New CD Information from Nimbus Alliance Records/Wihan Quartet featuring the music of William Zinn*
Artist(s): Wihan Quartet
Composer: William Zinn (b1924)
Repertoire: String Quartet No. 1
Kol Nidrei Memorial
Catalogue No: NI6256
Discs: 1 CD/Standard Case
UK PPD: £8.70 (Full Price)
UK Release Date: 10th March 2014
Elie Wiesel (A Portrait); string Quartet No. 1; Kol Nidrei Memorial
Repertoire & Composer Information
Composer-violinist William Zinn (b1924) was a member of many major orchestras. He performed under the world’s greatest conductors and his compositions have been played worldwide. He has composed over 500 chamber ensemble, symphony, vocal and solo instrumental works. His compositions cover the entire spectrum of musical instruments including all the woodwinds, brass, strings, harp, guitar, harmonica and piano. He composed the ‘7 Seasons’ (seven multiple movement tone poems for orchestra) based on the seven most important Jewish holidays.
Miscellaneous works include ‘A Tribute to the Masters’ (14 original compositions for string orchestra in the styles of the masters, from Vivaldi to Debussy); 12 Bagatelles; 12 Barcarolles for String Quartet; a piano quartet; a 24-movement harp trio; the Siegfried Rhapsody for solo violin (based on Richard Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll); Bach’s Six Solo Cello Suites converted to duets by adding an original violin part; and 24 Paganini Caprices for String Quartet (recorded on the Nimbus Alliance label by the Wihan Quartet). Other works include Hebraic Scenes (solo violin & orchestra);Concerto Hebraic (solo piano & string orchestra); A Klezmer Symphony; A Classical Klezmer String Quartet; Symphony in Ragtime; 13 Duets for violin and viola; arrangements of all original works of Fritz Kreisler; 10 Sousa marches; 12 Stephen Foster songs; 46 Opera Favourites for String Quartet.
After reading the book Memoirs, which outlines the life story of Elie Wiesel – a Romanian born, Jewish-American Professor, William Zinn became intrigued to learn more about the man and his talents as an author. He acquired several of his books, and read them slowly, so as not to miss any nuance and to fully absorb its contents. With the inhuman trials and tribulations of a holocausts survivor, Wiesel became an important worldwide figure. He travelled, learned several languages, mixed with important political and social leaders, taught, lectured and worked for the media as a correspondent. He has written over 50 books, created a foundation and was awarded the prestigious ‘The Nobel Peace Prize 1986’. He also maintains devotion and dedication to Judaism.
As a composer, Zinn decided to pay tribute to this man and to honour him by expressing musically his impressions of Wiesel’s character and accomplishments. Zinn chose the medium of the string quartet for its inherent seriousness, its sensitivity and its depth. The music does not represent a depiction or a description of events, but rather, the composer’s emotional responses to the overcoming of the subject’s his hardships and internal struggles.
William Zinn’s First String Quartet was composed in 1966 upon the death of the cellist of his quartet, at the age of 60. Benjamin De Miranda was a fine musician, oil painter and intellectual. In a moving poem to his wife, he requested that Beethoven’s Cavatina Op.130 be played at his funeral. Since he was fond of Beethoven, Zinn composed this music in the style of Beethoven.
Dedicated to those individuals who have sacrificed themselves, and continue to do so, for the cause of freedom, the Kol Nidrei Memorial was composed in remembrance of the six million innocent Jews that were slaughtered during the holocaust. He took the most sacred, mournful theme in all Hebraic music, and built a composition upon it.
The Wihan Quartet, formed in 1985, are heirs to the great Czech musical tradition. The Quartet’s outstanding reputation for the interpretation of its native Czech heritage and of the many classical, romantic and modern masterpieces of the string quartet repertoire is widely acknowledged. During the 2012/13 season the Quartet were Czech Chamber Music Society Resident Ensemble at the Rudolfinum Dvorak Hall, Prague.
They have developed an impressive international career, which includes visits to major festivals in Europe and the Far East. They visit Japan regularly and have had highly acclaimed tours of the USA, Australia and New Zealand. They are frequent visitors to the UK and can often be heard on BBC Radio 3 and in concert at Wigmore Hall and many other venues.
The Wihan Quartet has won many International Competitions including The Prague Spring Festival and the Osaka ‘Chamber Festa’. In 1991, they won both the First Prize and the Audience Prize in the London International String Quartet Competition.
During 2008 the Quartet completed the first ever cycle of Beethoven Quartets in Prague and also repeated this cycle at Blackheath Halls, London. Their landmark series of Beethoven concerts in Prague was recorded for release on CD and DVD on the Nimbus Alliance label. The Independent said of the release of the Late Quartets: these [performances] are excellent: their fiery interpretations do full justice to Beethoven’s final masterpieces.’ and International Record Review one of the best quartets in the world today. Their recording of Dvorak Op.34/Op.105 was chosen as a ‘Recording of the Year’ by MusicWeb International and BBC Music Magazine said of their Dvorak Op.61 recording: This is the finest recorded performance I have encountered to date. Full details of the Quartet’s available recordings can be found on their website: www.wihanquartet.com
The Wihan are Quartet in Residence at Trinity College of Music, London, and for several years have taught many of the UK’s gifted young Quartets at Pro Corda in Suffolk. The Quartet are great supporters of the work of the CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust, giving inspirational concerts and master classes to young people.
For more details, and to request a review sample and/or an interview request, please contact John Cronin at Music & Media Consulting Limited. Advertising will include all relevant classical press.