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Title - 'Weinberg: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 21'
Artist - Gražinytė-Tyla/Kremer/City Of Birmingham Symphony

For those not in the know, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla is a Lithuanian conductor who was named Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in February 2016; following in the footsteps of Sir Simon Rattle, Sakari Oramo and Andris Nelsons.

Her Music Directorship was extended through the 2020-21 season.

Highlights of her 2018-19 season include numerous European tours with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, performances with the New York Philharmonic, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Filharmonica della Scalla, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the National Symphony Orchestra. She will also take part in highly anticipated events such as the CBSO Song Festival and the BBC Proms.

Gražinyte-Tyla has electrified audiences as a guest conductor all over the world. In Europe, she has collaborated with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, the Deutsche Radiophilharmonie, the Choir of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the MDR Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Chamber Orchestras of Vienna, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the Mozarteum Orchestra and the Camerata Salzburg, and the Orchestra of the Komische Oper in Berlin.

For her first recording with Deutsche Grammophon, the Lithuanian conductor offers haunting accounts of two symphonies by the Polish-born Soviet composer, Mieczysław Weinberg.

Having just released the album in May this wondrous collection of orchestral works by Polish composer Mieczysław Weinberg, whose centenary falls this year is as good as it gets, in my humble opinion.

On this 2CD set, we get the String Symphony No. 2, played by Gidon Kremer’s Kremerata Baltica, and the longer Symphony No. 21 (“Kaddish”), the composer’s last, played by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; both, of course, conducted by the latter’s new chief, Gražinytė-Tyla.

In the first movement, violinist Kremer takes the long solo violin segments, while Gražinytė-Tyla takes on the soprano part in the finale. A stunning combination, perhaps less operatic than in works gone by, nonetheless it's Gražinytė-Tyla’s dulcet, schooled, pure dare I say singing that shines through on this new interpretation.

Indeed, she conducts the combined forces of the CBSO, Kremerata Baltica and violinist Kremer in Symphony No. 21 “Kaddish” – a major work completed in 1991 and dedicated to the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto - as if her life depended on a successful interpretation.

Much as she also did in the early Symphony No. 2, she allows the Second String Symphony to become more "classical" in character, shall I say. More tightly bound than the somewhat fragmented “Kaddish” it's a more readily approachable and even moving a composition now.

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