Editor | Warner Classics
Catalogue No. | 0190295812713
Date | 2017

Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)
Symphony No. 5 in F minor Op. 76 (1962)
Allegro moderato
Adagio sostenuto

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)
Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major Op. 100 (1944)
Allegro marcato
Allegro giocoso

Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra
Gabriel Chmura – conductor

The recording confronts pieces authored by composers who worked not far apart, in the difficult reality of the Soviet Union, when artists’ autonomy was heavily restrained. They, on the other hand, fought for it by hook or by crook. Prokofiev and Wajnberg experienced both the authority’s favours, and persecutions; their works displayed signs of concession and – although allusive – resistance. The history has done justice to them, and the true beauty of both composers’ music turned out to be timeless. Composed by Prokofiev during the war (1944), his Symphony No. 5, as opposed to heroic and tragic symphonies by Shostakovich from that period, is rather an expression of escapism. According to the author, it was supposed to be „a hymn in honour of a free and happy man, of his power and noble spirit”. It is an accessible and tonal work that amazes with the beauty of motifs. The predominant feelings breaking through are joy and optimism (although the third movement also includes some tragic tones). The tragic and pompous Symphony No. 5 by Wajnberg (1962) has a completely different character. Composed in response to a performance (25 years after it was composed, due to a strong disapproval of the official Soviet critic) of his beloved spiritual master’s – Dmitri Shostakovich’s – Fourth. The first movement is restless and rhapsodic in character, the second one – elegiac Adagio sostenuto – seems pierced with pessimism and gloom, and the scherzo-like Allegro keeps a regular pulse and meets the criteria of a slightly grotesque „gambol”. The finale strays away from the classicist norm – instead of the usual quick tempo, the composer reaches for an Andantino, concluding the symphony with nostalgia and afterthoughts.

Recording supervision & sound egineering: Joanna Popowicz, Andrzej Lupa

Recorded at The Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of The Polish Radio, Warsaw, February 20th-23rd 2017