classical music
classical music

Citizen of Nowhere: Weinberg, a Sung Life

Part of Classical Season 2018/19

Uncover little-known songs written by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, composer of Holocaust-themed opera The Passenger, at a performance celebrating his centenary.

Weinberg wrote more than 200 songs, many of which remain unpublished. Bass-baritone Mark Glanville’s selection tells the story of the composer’s life through his music, starting with an early, lyrical setting of the great Polish-Jewish poet Julian Tuwim.

When the Nazis invaded Poland, Weinberg fled for Minsk and then Tashkent. His father, mother and sister were murdered in the Trawniki concentration camp.

Weinberg's life symbolises the plight of Central European Jews in the mid-20th century. His songs, sometimes humorous, often dramatic, frequently poignant, together form as powerful a musical evocation as any of the tumultuous times he lived in.

Jewish musical motifs inform Weinberg’s settings of the dark Yiddish nursery rhymes of IL Peretz, while his settings of Shmuel Halkin’s harrowing verse are among the most powerful musical evocations of the Holocaust ever penned.

His genius was recognised by Shostakovich, who brought him to live in Moscow after hearing his First Symphony. Many of Weinberg’s songs reflect the sound world of his adoptive country, though his musical language remains uniquely his.

Weinberg’s association by marriage to the great Jewish actor Solomon Mikhoels, who was murdered on Stalin’s orders, led to his imprisonment. Despite Shostakovich’s intercession with Soviet politician Beria, Weinberg was released only on Stalin’s death in 1953.


Mark Glanville bass-baritone
Marc Verter piano


Weinberg: Akacje (Acacias), Op.4 No.2; Introduction, Op.13 No.1; Viglid (Cradle song), Op.13 No.3; Oyfn grinem bergele (On the green mountain), Op.13 No.5; Der yesoymes brivele (The orphan's letter), Op.13 No.6; Coda, Op.13 No.7; Di Muter (The mother), Op.17 No.2; Tife Griber, Royle Leym (Deep graves, red earth), Op.17 No.5; Tsu di royte kriger (To the warrior), Op.17 No.6; Sonnet 55, Op.33 No.1; Sonnet 71, Op.33 No.5; Stalin, Op.38 No.1; Biblia cyganska (Gypsy bible), Op.57 No.1; Zydek (Jew), Op.57 No.2; Aptekarz majowy (May pharmacist), Op.57 No.4; Moment, Op.57 No.5; Leesh utra minula (As soon as mornign passes), Op.70 No.1; Uta gavarit mudrets (The words of the wise man), Op.70 No.4; Znov vyechyerinii s kalakolni (The evening ringing from the belfry), Op.70 No.5; Yesli Vui (Only if ...), Op.70 No.7; Night, Op.116 No.7; Pushkin, Op.116 No.10

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Purcell Room


Booking fee: £3.50 (Members £0.00)


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