The record I have listened to most this month is…

The record I have listened to most this month is…


norman lebrecht

January 30, 2014

… not terribly well played. Nor is the music brilliantly constructed. The opening movement is 20 minutes long, verging on inarticulate. The second is embarrassingly derivative. It is only when you get to the adagio that the emotional storm-force of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s 12th symphony kicks in, revealing its inner anguish.


weinberg 12th

Written in 1976 in memory of his close friend Dmitri Shostakovich, the symphony struggles with its own composer’s life in the shadow of a genius, exposing  untold depths of a human dilemma. I keep going back to hear it again.



  • tommo2 says:

    Well you won’t hear this on Radio 3. The’re too busy playing the top 100 best tunes over and over again.

  • Jim F. says:

    I feel similarly about that performance but not quite identically about Weinberg’s composition.

    I listen also the Maxim Shostakovich’s recording: even the first movement seems (well, to me) far more clear and personally involving. Of course it is: it’s about his DAD. But it’s just finer, stronger, more tender, more vulnerable, more loving… more, well, Weinberg. And, yes, Mr. Lande’s done better prior to this one in a lot of people’s hearings. And Wit’s done even finer in the Naxos series.

    In a wonderful time of many, many more Weinberg performances and even recordings, there are just two of Number 12.

    I’m relieved his work isn’t in Gergievworld or even Petrenkoland. Wherever Mr. Vanska turns up, he might have some Weinberg living inside him… along with Alan Gilbert and a few more good people any of us can name.

    Yet I keep wishing that Jurowski (both of them, father and son) record at least some of Weinberg’s symphonies. More than anyone else I can conceive (which is not a grand claim) what is over, under, around and through Weinberg seems to be inside both of them as well.

    Thanks for so very, very, very much Mr. Lebrecht. You’re great company even for strangers.