Music and Vision homepage Classical Music Programme Notes for concerts and recordings, by Malcolm Miller


<<  -- 3 --  Robert Anderson    RAVISHING COLLOQUY


Tchaikovsky was a master of the dance, as witness his successful ballets. A more private event, though, took place in the hall of the Moscow Conservatoire, when Tchaikovsky danced Pygmalion to the Galatea of Saint-Saëns, with Nikolai Rubinstein as sole witness at the piano. Walzes pervade his music, and the most striking is the 5/4 example in the 'Pathetic' Symphony. Conception of this work, with a 'most unhurried adagio' as finale, filled Tchaikovsky with delight, as he told his Davidov nephew: 'You cannot imagine the bliss I feel after becoming convinced that time has not yet run out'. The Allegro con grazia he thought of as 'love' [listen -- CD-9921 track 2, 1:44-3:01].

The Serenade for Strings contains also a delectable waltz. It was written pari passu with the '1812' overture, composed for the consecration of the monster cathedral to Christ the Saviour, which commemorated the dismal retreat of Napoleon, was blown up for a swimming pool under Stalin, and is now restored to ecclesiastical glory. If the overture was loveless, the Serenade was 'entirely heartfelt'. The LPO is as eloquent in the many-voiced chords of the opening as in the delicate 'Luftpausen' Del Mar insinuates to the waltz [listen -- 5 86168 2 track 2, 0:00-1:15].

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Copyright © 6 February 2005 Robert Anderson, London UK


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