Video of the Goldner String Quartet performing the Australian premiere of Mieczesław Weinberg's String Quartet No. 8.
|Date||12th August 2017|
Mieczysław Weinberg is now recognised as one of the most important and distinctive compositional voices of the Soviet Union. After the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, he fled his native Warsaw for Minsk, leaving his family behind - they would go on to be murdered in the Holocaust. Weinberg travelled eastwards to Tashkent, and eventually settled in Moscow on the invitation of Dmitri Shostakovich. His father-in-law, Solomon Mikhoels, was the most famous Yiddish actor in the Soviet Union, and was murdered in 1948 under Stalin's orders. In 1953, Weinberg's wife's uncle was involved in the infamous "Doctor's Plot", with Weinberg himself imprisoned. Despite advocacy from his friend Shostakovich, he remained captive and was only saved from execution by the death of Stalin in March. After release, Weinberg spent the remainder of his career working to commemorate the losses of the war and the Holocaust, often working with and alongside Shostakovich.
The Eighth Quartet is one of Weinberg’s most Klezmer-inflected works. It begins and ends in C major and takes the form of a single movement, subdividing into three main sections (slow-fast-slow), a structure that Shostakovich would use in his own Thirteenth Quartet eleven years later. The work is dedicated to the famous Borodin Quartet, who worked closely with him on several premieres of his works.
(c) Dr Daniel Elphick