Everything on this CD is receiving its first commercial recording. Armstrong Gibbs's most famous piece is the once very popular little orchestral movement called 'Dusk', which was recorded on our first 'British Light Music Classics' CD. Looking for suitable repertoire to introduce Guildhall Strings into the Hyperion catalogue we asked their programmer, Ben Buckton, to investigate Gibbs's other music. The composer's granddaughter, Anne Rust, told Ben that, for safekeeping, she had sent some scores many years ago to the Britten-Pears Music Library in Aldeburgh where they have remained untouched ever since. Ben's request for 'anything for strings' by Gibbs resulted in the production of a stack of dusty folders containing the handwritten manuscripts. The work on the top of the pile was the Threnody for Walter de la Mare, and it immediately became clear that the journey to Suffolk was going to lead to more than anyone had expected. This is attractive, well-written music in a lighter vein, dating from the first half of the century.
…Another major strong point of this recording is the sound; the German audiophile label MDG outdoes itself here in an old riding stadium that displays the music's serenade-like textures to beautiful effect. Chamber players should absolutely get to know this music. There is nothing in the individual lines that would challenge good student musicians, but they stand to learn a great deal about subtle balance and interaction by playing this music. And they'll give their audiences a pleasant surprise, too.
When contemplating the baroque period in French music in connection with the flute, it would probably be names such as Hotteterre, Blavet or Mondonville which would first come to mind. Joseph Bodin de Boismortier was something of a mass-market composer whose many works served as much to earn his keep as to supply the amateur music market with fairly playable pieces. But his six sonatas (opus 91), although in many ways conventional, do require some very good playing from both performers and are distinguished by having the harpsichord part fully notated.
These live recordings from 1985 are fantastic treasures. Oleg Kagan plays the Violin Sonata (1968) and Yuri Bashmet plays the Viola Sonata (1975), which was Shostakovich's last work, both accompanied by the great Sviatoslav Richter on piano. Kagan, who died at a tragically young age, was a student of David Oistrakh, the dedicatee of the Violin Sonata. Yuri Bashmet was the star student of Fjodor Drushinin, the violist of the Beethoven Quartet, and the dedicatee of the Viola Sonata. These are unmistakably works of the late Shostakovich, brooding and dark.
One of the best-kept secrets of twentieth century Russian music is the work of Polish-born Soviet composer Moisey (Mieczyslaw) Weinberg, often spelled as Vainberg. Weinberg was born in a Warsaw ghetto to a family of itinerant Jewish theatrical performers. He made his debut as pianist at the age of ten, and by age 12 was studying at the Warsaw Conservatory. With the outbreak of war in 1939, Weinberg fled to Minsk, enrolling in the conservatory and studying with Vasily Zolotaryov. In 1943 Weinberg sent the score of his first symphony to Dmitry Shostakovich, who was impressed and arranged for Weinberg to be invited to Moscow under official approval. This was the beginning of their long friendship and of Weinberg's career as a Soviet composer.
Weinberg was the only member of his immediate family to survive the Nazi Holocaust. His father-in-law was executed as ……..From Allmusic