||MIECZYSLAW WEINBERG - Symphony No. 1, Op. 10 - Symphony No. 7, Op. 81 -
Thord Svedlund (Conductor) - Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra - Hybrid SACD - Chandos CHSA5078|
If you happened to turn on the radio as the first movement of the Symphony No. 1, Op. 10 (Dedicated to the Red Army) by Mieczyslaw
Weinberg (1919-1996) was playing, you would not be amiss in thinking that this must be a work by Dmitri Shostakovich that you had not heard before.
The similarities between the two composers, after all they did become friends, are quite telling. Not so much in the musical language they used to express themselves,
but more so in the similar techniques they used to deliver their message. For example, the layered strings, the lone flute carrying the tune aloft over the orchestra, the
effective use of military sounding percussion, the inclusion of a solo clarinet passage to stress the ridicule, the sharp and repetitive chords to stress a point, etc ... the
list of influences is quite long. They had both suffered through and endured great losses during their lives, and that was deeply reflected in their writing. There is one
trait that sets them apart though. Shostakovich had a tendency at times to be thematically myopic and focus all of the attention on only one subject at a time, until it
developed into something else and moved on. Weinberg on the other hand was more adept at juggling several ideas at once and having them work together towards the
same end. That is immediately obvious in the contrapuntal development of the first movement of this symphony. The Lento movement that follows again
displays a talent for layering different lines to create a light and shadows atmosphere. The final two movements are both driven by strong rhythms and a solid momentum,
that delivers a very effective ending to the whole work.