2016 – A Celebration Year for Jaromir Weinberger

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January 4, 2016 by Admin

The 8th of January, 2016 marks the 120th birthday of the Czech-American composer Jaromír Weinberger.

To celebrate this milestone, Willemsmusiik has begun to publish Weinberger’s works beginning with his first compositions at the age of nine, until his last work, written in 1962. Subito Music Corporation (www.subitomusic.com) distributes these titles domestically and world-wide through their various agents.

Concurrently, Toccata Press will issue the first of three volumes of Weinberger’s collected letters this Spring. This collection is compiled and annotated by Tristan Willems.

Toccata Classics (www.toccataclassics.com) will be releasing the first recordings of many of these works later in the year starting with 2 CDs – the first a CD of organ music performed by the British organist, Paul Wilmot and a CD of orchestral music with the Czech National Orchestra, Tristan Willems conducting.

Weinberger’s career has been shrouded in mystery and misinformation for the last 80 years. Much of his music, correspondence, reviews, performance data and biographical information was lost or destroyed during the events of World War Two. This not only affected Weinberger financially, but resulted in his becoming a refugee along with hundreds of thousand other people from all over the globe. So traumatized was he by these events, Weinberger could never bring himself to write or speak of his life prior to 1939. Fortunately, he was able to remember and re-use some of the musical ingredients from his European years later in his life after resettling in America. Several examples of this are – taking the secondary theme from the first movement of his Symphony of 1935 and reworking it as a sacred solo work for organ. A melody from the 1921 ‘Union Rhapsody’ would later become ‘Mississippi Rhapsody’ for Concert Band as well as being woven into several other works. Do not mistake his ‘borrowing from himself’ as a sign of lack of invention (many composers do this as well); for Weinberger, this was his form of personal closure.

For more information on Weinberger and his music, please read the articles by Tristan Willems from the following sources:

Czech Music Quarterly

musica reanimata

Hear a performance of Weinberger’s Schwanda the Bagpiper: Polka and Fugue below.

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