“The love theme of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ cannot be developed, like all true melodies […] This said, such an inspiration! Such an inexpressible beauty, such an arduous passion! It is one of the most beautiful themes of Russian music as such.” Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov wrote this in 1892 after he had heard Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s overture “Romeo and Juliet” in St. Petersburg. By then the work was 23 years old and had been rewritten by the composer two times. A late recognition by another expert in melodies. When the overture was first performed in 1870, nobody took notice, and for a long time Tchaikovsky’s orchestral fantasy “Francesca di Rimini” remained much more popular than “Romeo and Julia”.
Rimsky-Korsakov is well-known for his symphonic poems and his operas. However, he has also written a piano concerto, rarely performed but no less interesting than his other works. It is just as lyrical as his symphonic poems, and over time this short, lovely piece has become one of my favourites. The composer wrote his Piano Concerto in C-sharp minor (op. 30) between 1882 and 1883, after he had met his patron Mitrofan Belayev. Rimsky-Korsakov belonged to the circle of artists who emphasized the national element in Russian music, and Belayev, a nouveau-riche industrialist believing in a greater role for Russian, felt drawn towards the composer.
Two days ago I gave you an impromptu on the pupil. Today I will give you one on the master! Yesterday Luxembourg celebrated the Day of Europe, a brand new banking holiday, courtesy of our Socialist coalition party, the very party claiming that Luxembourg needs to defend its competitiveness by increasing the flexibility of its work force. Raising profits by working less – the magic formula! Luxembourg’s economy obeys revolutionary new rules.
Another sunrise, another day, another adventure? Long ago I read a sentimental novel about an aircraft pilot living a solitary life, proud of his independence, unattached to any woman, any family, living a self-determined life with an emphasis on having fun. No shackles, no responsibility except for his own life. What a delusion! At some point he acknowledged the vast emptiness around himself and inside himself. He meets a woman than, but for the two to become soul mates he needs to turn fear into courage, prejudices into tolerance. At some point he decides that to succeed as a couple he and his soul mate have to turn every day of their every-day life into an adventure.