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Music Under Stalin: Inmersion experience

Tue, March 7, 2017 – 7:00 pm + Sat, March 25, 2017 – 12:00 am

Music Under Stalin: Inmersion experience

Dmitri Shostakovich and Mieczyslaw Weinberg influenced one another over the course of a remarkable creative conversation. The sparse “late style” of both composers arose collaboratively, and so did their use of Jewish themes.

Music Under Stalin consists of 4 programs:

Weinberg, Shostakovich, and “Jewishness”

Film Screening at the National Gallery of Art: The Cranes are Flying

The Cranes are Flying (1956) –the famous Soviet film (a fascinating study in the creative application of Socialist Realism), with music by Mieczyslaw Weinberg. Commentary by GWU film scholar Peter Rollberg.

Film Screening at the National Gallery of Art: Shostakovich Viola Sonata

Shostakovich Viola Sonata (1981) –a documentary film by Aleksandr Sokurov. Commentary (and some performing) by Alexander Toradze.

The Shostakovich-Weinberg Connection

PostClassical Ensemble’s tradition of immersion experiences continues with an exploration of the complex relationship between Dmitri Shostakovich and Miecyslaw Weinberg (1919-1996). Interest in Weinberg is rapidly growing. The violinist Gidon Kremer, who is leading the charge (and who performs the Weinberg Violin Concerto with the National Symphony in January 2017), considers Weinberg as significant as Shostakovich.

Weinberg and Shostakovich continually influenced one another over the course of a remarkable creative conversation. In particular, the spare “late style” of both composers arose collaboratively, and so did their earlier use of Jewish themes.

Weinberg was Jewish –a Polish refugee whose parents and sister perished in the Holocaust. Though Stalin’s Soviet Union rescued him, Weinberg was himself arrested in 1953 as part of Stalin’s war against the Jews. Also, his father-in-law, the famous Jewish actor Solomon Mihkoels, was in 1948 the first victim of this internal war.

The distinguished Jewish-music scholar James Loeffler, who takes part in PCE’s festival, adds: “Weinberg, having lost his Polish identity, was twice a survivor –of the Holocaust and of Stalin’s Jewish purges. Survivor guilt is intrinsic to his creative identity. He made his god the anti-Fascist Red Army.

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