We have been traveling with Franz Liszt and Franz Schubert, and today I will take you on another journey. We shall meet the French composer Vincent d’Indy. He is less known than his colleagues Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy, but his contribution to French classical music is noteworthy.
The sea – what a promise! Far away countries. Exotic spices. Incredible wealth. Danger, adventures, challenges. People wearing different attire and practicing a different religion, speaking languages we do not understand. The sea! What a temptation! I am on board of a dhow and I am sailing across the Persian Gulf, heading for the Street of Hormuz and the Indian Ocean. I am an adventurer traveling with Sindbad the Seafearer.
The clarinet, ah, the clarinet! What a beautiful instrument if mastered by its owner! A few months back, I presented Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major, KV 622, but others have used this beautiful instrument. In chamber music for example. Carl Stamitz for example. The son of Johannes Stamitz, member of the Mannheim School*. In 1774, Carl Stamitz composed a set of six clarinet quartets (op. 14) and the one written in D major, a beautiful little piece, reminds me of a joyful walk in the forest with birds shining everywhere and greeting spring. It is full of joy and optimism, peace and hope. I can almost see the nymphs dancing to the gaily tunes.
It is hard to imagine, but yes, it is true: Pyotr Tchaikovsky could not stand the sound of a violin or cello accompanied with a piano! Can you believe that? All those trios written by Mozart, Haydn or Schubert, and here comes Tchaikovsky and says: I don’t like it, it sounds awkward. In a letter to his patron, Nadezhda von Meck, dated 18 October 1880 he justifies himself after she had teased him why he had not written a trio when she would hear so many of them in Florence, where she stayed in autumn 1880.