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John Weinzweig (1913-2006)

John Weinzweig, composer Born in Toronto to Polish-Jewish immigrants, John Weinzweig began studying music at age 14 and decided to become a composer by age 19. He attended the University of Toronto and traveled to Rochester, New York in 1937 to enroll at the Eastman School of Music, which offered courses in 20th-century music which Weinzweig could not get at home. He returned to Toronto the following year, with modernist ideas about melody, harmony and rhythm which he started conveying to his students at that city's Conservatory of Music, where he taught for most of the next two decades. Among his students were R. Murray Schafer and Harry Somers, two of Canada's most prominent composers today. Weinzweig's Suite for Piano No. 1 (1939) and his Symphony (1940) were the first Canadian works to explore serialism as a technique. In 1941 he began composing for the National Film Board of Canada and the CBC, to which he contributed for about a decade. Thereafter he composed only concert music, mostly for chamber-sized ensembles rather than full orchestra. Encouraging and promoting the performance of Canadian classical music — and by no means only his own — was a lifelong preoccupation for Weinzweig: He founded the League of Canadian Composers in 1951 and the Canadian Music Centre in 1959, the first institutions to make a mission of advocating for the work of the country's composers within its own borders. "He is identified as the person who created the profession of composing in this country," his friend and former student David Jaeger told the CBC. "In many ways," said Jason van Eyk, Ontario regional director of the Canadian Music Centre, "if it weren't for him, we wouldn't have the wealth of Canadian composers that we now." Weinzweig was often critical of Canada's large musical institutions, particularly the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the CBC, for what he saw as lackluster support for native-born composers. Speaking to a meeting of CBC producers, Weinzweig once said, "I'm too old for nightmares, but I have this dream that somebody is going to discover a piano concerto that was written by Mozart at the age of two and when the CBC gets hold of this thing, that'll be the end of Canadian music for the next 10 years."
-  Playbill Arts

COMPOSITIONS                                          Weinzweig Links     ~ ~ ~     Works by Genre    ~ ~ ~    Weinzweig on Weinzweig
[under construction]



WORKS BY GENRE                                                 Weinzweig Links    ~ ~ ~    Weinzweig on Weinzweig     ~ top of page ~
[under construction]
Dramatic/Theater
The Whirling Dwarf, ballet (1937)
Red Ear of Corn, ballet in 2 acts (1948-49) [choreography by Boris Volkoff]
Around the Stage in 25 Minutes during which a variety of instruments are struck, music theatre work, percussion (1970)
Trialogue, music theatre work, soprano, flute and piano (1971) [text: by the composer]
    - also version of one section of "My Dear Etcetera", incorporated into "Private Collection"
Impromptus, music theatre work, piano (1973)
Prime-Time, music theatre work, soprano, baritone, flute and bass clarinet (1991) [text: by the composer]
Journey out of Night, music theatre work, mezzo-soprano and piano (1994) [text: by the composer]
Le rendez-vous, music theatre work, soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone and piano (1995) [text: by the composer]
Parodies and Travesties, music theatre work, soprano, mezzo-soprano and piano (1995) [text: by the composer]
Walking-Talking, music theatre work, soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone and piano (1996) [text: by the composer]

Orchestra
Legend, orchestra (1937)
The Enchanted Hill, orchestra (1938)
Suite, orchestra (1938)
Symphony, orchestra (1940)
Rhapsody for Orchestra (1941; rev. 2003-04)
Interlude in an Artist's Life, string orchestra (1943)
Our Canada (Music for Radio No. 1), orchestra (1943)
Edge of the World (Music for Radio No. 2), orchestra (1946)
Red Ear of Corn, suite, orchestra (1949)
Round Dance, band or orchestra (1950)
Symphonic Ode, orchestra (1958)
Dummiyah (Silence), orchestra (1969)
Divertimento No. 9, orchestra (1982)
Jammin', [orchestra?] (1990)

Band
Band-Hut Sketches, band (1944)
Round Dance, band or orchestra (1950)
Divertimento No. 5, trumpet, trombone and winds/band (1961)
Out of the Blues, band (1981)

Soloist(s) w/Orchestra
Spectre, timpani and string orchestra (1938)
A Tale of Tuamotu, bassoon and orchestra (1939)
Divertimento No. 1, flute and string orchestra (1945-46)
Divertimento No. 2, oboe and string orchestra (1948)
Violin Concerto (1951-54)
Divertimento No. 3, bassoon and string orchestra (1960)
Divertimento No. 5, trumpet, trombone and winds/band (1961)
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1965-66)
Concerto for Harp and Chamber Orchestra (1967)
Divertimento No. 4, clarinet and string orchestra (1968) [also version for clarinet, string quartet and double bass]
Divertimento No. 6, alto saxophone and string orchestra (1972)
Divertimento No. 7, horn and string orchestra (1979)
Divertimento No. 8, tuba and orchestra (1980)
Divertimento No. 10, piano and string orchestra (1988)
Divertimento No. 11, English horn and string orchestra (1990) [1989]
Divertimento No. 12, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon and string orchestra (1998)

Chorus w/Orchestra

Choral
To the Lands Over Yonder, chorus (1945) [text: from traditional Inuit sources]
Am Yisrael Chai! (Israel Lives!), chorus and piano (1952) [text: Malka Lee, English transl Weinzweig]
Hockey Night in Canada, chorus (1985) [text: by the composer]
Lonesome Satellite, chorus (1985) [text: by the composer]
Prisoner of Conscience, chorus (1985) [text: by the composer]
Shoppin' Blues, chorus (1985) [text: by the composer]
In the Arms of Morpheus, chorus (1986) [text: by the composer]
On Wings of Song, chorus (1986) [text: by the composer]
What's that?, chorus (1986) [text: by the composer]

Chamber
String Quartet No. 1 (1937)
Fanfare, 3 trumpet, 3 trombone and percussion (1943)
Intermissions, flute and oboe (1943)
String Quartet No. 2 (1946)
String Quartet No. 3 (1962)
Woodwind Quintet (1963-64)
Clarinet Quartet, 3 clarinets and bass clarinet (1965)
Divertimento No. 4, clarinet and string orchestra (1968) [also version for clarinet, string quartet and double bass]
Pieces of 5, brass quintet (1976)
Variations (on the theme 'All's well that ends well'), brass quintet (1981)
Music Centre Serenade, flute, horn, viola and cello (1984)
Conversations, 3 guitars (1984)
Interplay, piccolo, tuba and piano (1998)
Duo for Two Violins (1999)

Instrument and Piano
Sonata for Violin and Piano (1941)
Cello Sonata, "Israel", cello and piano (1949)
Hitlahavuth – Dance of the Masada, violin and piano [arr. 1987 from 1951 vocal work]
Refrains, double bass and piano (1977)
Birthday Notes, flute and piano (1987)
Arctic Shadows, oboe and piano (1993)
Divertimento, horn and piano (1993)

Solo Instrument
Around the Stage in 25 Minutes During Which a Variety of Instruments Are Struck, solo percussion (1970)
Riffs, flute (1974)
Contrasts, guitar (1976)
18 Pieces for Guitar (1980)
15 Pieces for Harp (1983)
Cadenza, clarinet (1986)
Tango for Two, harp (1986) [also version for piano]
Tremologue, viola (1987)
Riffs 2, trombone (1991)
Belaria, violin (or viola, or cello) (1992)
Riffs 3, trumpet (1992)
Swing Out, bassoon (1995)

Piano/Organ
Spasmodia, piano (1938)
Suite for Piano No. 1 (1939)
Improvisations on an Indian Tune, organ (1942; rev. 1980)
Melos, piano (1949)
Swing a Fugue, piano (1949)
Piano Sonata (1950)
Suite for Piano No. 2 (1950)
Impromptus, music theatre work, piano (1973)
CanOn Stride, piano (1986)
Tango for Two, piano (1986; rev. 1987) [also version for harp]
Micromotions, piano (1988)
Three Pieces, piano (1989)
Duologue, 2 pianos (1990)
Diversions, piano (1994)
Netscapes, piano (2000)
Seven Piano Duets, 2 pianos (2000)

Vocal
Of Time, Rain and the World, song cycle, voice and piano (1947) [text: Weinzweig]
Hitlahavuth, baritone and piano (1951) [text: Itzhak Lambden] [also vln and pf version: "Hitlahavuth – Dance of the Masada"]
Wine of Peace, soprano and orchestra (1957) [text: Calderon de la Barca, transl A. Symons, anon]
Around the Stage in 25 Minutes during which a variety of instruments are struck, music theatre work, percussion (1970)
Trialogue, music theatre work, soprano, flute and piano (1971) [text: by the composer]
Private Collection, song cycle, soprano and piano (1975) [text: Weinzweig]
    - incorporates a version of "My Dear Etcetera" from "Trialogue", 1971
Prime-Time, music theatre work, soprano, baritone, flute and bass clarinet (1991) [text: by the composer]
Journey out of Night, music theatre work, mezzo-soprano and piano (1994) [text: by the composer]
Le rendez-vous, music theatre work, soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone and piano (1995) [text: by the composer]
Parodies and Travesties, music theatre work, soprano, mezzo-soprano and piano (1995) [text: by the composer]
Walking-Talking, music theatre work, soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone and piano (1996) [text: by the composer]
Prologue to a Tango, mezzo-soprano and 4 violins (2002) [text: by the composer]

Incidental/Film
North West Frontier, film score (????) [NFB film] - 1941-45
West Wind: The Story of Tom Thomson, film score (????) [NFB film] - 1941-45
The Great Canadian Shield, film score (????) [NFB film] - 1941-45
Turner Valley, film score (????) - 1941-45
Over 100 radio (CBC) drama scores [including: Riel; Jalna; White Empire]


WEINZWEIG  LINKS                                              Works by Genre     ~ ~ ~    Weinzweig on Weinzweig     ~ top of page ~
[under construction]
Don't Let Weinzweig's Art Die with Him (William Littler, Toronto Star)
John Weinzweig at Ninety (Daniel Foley, Ontario Notations)
John Weinzweig - Dean of Canadian Composers (The Independent)
John Weinzweig - Obituary (The Telegraph)
The Radical Romantic - John Weinzweig (National Film Board of Canada)

Composer website   . . .   inquire about John Weinzweig:  here

Weinzweig @ Wikipedia

Weinzweig @ Answers.com
Weinzweig @ Canadian Encyclopedia
Weinzweig @ Canadian Music Centre
Weinzweig @ Canadian Music Centre/Interview
Weinzweig @ CBC Music
Weinzweig @ Classical Archives
Weinzweig @ Classical Net
Weinzweig @ IMDb (Internet Movie Database)
Weinzweig @ InstantEncore
Weinzweig @ Klassika
Weinzweig @ The Living Composers Project
Weinzweig @ MusicWeb International
Weinzweig @ NACMusicBox Timeline/ArtsAlive
Weinzweig @ National Arts Centre Blog
Weinzweig @ National Library of Canada
Weinzweig @ The New York Times
Weinzweig @ REC Music Foundation /The Lied and Art Song Texts Page

Publisher
Weinzweig @ Boosey & Hawkes
Weinzweig @ Canadian Music Centre
Weinzweig @ Frederick Harris
Weinzweig @ Leeds
Weinzweig @ Oxford University Press

Streaming Audio
Weinzweig @ Canadian Music Centre
Weinzweig @ Canadian Music Centre/Interview
Weinzweig @ CBC Music
Weinzweig @ Classical Archives
Weinzweig @ NACMusicBox Timeline/ArtsAlive
Weinzweig @ National Arts Centre Blog
Weinzweig @ Rhapsody.com

Recordings
Weinzweig @ Amazon.com
Weinzweig @ ArkivMusic    also    here
Weinzweig @ Canadian Music Centre
Weinzweig @ CD Universe
Weinzweig @ ClassicsOnline
Weinzweig @ Discogs
Weinzweig @ itunes
Weinzweig @ Naxos

Video
Weinzweig @ YouTube
Weinzweig @ Google Video
Weinzweig @ Vimeo (via Google Advanced Search)
                                                                                                                                                                 ~ top of page ~
Weinzweig on Weinzweig: Interview/CBC (streaming audio)
John Weinzweig, composerComposers Speak on the Web at Pytheas
                            ~ click on composer picture to listen ~







. . . and check out more    Composers Speak on the Web    at Pytheas

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