Weinberg: Fantasia for Cello and Orchestra; Flute Concertos Nos 1 & 2; Clarinet Concerto

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COMPOSERS: Weinberg
LABELS: Chandos
ALBUM TITLE: Weinberg
WORKS: Fantasia for Cello and Orchestra; Flute Concertos Nos 1 & 2;
Clarinet Concerto
PERFORMER: Anders Jonhäll (flute), Urban Claesson (clarinet), Claes Gunnarsson (cello); Gothenburg SO/Thord Svedlund
CATALOGUE NO: CHSA 5064

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After releasing three volumes in their Weinberg Symphony cycle, Chandos have now focused attention on the composer’s significant body of concertante works. It’s a decision that is bound to bring new admirers to this composer, particularly when some of the music is so immediately attractive. This is particularly the case with the Fantasia for Cello and Orchestra. Composed during the early 1950s at a time when Weinberg’s life was threatened by growing Soviet anti-Semitism, the quietly reflective opening and closing sections perhaps provide a hint of this personal crisis. But spirits are considerably revived by the rhythmically exuberant middle section, projected with tremendous verve by cellist Claes Gunnarsson. The later works on this disc may not be as obviously tuneful as the Fantasia, but they cover a considerable variety of mood as well as demonstrate an instinctive understanding for their respective solo instruments. Of the two Flute Concertos, the First with its striking contrasts of mood is the more direct, though the bitter-sweet melodies of the Clarinet Concerto plumb greater depths. Both Anders Jonhäll and Urban Claesson are persuasive if not always charismatic advocates of their concertos, and the recording is warm and clear. Erik Levi