Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919–96), the Polish-born composer who spent most of his life in the Soviet Union, was a close friend of Shostakovich, with whose musical language his own has much in common. Weinberg’s vast output includes 26 symphonies, seventeen string quartets and some 200 songs. The three song-cycles recorded here date from across Weinberg’s career. They demonstrate his extraordinary ability to create atmosphere, often from just a handful of notes, and encompass a wide range of emotion, from wartime suffering, through playfulness and protest, to maternal love.
"...This disc is a major addition to the catalogue, introducing us to some deeply moving music."
Henry Fogel - Fanfare - July/August 2013
‘One of the features of Weinberg’s music is equanimity in the face of hardship and suffering… […] Pianist Dmitry Korostelyov copes with this kind of contrast and with the widely-spaced octaves that are a feature of Weinberg’s writing and with the range of musical styles with aplomb… This is an enterprising issue and will reward the listener who is prepared to explore musical repertoire whose significance has not yet been acknowledged.’
‘...such is the seamlessness between these 11 songs that this cycle cannot be considered as other than a cohesive and also masterly whole. [...] Both singers are well suited to this music - Olga Kalugina vividly assured in the Perez and Mistral cycles, and Svetlana Nikolayeva avoiding undue circumspection in the Blok. The sound is well-nigh ideal, while the booklet ... is up to Toccata’s usual standards. Those interested in this composer should not hesitate and further volumes are awaited with interest.’
‘The first volume of Toccata Classics’ projected complete songs of Mieczyslaw Weinberg offers rare treasures and the enticing promise of more to come. Recording the 200 or so songs will be a big undertaking, yet a necessary one. Too little of Weinberg’s music is known. Weinberg and Shostakovich may have a certain anguish in common but here Weinberg wears his a little more lightly.’
‘This is a fine start to Toccata’s Weinberg series. Weinberg’s music deserves to be better known and this disc should win many converts for his alternative view of Soviet modernism.’