Weinberg: Symphony No. 12

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ALBUM TITLE: Weinberg: Symphony No. 12
WORKS: Symphony No. 12; The Golden Key – Ballet Suite No. 4
PERFORMER: St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra/Vladimir Lande
CATALOGUE NO: 8.573085


Mieczysaw Weinberg’s Twelfth Symphony of 1976 is dedicated to the memory of Shostakovich who had died the previous year. Conceived on a grand scale in four substantial movements, it pays tribute to the great composer through a profoundly individual absorption of a number of the stylistic fingerprints that are familiar in Shostakovich’s music. Weinberg explores a similarly troubled landscape which is frequently characterised by passages of aggressive conflict between various sections of the orchestra. These eventually subside into music that is much more withdrawn and wistful. But Weinberg’s musical narrative encompasses a wider array of emotions, most strikingly the unexpected surge of Mahlerian pathos at the close of the first movement and the disarming simplicity of the memorably playful marimba theme which launches the Symphony’s Finale.

Vladimir Lande and the St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra negotiate the considerable technical demands of this complex score with impressive assurance. Supported by a wonderfully focused recording they deliver a performance that is incisive and powerfully committed. Similarly expert playing is offered in the Fourth Suite from the ballet The Golden Key where Weinberg taps into a more relaxed mode with a sequence of tuneful dances whose satirical character and propensity to sudden changes of key is strongly reminiscent of Prokofiev.


Erik Levi