Arts Desk: Tasmin Little Farewell Recital, RFH review – memories, tributes and dreams

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Classical Music Magazine: These Women’s Works – Tasmin Little/Chandos

Review: Raphael Wallfisch shows affinity for Weinberg Cello Concerto

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Raphael Wallfisch shows affinity for Weinberg Cello Concerto

At first blush, it may seem like a recording of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s music doesn’t belong in the Cello Concertos by Exiled Jewish Composers series. After all, wasn’t Weinberg a Soviet composer?

He was, but he very much belongs in this series. Weinberg was born in Warsaw. His family moved to Russia, and after the Revolution, it was impossible for him to return. He was effectively an exile within the Soviet Union.

And his religion and personality made him somewhat of a political exile, too. Weinberg seemed to alternate between winning Stalin prizes and threatened with arrest.

The works in this release show a slightly different side of Weinberg. His style is often compared to that of his close friend Dimitri Shostakovich. These works, though, have a strong Jewish musical element in them. And that sound is purely Weinberg.

This release features three works. The Cello Concertino Op.43bis served as the basis for the much larger Cello Concerto Op. 43 (both performed here). Also included is the  Fantasia, Op. 52.

The Concerto is double the length of the Concertino — but it’s just padding. The Concertino is a modest, tightly-focused work. Weinberg’s music features Jewish melodic elements prominently, IN 1948 such overtly religious overtones were dangerous, and the work remained shelved and unheard for decades.

In expanding the work, Weinberg softened the Jewish elements. But Wallfisch’s playing shows they’re still there. He bends the tones in the style of a Jewish cantor, making plain the work’s foundation.

The Fantasia also uses Jewish melodic patterns, but this time set against harmonies that are both more complex and less tonal than his 1943 concerto.

As always, Wallfisch’s sympathetic performances provide insight into the scores. In this case, his decision to highlight the Jewish elements in the music provides added insight into the complex personality of Mieczyslaw Weinberg.

Mieczyslaw Weinberg: Cello Concerto Op. 43
Fantasy, op. 42; Concertino op. 43bis
Cello Concertos by Exiled Jewish Composers
Raphael Wallfisch, cello
Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra; Lukasz Borowicz, conductor

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Tasmin Little – Farewell Recital with pianists, John Lenehan, Martin Roscoe, Piers Lane and Andrey Gugnin

Thursday 22nd October at London’s Royal Festival Hall at 19:30

Tasmin Little: Tasmin’s final Southbank Centre recital

This concert marked Tasmin’s final Southbank Centre recital and was be broadcast live on R3 (no audience). Tasmin performed with her four pianist partners.

Andrey Gugnin, piano
Piers Lane, piano
John Lenehan, piano
Martin Roscoe, piano

BRAHMS – Sonatensatz (Piers Lane)
CLARA SCHUMANN – 3 Romances (Martin Roscoe)
LILI BOULANGER – Nocturne (Piers Lane)
BRAHMS – Sonata No. 3 in D minor (Andrey Gugnin)
ROXANNA PANUFNIK – Hora Bessarabia for solo violin
COLERIDGE TAYLOR – Demande et Réponse (Piers Lane)
AMY BEACH – Romance (Martin Roscoe)
AMY BEACH – Sonata (John Lenehan)


Christmas Present alert: A wonderful new book on chamber music from Ripon Concerts to raise money for musicians during this period.

Roger Higson and artist Roger Chapman have written “From Duet to Decet” to support musicians, whose livelihoods have been shattered by the Covid 19 pandemic.

This light-hearted introduction to chamber music gives you everything you need to know to enjoy the chamber concert experience.

Find out about musical instruments, ensembles, composers, famous chamber works, venues, music societies, music festivals and much more.

“Informative, entertaining, and thoroughly useful. Just wish we could have had it two years ago when we started to get interested.” JA

We wrote the book because we and very many music societies around the country have had to cancel our concerts and very aware of the financial hardship that so many of our musicians have been facing. We felt that this would be a good way of supporting them as well as spreading the message about the joys of chamber music.

A great family stocking present – 76 illustrated pages

Written to support musicians. All proceeds from the sale of this book will be given to Help Musicians UK – (formerly The Musicians Benevolent Fund)

ONLY £12 (incl. post and packing)

£10 + £2 p&p
Copies available:


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