"...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…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."
Scott Noriega - Fanfare - September 2012
"Grand Piano is a new label, launched in March of this year and distributed by Naxos, dedicated to recording rare works and complete cycles. This is Volume 1 of Moisei Vainberg’s piano music…and contains the first recordings of the Lullaby, Op. 1, the Two Mazurkas, Op. 10, and the Sonata, Op. 49b. Sonata No. 1, Op. 5, from 1940, is a four-movement piece that clocks in at 15 minutes. III, an Adagio, has a lot of beauty and emotional variety. The playing is good ..."
Stephen Estep - American Record Guide - July 2012
"Franzetti’s playing in the Second Sonata is outstanding; layered and clearly the result of much thought. The Adagio plumbs the greatest depths of the disc, ending with tolling bells that lead into the dancing finale. Franzetti’s Naxos disc of 20th-century piano music has been warmly welcomed by the critical press; this disc is just as successful."
Colin Clark - International Piano magazine - July 2012
"Miecyslaw Weinberg’s major piano works are ably performed by Allison Brewster Franzetti, some in premiere recordings. Franzetti’s performance of the magical close of the Andantino is touching, seemingly wandering into the distance before the fearsome Finale emerges. Official pressure against Shostakovich’s experimentalism forced him towards the Symphony No.5’s more “positive” idiom; comparing Weinberg’s Second Sonata (1942) to the first shows similar movement. Harmony is organized around familiar scales, the music lilts and sings. Franzetti builds perfectly towards the slow movement’s climax, and the quiet return of the opening mood is breathtaking."
Roger Knox - The WholeNote - June 2012
"Interest in the music of the Polish-born Russian composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg has revived over the past couple of years, since the emergence of his 1968 Holocaust-themed opera “The Passenger.” Now comes a new collection of gritty and fascinating works—the first installment of a projected complete cycle of Weinberg’s piano music—that can only accelerate the process. Weinberg, who died in 1996, was a friend and protege of Shostakovich’s, and the influence of the older composer suffuses this music—especially the Sonata No. 1, which boasts some of the same angular rhythms, tart dissonances and mournful expressivity. But Weinberg’s harmonic language, as well as his taste for spirited fantasy, is distinctive, and there is an ambitious quality to the last piece here—a sonatina expanded 25 years later into a full-scale sonata—that is irresistible. Completeness means we also get some teenage works that are slim but utterly charming. Allison Brewster Franzetti plays it all with fervor and appealing commitment."
Joshua Kosman - San Francisco Chronicle - April 2012
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