Kremerata Baltica leaves the listener open-mouthed and gasping for breath


Gidon Kremer is one of the most ardent advocates of Weinberg’s music. This is also not the first time he has tackled his music. With his Kremerata Baltica and a few eminent guests, he has already recorded Weinberg’s chamber music works for CD in 2014. And the live recording of Weinberg’s violin sonata he made with Martha Argerich in Lugano has rightfully become legendary.

Kremer’s unsubtle way of playing and his almost animalistic drive are the best keys to the music of the Polish-Russian-Jewish composer who for decades – if not forgotten – had been lost in the madness of world history.

The recording of the first three chamber symphonies was made live in the Viennese Musikverein in June 2015. As expected, Kremer and his ensemble are more than ideal for the impetuous music of the composer who whimsically seemed to disregard all musical laws.

A foretaste (in poor sound quality): Chamber Symphony No. 2, Op. 147 – III Andante Sostenuto

The arrangement of the 1944 piano quintet may seem superfluous, but the addition of percussion does not miss its effect and makes the work more monumental and the tension is immense.

The fourth symphony was the last work Weinberg orchestrated. The addition of the clarinet solo does not miss its effect and leaves the listener gasping for breath with an open mouth. Which is certainly also thanks to the unparalleled playing of the clarinettist Mate Bekavac and the very muscular conducting of Mirga Grazynité-Tyla.

The fact that the inflated piano quintet and the fourth symphony sound slightly better than the other works can be explained: the recording was made in the studio.

Chamber Symphonies; Piano Quintet
Kremerata Baltica, Gidon Kremer (conductor and violin), Yulianna Avdeeva (piano), Andrei Pushkarev (percussion), Mate Bekavac (clarinet), Mirga Gražinité-Tyla (conductor)
ECM 2538/39 4814604 – 155′ (2cd’s)

Translated with (free version)

Mirga Gražinytė -Tyla lifts Weinberg’s autobiography to unprecedented heights

Weinberg Grazynite

Weinberg’s 21st symphony is not a work you can simply listen to. It presents itself as Weinberg’s autobiography: his escape from the Warsaw Ghetto, his arrival and stay in the Soviet Union and his fight with the authorities and the memories. The structure of the symphony is incredibly complex – irreverently one could say that it is unbalanced, because all kinds of things happen in it. Chopin (‘Ballade in g’, ‘Marche Funèbre’), Mahler’s ‘Mutter, ach Mutter’ from his Des Knaben Wunderhorn, a klezmer tune carried by a solo clarinet that turns into a Requiem.

However, aren’t our memories like that? Disordered, one emotion evoking another? Weinberg dedicated his ‘Kaddish’ (one of the most important prayers in the Jewish liturgy that is pronounced after the death of a parent) – symphony from 1991 to the victims of the Warsaw ghetto. Distressing. Just like the life of Weinberg himself.

But do not forget the second symphony! The Adagio is an eleven-minute sadness that hurts so much that it can only lead to a satirical outburst in part three, the Allegretto. My God, what music. What a composer.

I can be brief on the performance. Brilliant. Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla confirms her reputation as one of the best young conductors of today. Under her leadership the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra sounds like I haven’t heard it in years, not since the very young and unknown Simon Rattle first took over the reins there. It is therefore gratifying that she has been awarded an exclusive contract with DG.

That she chose Weinberg’s Kaddish for her first recording on the ‘yellow label’ is significant. Knowing her (and her preferences) we can expect exciting recordings of unknown and lesser known works. Go, Mirga, go!

Translated with

Symphony no. 2 on. 30; Symphony no. 21 op. 152 (Kaddish)
Gidon Kremer (violin), Maria Barns (soprano), Oliver Janes (clarinet), Georgijs Osokins (piano), Iurii Gavryliuk (double bass)
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Kremerata Baltica conducted by Mirga Gražinytė -Tyla
DG 48365661Kreme

In Dutch: Mirga Gražinytė -Tyla tilt Weinbergs autobiografie tot de ongekende hoogten

Kremerata Baltica laat de luisteraar met open mond en naar adem happend achter


Gideon Kremer behoort tot de vurigste pleitbezorgers van de muziek van Weinberg. Het is ook niet de eerste keer dat hij diens muziek onder handen neemt. Met zijn Kremerata Baltica en een paar eminente gasten heeft hij al in 2014 Weinbergs kamermuziekwerken voor cd vastgelegd. En de live opname van Weinbergs vioolsonate die hij samen met Martha Argerich in Lugano maakte is terecht legendarisch geworden.

Kremers weinig subtiele manier van spelen en zijn bijna dierlijke gedrevenheid vormen de beste sleutel tot de muziek van de Pools-Russisch-Joodse componist die decennialang – zo niet vergeten dan verloren was geraakt in de mallemolen van de wereldgeschiedenis.

De opname van de eerste drie kamersymfonieën werd in juni 2015 live gemaakt in de Weense Musikvereinssaal. Zoals verwacht zijn Kremer en zijn ensemble meer dan ideaal voor de onstuimige muziek van de componist die grillig alle muziekwetten aan zijn laars leek te lappen.

Een voorproefje (in slechte kwaliteit): Chamber Symphony No. 2, Op. 147 – III Andante Sostenuto

De bewerking van het pianokwintet uit 1944 lijkt misschien overbodig, maar de toevoeging van slagwerken mist zijn uitwerking niet en maakt het werk monumentaler. Daarbij is de spanning om te snijden.

De vierde symfonie was het laatste werk dat Weinberg instrumenteerde. De toevoeging van de klarinetsolo mist zijn uitwerking niet en laat de luisteraar met open mond en naar adem happend achter. Wat zonder meer ook door de weergaloze spel van de klarinettist Mate Bekavac en de zeer gespierde directie van Mirga  Grazynité-Tyla komt.

Dat het ‘opgepompte’ pianokwintet en de vierde symfonie iets beter klinken dan de andere werken is verklaarbaar: de opname is in de studio gemaakt.

Chamber Symphonies; Piano Quintet
Kremerata Baltica, Gidon Kremer (dirigent en viool), Yulianna Avdeeva (piano), Andrei Pushkarev (slagwerken), Mate Bekavac (klarinet), Mirga Gražinité-Tyla (dirigent)
ECM 2538/39 4814604 • 155’ (2cd’s)

Meer Weinberg (selectie):
MIECZYSŁAW WEINBERG. Suite for Orchestra; Symphony No.17 ‘Memory’

War – there is no word more cruel

WEINBERG: vioolconcert


MIECZYSŁAW WEINBERG: Complete Sonatas for Violin and Piano

The voice of the Viola in Times of Opression: viola as a voice for the persecuted