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Weinberg: Complete Piano Works Vol 1 / Allison Brewster Franzetti

Weinberg / Franzetti
Release Date: 03/27/2012 
Label:  Grand Piano   Catalog #: 603  
Composer:  Mieczyslaw Weinberg
Performer:  Allison Brewster Franzetti
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

WEINBERG Piano Sonatas: No. 1; No. 2; op. 49bis. Lullaby. 2 Mazurkas Allison Brewster Franzetti (pn) GRAND PIANO 603 (60:58)

This, the first volume in an anticipated cycle of the complete piano works of Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919–96), is a project for which some have waited a long time. This recital alone has three premiere recordings of his works: the Lullaby, op. 1, the Mazurkas, op. 10, and the Sonata, op. 49bis. As Weinberg was a virtuoso of Read more the instrument—having mastered such works as the Liszt B-Minor Sonata in his teens and co-premiering such works as Panufnik’s Piano Trio and Turski’s Piano Concerto—his music needs a performer who is not only technically capable of handling some of the inherent difficulties in his writing, but one who can at the same time make sense of his dense modernist language. It is fortunate that Allison Brewster Franzetti has taken on this project, as she has proven herself up to the task with her noteworthy recording of 20th-century piano sonatas recorded for Naxos (featuring the music of Berg, Hindemith, Schoenberg, and Hartmann).

The recital here opens with the Piano Sonata No. 1, op. 5, a tense and dramatic work made up of a slow introduction, a quirky Shostakovich-like second movement reminiscent of the Polka from The Age of Gold , a slow intermezzo, and a frenzied rhapsodic toccata. Throughout the work, Franzetti finds just the right balance between the severe character of the dissonant and virtuosic passages and the gentle ebb and flow of the more lyrical ones. The Piano Sonata No. 2, op. 8, a work premiered by no less than Emil Gilels in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in 1943, is less harsh, less dense than the first sonata. It is more a neoclassical work in its leaner textures, its clear and streamlined single lines of music, yet its language is still of the modernist school. Franzetti relishes the simplicity of the work, from the first movement’s continuous wandering figuration to its more subdued and mesmerizing second movement (here reminiscent of a Shostakovich prelude of sorts).

Weinberg’s very first published work, the Lullaby, is mesmerizing; its unrelenting rhythmic impulse provides a sense of stasis, while its turbulent harmonies provide a feeling of anxiety. The early mazurkas, while labeled as op. 10, were actually written when the composer was roughly 14; they are both rhythmic and virtuosic, though they are less interesting than his later, more mature works. The final sonata, op. 49bis, began its life as a sonatina. In 1978 the composer returned to the work, expanding it and relabeling it as a sonata. In its current form it is far more lyrical, far less harmonically adventurous than his published piano sonatas. It is, however, a charming work and one that would no doubt appeal to many. Franzetti throughout proves a fine guide to this too-little-played music. If one enjoys the music of Prokofiev or Shostakovich, then one would also enjoy the music of Weinberg. In very fine performances here, and in adequate sound (a bit reverberant for my taste), this is a fine release.

FANFARE: Scott Noriega
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Works on This Recording

Sonata for Piano no 1, Op. 5 by Mieczyslaw Weinberg
Performer:  Allison Brewster Franzetti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940 
Berceuse for Piano, Op. 1 by Mieczyslaw Weinberg
Performer:  Allison Brewster Franzetti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935 
Sonata for Piano no 2, Op. 8 by Mieczyslaw Weinberg
Performer:  Allison Brewster Franzetti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942 
Mazurkas (2) for Piano by Mieczyslaw Weinberg
Performer:  Allison Brewster Franzetti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Sonata for Piano, Op. 49bis by Mieczyslaw Weinberg
Performer:  Allison Brewster Franzetti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 A major discovery May 1, 2013 By Yves Beauchemin (North Troy, VT) See All My Reviews "Weinberg is my major discovery of the last fifteen years. I first listened to his trumpet concerto on Russian Discs. Olympia Records allowded me to familiarize myself with some of his orchestral and chamber music. The complete piano works played by Allisson Brewster Franzetti is a joy to listen to, even if some of them are sometimes a little austere. This said, we are in front of an important composer." Report Abuse
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