Saturday, October 1, 2016
The symphony number 6 by Tchaikovsky is one of my great favorites. As such, I immediately became interested in this new recording. We get to enjoy the following compositions conducted by Ivan Fischer. Borodin: Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances, with the Czech Philharmonic Choir Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 ‘Pathétique’, with the Budapest Festival Orchestra. When Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky stepped onto the stage in Saint Petersburg on 28 October 1893 to introduce his Sixth Symphony to the public, he was received with Huge applause. Three quarters of an hour later the astonished audience was dumbfounded. How could a symphony begin so softly and end even more so? And what about the second movement with its amazing waltz, and the third with its unstoppable march? Nine days after the premiere, Tchaikovsky died in a city struck by cholera. The truly Russian mood that we associate with Tchaikovsky is also felt in the music of Borodin. His opera ‘Prince Igor’ remained incomplete when he died, but the Overture, the Chorus and Dance of the Polovtsian girls, the Polovtsian March and the added well-known Polovtsian Dances, gained a place of its own in orchestral repertoire. Here is the symphony number 6 by Tchaikovsky:
Misha Maisky is a special personality among the great cellists of our time. Born in Latvia and now in his middle sixties, he is the only one that had instruction both from Gregor Piatigorsky and Mstislav Rostropovich, leading figures of yore. Great friend of Martha Argerich, he has given many concerts and made a recording of the complete Beethoven cello-piano sonatas with her. He has made 35 CDs, including three times the Bach cello suites. He visited us a long time ago, and now he returned at the height of his fame. Not for a recital but with a chamber orchestra, the Tel Aviv Soloists under their founder Barak Tal. It was a presentation of Nuova Harmonia at the Colón. The fact that it´s a chamber, not a symphony orchestra, limits the choices to works that can be played with 29 instruments, thus eliminating all the famous Concerti. The choices were: a short Tchaikovsky Nocturne, adapted by the composer from the fourth of his Six pieces op.19 for piano; "Kol Nidrei" by Max Bruch, which in the original is for cello and full orchestra, was played with less instruments (two horns, three trombones and harp were absent); and Haydn´s Concerto Nº1, Hob VIIb:1, in C. The Nocturne is a lovely melody and Maisky showed that he can really sing with his cello. With his disheveled mane of grey hair and informal dress code,. Maisky doesn´t look like a classical artist, but he most certainly is. "Kol Nidrei" means "all vows", an Aramaic prayer sung on the eve of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and is an 188l score defined as an Adagio on Hebrew melodies. It´s a beautiful piece that lasts ten minutes and Maisky phrased it with great expression. In the First Part, however, there were no fireworks and the music was slow. The splendid Haydn Concerto provided Allegro music and difficulties in the first and third movements, whilst leaving the middle Adagio for sensitive molding of melody. In the Allegros Maisky showed his flashy side, attacking wirth gusto and exaggerating the intensity in certain fragments, even risking some harshness, but never losing control. The audience, which had been friendly but contained before, exploded with ovations and got three encores. The two final variations (slow and very fast) of Tchaikovsky´s "Rococo Variations" (with less orchestra than the original) again let us hear the contrast between his plangent and subtle slow playing and the exciting, almost frantic playing of the virtuosic bits. Again Tchaikovsky, his arrangement of the Andante cantabile from the First Quartet, one of his most memorable melodies, was another proof of Maisky´s empathy with the composer. And the slow middle movement of Haydn´s Concerto for violin in C, transcribed for cello, played with exquisite control of pianissimo. By the way, the artist suffered from heat, and often wiped dry his face. Now to the Orchestra. Although the appellation "Soloists" hardly applies to an orchestra, some ensembles call themselves so, meaning that they play with great quality. The Zagreb Soloists did, but I feel that the Tel Aviv group doesn´t quite make the grade. Founded in 2001 by Tal, it is a good, decent group of young musicians, with particularly proficient oboes and flutes, but, either because