<< -- 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].
Copyright © 6 February 2005
Robert Anderson, London UK