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Weinberg Vol 17 - String Quartets / Dominant Quartet

Release Date: 02/27/2001 
Label:  Olympia   Catalog #: 686   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Mieczyslaw Weinberg
Performer:  Tatiana YegorovaAnna SazonkinaYekaterina PogodinaDo Phuong Nhu
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominant String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

These three quartets are all the proof you could ask for of the individuality and depth of Vainberg's genius.

This is, incredibly, the 17th volume in Olympia's invaluable exploration of the music of Mieczyslaw Vainberg (or Weinberg, the original Polish spelling of his name, and the one that he preferred). Some of the previous releases were of earlier, Soviet material; increasingly, the recordings have been new ones made especially for this series, and that is the case with this next release. And it is one of the best so far in a series where the average has been consistently high.

Weinberg (for so I must call him) has suffered from a reputation—such as he had one at all—as a Shostakovich look-alike. But
Read more just as (say) familiarity with the music of Julius Rontgen reveals how different it is from that of Brahms, its principal inspiration, so, too, with Weinberg: Once you get to know Weinberg's style, you can instantly recognize it as very much his own. It would be idiotic, of course, to ignore the enormous influence Shostakovich did have on him, but it wasn't an overwhelming one: Weinberg was happy to describe himself as "a pupil of Shostakovich. Although I never had lessons from him, I count myself as his pupil, his flesh and blood"—and Shostakovich responded with deep personal and professional respect (I detail some of their connections in my review of the Claves CD of the Chamber Symphonies Nos. 1, 3, and 4 in 23:6). But Weinberg's music is much leaner, sparser, more explicitly linear than that of his friend, which makes him a more natural composer of quartets: I sometimes have the feeling that Shostakovich's quartets are in fact composed for a small string orchestra; Weinberg's are genuine quartets. His harmonic idiom is subtly different, too; and his melodic material integrates Jewish melismata and other orientalizing inter-vallic shapes, all of which give the music a very different sound. And though Weinberg is as natural a contrapuntist as Shostakovich, he is an even more spontaneous melodist—he could write some wonderful tunes.

These three quartets, written between 1957 and 1964, are all the proof you could ask for, if proof you still require, of the individuality and depth of Weinberg's genius. Formally, they're all different: The Seventh is in three movements, the Eighth is continuous, though falling into four clearly defined sections, and the Ninth is four movements, also played attacca. And though there's not a hint of sameness between them, they do share some salient characteristics: the intense, sober passion of his adagios, the beguiling charm and wit of the allégrettos, and the explorative profundity of his Beethoven-inspired developments. In short, these are great quartets; this is great music.

I hadn't heard of the Dominant Quartet before; if the name suggests a touch of leather and bondage, the four sweet faces—three Russian, one Thai, all women in their early to mid twenties, and remarkably attractive, to boot—smiling out from the booklet photographs dispel such unworthy thoughts. The group was formed in 1995 by Valentin Berlínsky, cellist of the Borodin Quartet, and has apparently gone on to scoop up prizes and praise—hardly surprisingly, because they play fantastically well. They're as tonally reliable in the exposed textures of Weinberg's extended adagios as they're rhythmically surefooted in the allegros. They play with the trustworthy confidence of an older, wiser ensemble; the best compliment 1 can pay their playing is that you can simply put aside any technical considerations and concentrate on Weinberg's music. Lucky the composer who falls into the hands of musicians such as these. Olympia's Russian engineers have given them first-rate recorded sound, and the notes, by Weinberg expert Per Skans, are a model of what such things should be.

This is, in short, an extremely fine disc, and one that I urge you to acquire with indecent haste. I for one am thrilled by it every time I play it, which is proving to be very often.

-- Martin Anderson, FANFARE [3/2001]
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Works on This Recording

Quartet for Strings no 7 in C major, Op. 59 by Mieczyslaw Weinberg
Performer:  Tatiana Yegorova (Cello), Anna Sazonkina (Viola), Yekaterina Pogodina (Violin),
Do Phuong Nhu (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominant String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USSR 
Date of Recording: 2000 
Venue:  Moscow, Russia 
Length: 27 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Quartet for Strings no 8 in C minor, Op. 66 by Mieczyslaw Weinberg
Performer:  Do Phuong Nhu (Violin), Anna Sazonkina (Viola), Tatiana Yegorova (Cello),
Yekaterina Pogodina (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominant String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1959; USSR 
Date of Recording: 2000 
Venue:  Moscow, Russia 
Length: 16 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Quartet for Strings no 9 in F sharp minor, Op. 80 by Mieczyslaw Weinberg
Performer:  Anna Sazonkina (Viola), Yekaterina Pogodina (Violin), Do Phuong Nhu (Violin),
Tatiana Yegorova (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dominant String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; USSR 
Date of Recording: 2000 
Venue:  Moscow, Russia 
Length: 26 Minutes 45 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Not my cup of tea April 29, 2014 By Robert K. (Round Hill, VA) See All My Reviews "Not what I was expecting. If you enjoy contemporary compositions, you might like this...but if you like the more classical performances, like me, you won't. Sorry I bought it!" Report Abuse
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