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Weinberg’s Violin Concerto is a work of passionate intensity, as the German violinist found – even though he hadn’t encountered the composer unti l eight years ago

I can well remember when I first discovered the music of Mieczyslaw Weinberg. In 2011 I was invited by the cellist Eliah Sakakushev to perform at his chamber music festival in Wonfurt, Germany. We were playing a piano trio with Jose Gallardo, by this composer I hadn’t heard of, and I went into our first rehearsal totally blind. Straight away I was shocked by the quality of the music: the intensity, the unique musical language he had; and I recall thinking: ‘My God, what did this man go through in his life to write such emotive music?’ I went home hoping that he’d written something else for the violin and was amazed to find such a treasure trove: seven sonatas for violin and piano, three for solo violin, and a violin concerto that had completely passed me by. At the same time I began to research his life, and found the answers to my question: that he had gone through the worst tragedies of the Holocaust, then been victimised and imprisoned in Russia - and yet throughout all his works there’s so much hope and light. I was fascinated by Weinberg and his music, and knew I had to learn more.

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About The Strad

We examine the 1677 ‘Romanov’ Nicolò Amati viola and the Royal Danish Orchestra’s instrument collection. Manfred Honeck explains how playing viola informs his conducting and Linus Roth discusses Weinberg. Plus the first in a two-part Berg Masterclass, with Leila Josefowicz.