Samuil Feinberg
Violin Sonata No. 1
Fantasia for piano No. 1
Suite for piano No. 1
Hanus Winterberg
Piano Sonata No.1
Suite for piano 1945 (Theresienstadt)

Nina Pissareva Zimbalist Violin
Christophe Sirodeau Piano

Melism MLSCD 011
Full price

The Review

These are all world premiere modern recordings made in Paris of music by two composers who have largely slipped through the reputational net undeservedly.

Feinberg (1890-1962) was well known in the 1920s and 30s in Soviet Russia but was one of the composers vilified by Stalin’s henchman, Zhdanov, in 1948 and thereafter kept his head down, whether by choice or necessity. His style is heavily influenced by Scriabin in these early works but that is no bad thing in his hands. They are thoroughly rewarding.

Hanus (later Hans) Winterberg (1901-1991) moved from Prague to Brno to Munich as political winds dictated. He was lucky enough to survive incarceration in Theresienstadt and to be expelled from Czechoslovakia before its communist fences went up. After his death, though, family battles buried his music until Schonberg’s grandson, Randol, and other champions managed to break the embargo in 2015.

The First Piano Sonata dates from 1936 and has plenty in common with Feinberg’s style, perhaps a little more elegiac at some moments, ferocious at others. Christophe Sirodeau is a scholar-pianist who makes a compelling case for all these works, as does Nina Pissareva in the Feinberg Violin Sonata. They are not relaxing pieces but serious essays which grow in stature with repeated listening. They well deserve a place on concert programmes from now on. Let’s hope publishers and other interpreters adopt them.