Elisaveta Blumina reveals the essence of Mieczyslaw Weinberg

This marks the seventh recording of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s music by Elisaveta Blumina. And, in my opinion, her performances remain just as true to Weinberg’s personality as they did in the first.

The release features Weinberg’s Piano Quintet, one of his most successful — and authentic — works. Weinberg composed the work in 1944, while Soviet authorities were paying closer attention to the war effort than the arts. (That would change very soon.)

Weinberg, in part, emulates his friend and mentor Dmitri Shostakovich. The structure follows that of Shostakovich’s own Piano Quintet. But the melodies — and impudent harmonies — are pure Weinberg.

Matthias Bauer recasts the work as one for piano and strings, which greatly changes the dynamic. Instead of five players on equal footing, we have an ensemble and a solo instrument. Without changing the notes, the work becomes a piano concertino.

It works well in this format. Especially with Blumina as soloist. Her playing is as mercurial as Weinberg’s music. In her hands, the piano can sound sarcastic, sentimental, angry, restless, or playful.

And that facility to not only change moods but give them subtle inflections is equally effective in her performances of the Children’s Notebooks. Although supposedly written for children, these pieces are not for beginners! Blumina makes these miniatures sparkle with her playing.

Another great addition to the growing catalog of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s music.

Mieczyslaw Weinberg: Piano Quintet, Op. 18 (orchestral version by Matthais Bauer)
Children’s Notebooks, Op. 16 & 19
Elisaveta Blumina, piano
Georgian Chamber Orchestra Ingolstadt; Ruben Gazarian, conductor
Capriccio CS366

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