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Monday, June 17, 2019

Mieczysław Weinberg - String Quartets Vol. 6 (Quatuor Danel)


Composer: Mieczysław Weinberg
  • (01) String Quartet No. 2, Op. 3
  • (05) String Quartet No. 12, Op. 103
  • (09) String Quartet No. 17, Op. 146

Quatuor Danel
Marc Danel, violin
Gilles Millet, violin
Vlad Bogdanas, viola
Guy Danel, cello

Date: 2012
Label: cpo



Final volume in the Danel’s complete Weinberg series

Since forming in 1991, the Quatuor Danel has made a particular study of Weinberg and this disc is the final volume in a complete survey of his string quartets. It is, therefore, a particular joy that they play with such insight, as well as accuracy and homogeneity of tone and ensemble. There is no hint of the victim in this music (whether or not the overarching mood happens to be positive), as you can hear in the work of many composers who lived through decades of constant, aggressive political change. Instead, it is imbued with a sense of pride in how greatness manages to flourish above all.

Rather than record each of the 17 quartets in sequence, the Danels have ordered each disc as a career-spanning spread, by which policy this volume should be particularly representative as it includes one of Weinberg’s earliest (No 2, written in 1939, although revised in 1986) alongside the last, from 1986. That Weinberg’s reluctance to display any political bias brings such an innocent optimism and purity to his work is sensitively respected by the Danels, who never open out the tone into something unnecessarily thickset. (This can be a bit at odds with the audible heavy breathing at times, which is only ever really acceptable as a backdrop to music that could be described as more lugubrious.) Instead they encourage the listener to follow the change from a certain naivety in the early examples to a more wry outlook at the end of his life. They also manage with great control the slow thematic development to which Weinberg was partial, as they do his greatly varied melody, which can range from the expansively beautiful to the reedily spooky.

-- Caroline Gill, Gramophone

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Mieczysław Weinberg (8 December 1919 in Warsaw – 26 February 1996 in Moscow) was a Soviet composer of Polish-Jewish origin. From 1939 he lived in the Soviet Union and Russia and lost most of his family in the Holocaust. He left a large body of work that included twenty-two symphonies and seventeen string quartets. Weinberg's works frequently have a strong programmatic element. Throughout his life, he continually referred back to his formative years in Warsaw and to the war. Although he never formally studied with Shostakovich, the older composer had an obvious influence on Weinberg's music.


Quatuor Danel is a French string quartet which was founded in June 1991. The quartet trained under the guidance of the Amadeus Quartet, the Borodin Quartet, Feodor Druzhinin of the Beethoven Quartet, and also with Pierre Penassou and Walter Levin of the LaSalle Quartet. The Danel Quartet's repertoire includes classical as well as contemporary music. They are specialized in the Russian repertoire; they have recorded the quartets by Shostakovich and Weinberg (world premiere). Since 2005, the Danel Quartet is "quartet in residence" at the University of Manchester, and since 2016, at Tivoli Vredenburg Utrecht.


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