Thursday, 19 February 2015

New web article - Prof. Danuta Gwizdalanka on new Weinberg research

A new article has been released and the kind people at have brought it to my attention. Authored by the brilliant Prof. Danuta Gwizdalanka, the article features new documentary evidence that brings several aspects of Weinberg's biography into question.

Link here - 'Unknown facts from Mieczyslaw Wajnberg's biography'

Gwizdalanka will be well-known to Shostakovich fans - she has authored several books on his life and music. She is also married to the composer Krzysztof  Meyer, who has himself written widely on Shostakovich. Both of them have also written on Weinberg's music - Meyer has spoken often about his respect for Weinberg, while Gwizdalanka is the author of the Polish-language book Mieczysław Wajnberg: kompozytor z trzech światów [Mieczysław Wajnberg: Composer of three worlds]. Her book is an excellent introduction to Weinberg's biography and it documents several new discoveries on Gwizdalanka's part - new evidence that is included in this article.

Her book also catalogues the various discrepancies between spellings of his name - see my article here on the same topic. To summarise, the 'Wajnberg' option appears to be becoming more and more compelling the deeper I dig.

Weinberg's birth certificate and conservatoire application - courtesy UMFC archives, posted on
In addition to this spelling, Gwizdalanka also found evidence that throws Weinberg's date of birth into question - his application to join the Warsaw conservatoire, which lists his birthday as 17 January 1919 - instead of the more familiar 8 December 1919. She also found the copy of Weinberg's birth certificate that he requested in the the 1980s (the building that housed the original was destroyed during the war).

All of this is certainly extremely interesting (though I am perhaps tempted to conclude that Weinberg lied about his age in order to join the Warsaw conservatoire - especially since he celebrated his birthday on the 8 December date throughout his life).

Whatever you think of these documents, and the 'Wajnberg' spelling (I find myself increasingly tempted), Gwizdalanka's article certainly provides great food for thought.