it is the taste of the director or that there is a lack of impulse in themselves, the strings are relegated, especially the first violins; and one bass isn´t enough, you need at least two. There are 16 strings plus 8 woodwinds, 4 brass, and tympani. The purely orchestral scores on the programme were Mozart´s Symphony Nº 41, "Jupiter", and Prokofiev´s Symphony Nº 1, "Classical". Curiously in both cases I felt the same: low energy in the first two movements and a pickup in the last two. Surely there´s plenty of interesting content in the first movement of the "Jupiter" but it had no more than a lackluster reading this time; the Menuet was better, and the tour de force of counterpoint of the Finale emerged clean and positive. In the delightful Prokofiev opus, the Allegro start should be joyful and fresh, not tentative; the slow movement was correct. However, the Gavotte was rhythmically alive, and the exhilarating Finale took fire. In their accompanying role, Tal and the players were closely attuned to Maisky´s phrasing and did a good job. For Buenos Aires Herald
Alexander Pushkin is adored in Russia, and his "Eugen Onieguin" (1830), a novel in verse, is particularly admired. Plus the fact that there is a parallel between Lenski´s death and the writer´s, both in duels for passional reasons, has given it popularity. It inspired Tchaikovsky´s best opera and one of the most attractive choreographies imagined after World War II: John Cranko´s for the Stuttgart Ballet in 1965. Walter Erik Schäfer, then Stuttgart Opera´s Director General (Intendant), admitted the idea but with a restriction: no music from the opera could be used. So Kurt-Heinz Stolze (1926-70), pianist, harpsichordist and composer, adapted Tchaikovsky pieces from the suite "The Seasons", the opera "Cherevichki" and the tone poem "Francesca da Rimini"; he did so skillfully and in close agreement with Cranko. Naturally, although it follows the general plot of the opera, there are changes, not only because the language of dancing is so different but also due to the inclusion of certain new ideas or the transposition of the last scene of Act I to the first of Act II. To those who know the opera well, of course they will miss such moments as Lenski´s marvelous aria but by and large the music is adequate and accompanies faithfully the choreographer´s steps. The Romantic spirit has somehow been maintained after 135 years, and the Neoclassic refinement of Cranko´s style blends with a natural expression of deep feelings in choreography that is never showy, but by no means easy. He depìcts in sure traits the psychology of the five principals: Tatiana grows from youthful passion to disappointment, and afterwards serene love for Prince Gremin; the blasé Onieguin of the First Act becomes a traitor of friendship in the Second, and desperate lover in the Third; Olga, Tatiana´s sister, by her coquettish behavior with Onieguin brings about the drama of her fiancé´s death ; Lenski loves Olga with no limits and challenges Onieguin to the fatal duel; and the mature Gremin gives Tatiana the firm responsible love she needs. All this is beautifully told in movement by Cranko, but he also gives us big scenes for the Corps de Ballet in each act: vital Russian peasant dance in the First, complex intermingling of old and young people in the Second, and the Polonaise in Act III. Also, some family interchanges between the sisters and the widow Madame Larina, and affectionate gestures between Tatiana and her wet nurse. The ballet was premièred in April 1965 by Cranko´s Stuttgart Ballet, with Marcia Haydée and Ray Barra. In November 1979 I witnessed at the Colón the wonderful Stuttgart company, with the ideal Haydée and Richard Cragun, Egon Madsen and Susanne Hanke, in the lovely staging of Jürgen Rose. They came back in 1985. And in 1994 the Colón Ballet staged it with a different production, the one we saw now: Pier Luigi Samaritani, stage design; costumes, Roberta Guidi di Bagno. Two splendid couples did Tatiana and Onieguin: Alessandra Ferri and Maximiliano Guerra, Silvia Bazilis and Rául Candal (their goodbuye to the stage). It came back to the repertoire in 2011 with two Stuttgart dancers, Alicia Amatriain and Jason Reilly; and in alternate casts, Maricel de Mitri and Alejandro Parente; and Karina Olmedo and Juan Pablo Ledo. In 2012 it was again staged. And so we come to the present revival, with the bright light of Marianela Núñez as Tatiana, paired with Parente. Alternates: Olmedo and Ledo; Nadia Muzyca and Matías Santos. Let it be said squarely: the