The album was recently issued by ECM New Series on the occasion of Gidon Kremer’s 75th birthday on February 27. This album also celebrates the 40-year collaboration between Kremer and ECM.
The pieces featured on the disc are Mieczysław Weinberg’s Sonatas for Solo Violin No. 1, 2, and 3, written in 1964, 1967, and 1979, respectively. As described by ECM, these works are richly creative and technically challenging for solo violin.
The first two sonatas were dedicated to Soviet violinist Mikhail Fichtenholz and the third was in memory of Mieczysław’s father Shmil Weinberg, who had been a composer and conductor at the Yiddish Theater.
Born in 1919, Mieczysław Weinberg studied at the Warsaw Conservatory which was then directed by Karol Szymanowski.
In 1943, he traveled to Moscow at the suggestion of Shostakovich, who praised the score of his first symphony. They became close friends and the influences of Shostakovich can be heard in these solo violin sonatas.
Weinberg wrote prolifically, especially during the 1960s and 70s when demands for Socialist Realism began to dissipate. He penned 26 symphonies, 17 string quartets, six concertos, seven operas, 28 sonatas, over 200 songs, and 60 scores for film, theater, and more.
For this album, Kremer played on a 1641 Nicola Amati violin which, according to him, “allowed great tension and versatility to be imparted to the notes of Weinberg.”
Recorded at Lockenhaus and Lithuania’s Studio Residence Palesius, this recording is Kremer’s third ECM release featuring Weinberg’s music.
“I am very pleased that the world is slowly recognizing Mieczysław Weinberg as an important composer,” Kremer said in the press release. “For me personally, the treasure trove of his compositions remains a constant source of enthusiasm and inspiration.”
To listen to and purchase the album, click here.
Born into a musical family in Latvia in 1947, Kremer began violin playing at age four. At 18, he studied with David Oistrakh at the Moscow Conservatory and his solo career took off in his early 20s when he won first prize at both the Paganini and Tchaikovsky International Competitions.