Tuesday 5 November 2019

UK premiere of Mieczyslaw Weinberg's Cello Concertino in Manchester

Dmitri Shostakovich and Mieczyslaw Weinberg together in Moscow
Dmitri Shostakovich & Mieczyslaw Weinberg
together in Moscow
I recently chatted to cellist Raphael Wallfisch about his project to record cello concertos by exiled Jewish composers [see my review]. Now Wallfisch is gving the UK premiere of a work by another exile, the Cello Concertino by Mieczyslaw Weinberg (Polish and Jewish by birth, Russian by adoption and a friend of Shostakovich's), which Wallfisch performs with the Northern Chamber Orchestra in the Stoller Hall at Chetham's School in Manchester on Friday 8 November 2019. Also in the programme is Tchaikovsky's Rococco Variations for cello and orchestra, in the composer's original version which Wallfisch has constantly championed [the work is best known in the adaptation by the work's original soloist, and until relatively recently this adaptation was the only version available in the West], plus Holst's St Paul's Suite and Schubert's Symphony No. 5.

Weinberg's Cello Concertino (not to be confused with the Cello Concerto) is an early work, and only came to light in 2016, and seems to be a fore-runner of the Cello Concerto. The score was written in 1948, at the height of the Soviet anti-formalism campaign and Weinberg evidently put it in a draw until 1956 (after Stalin's death) when he re-wrote it, doubling the length and created the Cello Concerto (which was premiered by Rostropovich).

Raphael Wallfisch and the Northern Chamber Orchestra are at the Stoller Hall, Manchester on Friday 8 November 2019, and they repeat the concert at Macclesfield Heritage Centre on Saturday 9 November 2019. Full details from the Northern Chamber Orchestra website

Update: I had mistakenly described the performance as the UK premiere, but it was performed at the Proms this Summer, with Sol Gabetta and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Many thanks to Michael Smith for pointing this out. 

Update 2: In fact, I had got the work wrong!


  1. Sol Gabetta played the Weinberg Cello Concerto at the Proms this year with the BBCSO, which I believe was the UK premiere.

    1. Oops, should have checked that, never believe press releases. Thanks


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