Arensky’s lyrical memorial to a Russian cellist

Autumn colours. © Charles Thibo © Charles Thibo

What a gentle introduction – the warm light of the autumn sun bathes a rural landscape in soft yellow, orange and brown colours, but here, sharp, black patches, rocks, splintering dead wood – contrasts mark the Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 32 that the Russian composer Anton Arensky composed in 1894 from the first bars on. It closely follows the Romantic language of a trio that had deeply impressed upon the composer: Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A minor, that I have presented in an earlier post.

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Landmarks and memories of sunny days

The taste of the summer. © Charles Thibo

No, the summer is not over yet. Many more warm and sunny days to enjoy. And still, I feel that little nostalgia already. It sneaks into my mind at the end of August, when I get up and the sun has not yet risen. In two weeks school will start again, and by then the sun will set way too early and the air will be too cool and humid to spend the evening in the garden. Landmarks. Autumn is knocking discretely at the door.

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Respighi paints a picture of darkness and drama

A storm is brewing. © Charles Thibo

Wagner? This is not Wagner. But it sounds like Wagner! An Italian, you say? Non è possibile! But yes, this symphony, aptly named “Sinfonia Drammatica”, was composed by an Italian composer, Ottorino Respighi. For those of you who have followed this blog from its creation on, that name will have a familiar ring – Respighi composed this wonderful cycle of symphonic poems with the city of Rome as its main subject, that I discussed in one of my first posts.

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Stravinsky unleashes the Firebird’s new rhythmic force

Catch fire! © Charles Thibo

A  Russian folk tale. An extraordinary composer. An extraordinary ballet impresario. Ecstatic critics, an overwhelmed audience. For the 1910 season of the “Russian Ballets” in Paris, Igor Stravinsky wrote a piece that became an instant success and meant for the composer his breakthrough on the international music scene: The Firebird. It also was the beginning of a long and fruitful cooperation between Stravinsky and the choreographer Sergei Diaghilev.

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