Notes and Editorial Reviews
This new CD, released on Naxos American Classics, features world premiere recordings of three works by the neo-Romantic, Russian-American Jewish composer Jacob Weinberg (1879-1956), including his sweeping, virtuosic second piano concerto, with its echoes of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, performed here by Mexican-born pianist Jorge Federico Osorio. This composition, which fell into oblivion after its 1947 premiere, was rediscovered and prepared for performance by the Milken Archive. After considerable research and detective work, a manuscript copy of the score was located in the AMLI Music Library in Haifa, Israel, and an engraved full orchestral score and complete set of orchestral parts was made. Based on timeless Jewish musical motifs
from the High Holy Day liturgy, as well as stirring folk melodies of Zionist pioneers, both this piano concerto and the string quartet that follows it illustrate the composer's masterful blending of western musical idioms and Jewish musical sources, both secular and religious. Also heard are excerpts from Weinberg's sabbath service, Shabbat Ba'aretz (Sabbath in the Holy Land), in which he musically bridges the gap between the ancient, sacred foundations of the Jewish people and the vitality of a modern Jewish state.
In addition to Mr. Osorio, participating artists on this disc include the Barcelona Symphony/National Orchestra of Catalonia, Karl Anton Rickenbacher, conductor; the Bingham String Quartet; baritone Patrick Mason; and the BBC Singers, conducted by Kenneth Kiesler.
“...a flamboyant late-romantic piano concerto... The first movement ends in Technicolor brilliance while the second includes a fanciful and delicate little dance... The performance is completely committed... Weinberg’s String Quartet has a middle movement of considerable inwardness and two outer movements that are not merely ripely romantic but bursting with ardent intensity. The last movement has an abruptly declamatory tone which reminded me of Shostakovich... Mason infuses every word with conviction [in Shabbat Ba’aretz]... The choral singing is unbridled... This collection...succeeds for Weinberg through the romantic ardour of his concerto and quartet.” — Rob Barnett, MusicWeb.uk.net (November 2005)
“We now have before us two major works and excerpts from a third—all premiere recordings — that go a long way towards developing a fleshed out portrait from what had been a skeletal sketch... [Piano Concerto No. 2] ...a highly attractive and entertaining work... [String Quartet, Op. 55] ...a deeply serious, tightly integrated, and rapturously beautiful example of string quartet writing... All of the artists involved in this release are top-drawer. Jorge Federico Osorio makes a strong case for the Piano Concerto... The Bingham Quartet plays superbly in the Quartet, and the BBC Singers, here joined by baritone Patrick Mason, as always, are outstanding. The Naxos recording is fully dimensional, and the notes by Dr. Neil Levin are, if it’s possible, even more informative than usual... Strongly recommended.” — Jerry Dubins, Fanfare
“...enjoyable stuff... Another worthwhile addition to Naxos’ valuable Milken Archive of American Jewish Music series.” — John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
Click here to view all available releases in the
Milken Archive Series at ArkivMusic.
Works on This Recording
Shabbat Ba'aretz by Jacob Weinberg
Patrick Mason (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century
Concerto for Piano no 2 in C major by Jacob Weinberg
Jorge Federico Osorio (Piano)
Karl Anton Rickenbacher
Barcelona Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
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