“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”.
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.
Andante, 78 bars – a long introduction. A funeral music, and Pyotr Tchaikovsky knew exactly what he was doing. He was mourning a friend, Ferdinand Laub, the violinist of the Russian Musical Society’s string quartet (“Moscow Quartet”) who had performed Tchaikovsky’s first two string quartets at their premiere. This was the composer’s third string quartet in E flat minor, Op. 30. Tchaikovsky wrote it in a very short time span, in January and February 1876 “I rush at full speed to finish my quartet”, he wrote to his brother Modest on February 10, 1876. Eight days later the score was ready, the premiere took place on March 2 at the Moscow Conservatory.
Do you know Lalo? Of course you do, you have met him in a post two weeks ago! Edouard Lalo composed a piece called “Symphonie Espagnole” (Spanish Symphony) which inspired Pyotr Tchaikovsky to write his Violin Concerto in D Major, op. 35. “Do you know the “Symphonie Espagnole” of the French composer Lalo?”, Tchaikovsky asks in a letter his patron Nadezhda von Meck in March 1878. “I liked this work very much. A lot of freshness, spiking rhythms, beautiful melodies with remarkable harmonies.” All this can be said about Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto.