“And what a fugue in the finale, a real miracle!”

Violin Tchaik
Jumping two octaves. © Charles Thibo

If you have sensitive ears, don’t bother to read on. Don’t bother to listen to this terrific piece of music: “Souvenir de Florence” in D minor, Op. 70. Pyotr Tchaikovsky wrote this sextet in 1890 and he didn’t write it for weenies. The strings do all the complaining by themselves. Are you still around? I take it you are brave. You shall be rewarded. The reason I bother about this piece is the fact that a) it is deeply Romantic (Italy!), b) it stirs me up emotionally (Italy!), c) it has magnificent serenade like sections (Italy!) and d) it expresses this bitter-sweet melancholy that only Franz Schubert’s string quartets (Vienna!) can conjure. Got it? I love it.

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