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Weinberg Songs

Children’s Songs, Op. 13 (1944/45)
Beyond the Border of Past Days, Op. 50 (1951)
Rocking the Child, Op. 110 (1973)

Olga Kalugina (soprano); Svetlana Nikolayeva (mezzo); Dmitry Korostelyov (piano)
rec. C Gnessin Musical College, Moscow, 2006/


Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919–1996) has only recently come to feel important to me; firstly with the powerful Piano Quintet and now again through his songs. There are three sets, two of them about children and childhood. Olga Kalugina has a boyish soprano in the Children’s Songs, Op. 13 and made me regret that I had not come across these when programming Russian Children's Songs for the first recording I produced with my son Simon; alongside Children's Songs of Mussorgsky, Prokofiev Kabalevsky & Stravinsky, or indeed with those of Szymanowski in his second LP, they would have suited him perfectly.

The originals were Polish/Yiddish poems, some light-hearted and carefree, others reflecting a child’s puzzled response to a family and home destroyed by war. Others recorded here are settings of Blok, sober allegories of redemption - dealing with pain, solace, what has passed and what remains [Robert Hugill]. The third set are about motherhood and babyhood, with implied social comment and the adult’s need for comfort - never simple lullabies.

Both singers are attractive and individual vocally; the parallel texts in Cyrillic and English are quite easy to follow, and it is important to try.

Peter Grahame Woolf

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