The Boston Globe‘s Jeremy Eichler writes:
Weinberg (1919-1996) is surely the most fascinating Soviet-era composer that most Western listeners, until a decade ago, had never heard of. He chose this Blok poem for a song cycle called “Beyond the Border of Past Days,” a title that also hints at the forces of memory that shaped Weinberg’s own life and his almost surreally prolific career writing music in the shadow of catastrophe.
Read the rest here.
Pro Musica Hebraica Resident Scholar, James Loeffler, writes in the The New Republic:
What are we to do with Wagner’s anti-Semitism? The recent Wagner anniversary has brought a predictable amount of equivocation and hand-wringing about the German master’s role in the history of hate. We know by now not to read history backward. A nineteenth-century composer who died in 1883 cannot logically be accused of personal complicity in a twentieth-century genocide. Yet that does not mean that the broader question of his responsibility for the spread of modern anti-Semitism can be simply ignored.
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This week, BBC Radio 3 celebrates the life and work of twentieth-century master Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996), a Polish Jewish émigré to the Soviet Union whose music has frequently drawn comparisons to his friend and mentor, Dmitri Shostakovich. Visit BBC Radio 3′s website for more information about this week’s episodes, presented by Donald Macleod.
A YIDDISH MIDSUMMER NIGHT WITH EVGENY KISSIN
Portuguese Synagogue, Amsterdam
Evgeny Kissin (1971) is of Russian-Jewish descent and a child prodigy with an extraordinary career as concert pianist. Later in life he started focusing on his Jewish heritage: he learned Yiddish and became an Israeli citizen. Reciting Yiddish poetry is slowly becoming like a small second career for Kissin.
More details at The Netherlands Foundation for Israeli Culture (KUNSTENISRAËL).
Anne Midgette of the Washington Post reviews Pro Musica Hebraica’s Spring 2014 concert featuring Evgeny Kissin:
One of the points of attending a live performance is to watch artists express themselves. Yet the concert hall experience has become codified in traditions that affect everything from how we dress to what we see on stage. Many artists have challenged these traditions, and to them, we tend to assign labels such as “experimental” or “avant-garde.”
But it almost never happens that a superstar gets up in his established context and does something completely different, without intending any challenge to the status quo at all, but simply to express something that is in his heart.
Evgeny Kissin, the pianist, did this — breathtakingly — at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on Monday night.
Read the rest.