second and last performance with Núñez and Parente showed a Colón Ballet in fine shape and in an outstanding production. True, they had Marianela, prima ballerina of the Royal Ballet, and as we know, such a position only goes to exquisite dancers of perfect technique and taste. But Marianela has a special radiance of her own, the immaterial quality of Haydée, Ferri and Amatriain: she moves the audience with each stance of her body. And she was ably partnered by Parente. Federico Fernández, tall, lithe and poetic, was just the artist for Lenski; and Natalia Pelayo gave us a pert and agile Olga. Vagran Ambartsoumian was a solid Gremin and Virginia Licitra a charming Larina. The Corps de Ballet was disciplined and able, prepared by Agneta and Victor Valcu. Javier Logioia Orbe completed the feast with fine conducting of the Buenos Aires Philharmonic. For Buenos Aires Herald
Alastair Macaulay: “Nobody can miss how vividly different its stage worlds are: the green romantic medieval French forest of ‘Emeralds’ (music by Fauré); the red Modernist high-energy American urban world of ‘Rubies’ (Stravinsky); the wintry white (both snowscape and palace) grand imperial Russian classicism of ‘Diamonds’ (Tchaikovsky). What other artist could conjure these three dissimilar realms with such easy mastery?”
A survey by New York singers’ agent Doug Schwalbe reveals that the leading North American orchestras are still desperately dependent on a tiny handful of dead white males. Doug looks at performances by seven orchestras – NY Phil, LA Phil, Boston, San Fran, Toronto, Philadelphia and Dallas – since 2011. He reports that Beethoven and Mozart accounted for over 15% of the 9,676 pieces performed. That proportion rises to 24% when he adds Tchaikovsky and Brahms. And you wonder why people have stopped going. Contact email@example.com to see the full charts.
A recent ROH Insights event exploring Kenneth MacMillan 's ballet Anastasia is now available to watch on-demand via the Royal Opera House YouTube channel . Presented by Director of The Royal Ballet Kevin O’Hare , the event offered audiences an exclusive glimpse of the Company's revival of Anastasia. Deborah MacMillan revealed why her late husband Kenneth found inspiration in the true story of Anna Anderson – a woman who famously believed herself to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia , the sole survivor of the Romanov family who were assassinated during The Russian Revolution . Writer and broadcaster on Russian Studies Viv Groskop provided further context on Anderson, who was ultimately institutionalized after she refused to reveal or accept her real identity. The event also included a live rehearsal with The Royal Ballet, featuring interviews with the dancers and their coaches. Anastasia was originally created in 1967 for Deutsche Oper Ballet as a one-act ballet. It was a stylistically daring piece that explored how memory and fantasy overlap. When MacMillan was appointed Director of The Royal Ballet in 1970, adapting Anastasia into a three-act, full length ballet was one of his first creative endeavours. He added two new acts, using music by Tchaikovsky and opted for a more classical style of dance to create one of the most experimental and poignant works in the repertory. Anastasia runs 26 October-12 November 2016. Tickets are still available . The production will be relayed live to cinemas around the world on 2 November 2016. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list .
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (May 7, 1840 - November 6, 1893) was a Russian composer of the Romantic era. His wide ranging output includes symphonies, operas, ballets, instrumental and chamber music and songs. He wrote some of the most popular concert and theatrical music in the classical repertoire, including the ballets Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, the 1812 Overture, his First Piano Concerto, his last three numbered symphonies, and the opera Eugene Onegin. Born into a middle-class family, Tchaikovsky was educated for a career as a civil servant, despite his obvious musical precocity. He pursued a musical career against the wishes of his family, entering the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in 1862 and graduating in 1865. This formal, Western-oriented training set him apart from the contemporary nationalistic movement embodied by the influential group of young Russian composers known as The Five, with whom Tchaikovsky's professional relationship was mixed.
Great composers of classical music