<< -- 2 -- Robert Anderson RAVISHING COLLOQUY
For Symphony No 4 Tchaikovsky produced his own programme to satisfy the
curiosity of his invisible benefactress, Mme von Meck. Beethoven's fate knocks
at the door, Tchaikovsky's is menacingly inside, poised above the victim and
threatening to crash down at any minute. The first movement goes on to suggest
resignation, then dreams of escape both vague and pointless. There is further
depression in the Andantino, with a touch of intoxication suggested by the
pizzicato Scherzo. The finale swaps introspection for plebeian festivity, which
in the event proves hectic but no less neurotic. The Federals are mindful
of Tchaikovsky when conducting the work in London and calling out 'Vodka --
more vodka!' They go hell-for-leather to a crash-bang conclusion
[listen -- CD-9920 track 5, 7:12-8:25].
Pushkin's Eugene Onegin is as Byronic as the period demanded. The
hero has been Don Juan enough for boredom and cynicism, discontented in city
and on country estate. The heroine Tatiana is soaked in Rousseau and Richardson,
an emotional solitary till falling for Onegin, who cannot pretend much interest.
Having survived a traumatic duel with battered conscience, Onegin seeks but
fails to find satisfaction in travel. Back in St Petersburg, he attends a
fashionable ball where Tatiana is now mistress of the house, a poised and
gracious hostess. Polonaises are all the rage
[listen -- CD-9920 track 6, 0:24-1:28].
It is Onegin's turn to plead for Tatiana's love, in vain.
Copyright © 6 February 2005
Robert Anderson, London UK