frequently throughout Europe and America over the past few years. This performance, recorded live in Leipzig during February 2020, undoubtedly benefits from Kremer’s passionate commitment, but also offers a distinct advantage over rival recordings through its vivid recorded sound and the superbly compelling contribution from the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester under Daniele Gatti. Kremer’s approach differs significantly from all other recorded interpreters in adopting far more expansive tempos throughout the concerto. This is particularly noticeable in the opening Allegro molto where Kremer’s steadier pulse allows the music to breathe more effectively particularly in the contemplative and mysterious sections of the movement.

The Sonata for Two Violins, composed around the same period, is an equally demanding but more emotionally elusive work that only reveals its undoubted strengths after repeated listening. Kremer and Latvian violinist Madara Pētersone deliver a riveting performance with near perfect ensemble and great variety of tone.


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Erik Levi