Point of Interest: Mieczyslaw Weinberg (Moishei Vainberg / Моисей Вайнберг)


This post is inspired by a couple of highway signs that I always see – they proudly state: “Point of Interest,” but every time I tried to look around and see what that “point” is and what kind of “interest” I should have in it, I cannot see anything resembling any kind of an interesting object – I suppose maybe it’s my Russian upbringing and profound respect that I have for signs and slogan: if the sign says “Stop!” I usually stop, if it says “Glory to the Communist Party” I am nodding agreeably and try to look like I really mean it…

Today’s “Point of Interest” is of musical nature: recently I became interested in a Polish-Russian composer Moisei (sometimes Moishei) Vainberg, or Mieczyslaw Weinberg (Polish name) – there is a rather annoying confusion about the name – Vainberg was born in Warsaw and his Polish name is Weinberg, but since he spent most of his life in Russia and become a Russian composer as far as a cultural identification is concerned, his Russian name is Вайнберг (transliterated as Vainberg). Weinberg/Vainberg was from a Jewish family and his Jewish name was Moishei (Моисей) or Moses, but his Polish name was Mieczyslaw (Мечислав) – in any case, one can find his recordings under both last names. I have his music for a ballet The Golden Key (Op. 55) and Symphonies 7 and 12, I find them to be of excellent quality, even if some speak of Vainberg as Shostakovich-Lite. Continue reading