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Poland celebrates composer's Weinberg anniversary

PR dla Zagranicy
Tomasz Ferenc 12.01.2019 07:30
Poland celebrates the centenary of birth of the composer Mieczysław Weinberg, who was born in Warsaw on 12 January 1909.
Photo: pixabay.com/Pexels/CC0 Creative CommonsPhoto: pixabay.com/Pexels/CC0 Creative Commonspixabay.com/Pexels/CC0 Creative Commons

Performances of his works are planned over the next few days by several Polish orchestras, such as Sinfonia Varsovia and the Krakow Philharmonic.

A series of five concerts featuring his chamber compositions opens in the hall of the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice on 17 January.

Weinberg was a Polish Jew who escaped the Nazis by fleeing into the Soviet Union. In 1943 he settled in Moscow, where he worked as a composer and pianist. In 1953, he was arrested as part of Stalin’s anti-Semitic purges, but was released after Stalin’s death thanks to support from his close friend Dmitri Shostakovich.

He died in Moscow in 1996, leaving a vast output of over twenty symphonies, 17 string quartets, 6 operas, concertos for various instruments and songs.

He also wrote soundtracks for children’s cartoons and feature films, including The Cranes are Flying, a masterpiece of Soviet cinema which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Festival in 1958.

The past fifteen years have seen a revival of interest in Weinberg’s music. Among those who have developed a deep interest in Weinberg is British director David Poutney.

He has produced The Portrait (based on a short story by Nikolai Gogol) at Opera North in Leeds, and The Passenger, an opera on the Auschwitz theme, at the Bregenz Festival, the Lyric Opera in Chicago, the English National Opera in London and the Polish National Opera.

A wide selection of Weinberg’s works have been recorded by Polish and foreign orchestras and released on CD.


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