April 22, 2013 by anelim
So, Weinberg sonatas for violin & piano aren’t bad. Haunting, dramatic and magical, and just a tiny bit bizarre, in a nice way – only at times approaching the disturbing levels of Schostakovitch. They’re full of colours, and you know how much I love things that have colours (to be even more precise, I find colours even where I shouldn’t, so it’s nice to have them on legitimate display). Definitely worth advertising, even if I can’t spell the author’s Christian name without getting up from my chair yet once more. OK, I shall cheat and resort to googliarism*: his full name was Mieczysław (aka Moisey/Moishe Samuilovich Vaynberg; Russian: Моисей Самуилович Вайнберг; Polish:Mieczysław Wajnberg; 1919-1996). Shame, shame on me for not having heard him earlier. Wikipedia claims that according to Steve Schwarz (some bigass reviewer) he was the USSR’s third most awesome composer, after Шостакович & Прокофьев. I like that this reviwer hasn’t mentioned Чайковски, I don’t like him all that much either (sorry, Petya & Wolf). Well, at least I’m not the only one confused by the guys’s name (relief).
I’m listening to Sonatas 3 and 4 of which I can’t find decent versions on YouTube, so here’s number 1. Its is more summery, birdy and dreamy. I also notice what seem to be his “signature” monotone piano scales, also present in numbers 3 and 4. He’s also written a bunch of sonatas for piano plus another random instrument.
The CD is one of my new acquisitions from this beautiful red bookshop/cafe/concert venue called Café Tasso ( Frankfurter Allee 11 just next to the U-Bahn) which everyone should visit. They sell awesome hazelnut cookies (about 90% hazelnut, held together by dark chocolate), free wi-fi, nice coffee (though the hot chocolate is no good), and ALL books and CDs cost EUR1 each. And you can read them in the cafe and no one will tell you off. The people who work there are sweet and it’s warm and cosy on cold days (and empty inside on hot ones). Don’t forget to pop downstairs in the basement, there’s four more rooms jam pack full of the most amazing and well organised collection of books in different languages. I don’t think I have a photo, so I’m nicking the banner from their website.
*Googliarism: plagiarism usign http://www.google.com. E.g. looking up a simple word, pasting it in my blog and looking all smug and pleased by the fact that no one knows that I’ve looked it up.