Saturday / August 21 / 9 p.m. / Corpus Christi Chapel
Mieczyslaw Weinberg: 24 Preludes for Solo Cello, Op. 100
Johann Sebastian Bach: Six Preludes from Cello Suites, BWV 1007–1012
Jiří Bárta – cello
Mieczysław Weinberg /also Moisey, or Moishe Vainberg / (1919-1996) was one of those 20th century composers whose works have come to be rediscovered only since fairly recently, with considerable delay. He was born in Poland, to a father who was conductor in a Yiddish theatre, and a mother who was an actor in the same company. While the family had originally escaped to Poland from pogroms in Russia, after the outbreak of the Second World War Mieczysław (who had by then graduated from the Warsaw Conservatory) sought refuge in their former home country, the Soviet Union. There, the talented composer met Dmitry Shostakovich and the two of them became friends. As though it were not enough that the rest of the Weinberg family who stayed in Poland had perished in the holocaust, he too found himself facing imprisonment and death still after the war, a fate which was eventually averted only by the death of Stalin in 1953.
Weinberg´s compositional output, appreciated during his lifetime only by a narrow circle of Soviet artists, includes twenty-two symphonies, string quartets, sonatas for various instruments, and an extensive body of music for theatre and cinema. His Preludes for Solo Cello (written for Mstislav Rostropovich) display an astonishing multitude of musical styles and techniques The character of the collection´s individual numbers is often provocative, perhaps even brutal. The parallelisms between Weinberg´s scores and the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, to whose legacy the 24 Preludes relate, include the exposition of the immense scope of what can be achieved with four strings. Indeed, Bach´s Suites have remained an incontestable staple of the cello repertoire. Many players (including the one featured in tonight´s concert) feel continuously compelled to return to their interpretation ever again, often following a distance of several years.What is it that continues to fascinate us there? Apart from the composer´s capacity to conjure the effect of a dialogue by monophonic means, it is also the soothing, at times meditative impact of their slow parts, that microcosm of minute details of articulation, juxtaposed with the macrocosm of their architecture at large.
sleeve-note: Dita Hradecká / translation: Ivan Vomáčka