Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

I admit I approach any new recordings of these, my favorite Tchaikovsky symphonies, with a bit of trepidation. Over the years I’ve encountered one too many recordings, as well as concert performances, that lay on the incurable Romanticism a bit too thick. Thematic presentations are muddled and tempos are stretched so that each movement, regardless of the tempo indication, seems to plod at the same pace.

It’s as if some conductors believed that Tchaikovsky, who always wore his heart on his sleeve, needed help expressing his feelings.

This week we mark the birthday of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who was born in Russia on May 7, 1840 and died suddenly at age 53. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the composer -  internationally renowned for his great melodies - was also a master of  technique and form. His body of work includes major works for the ballet, opera, and orchestra, as well as chamber music, concertos, sacred music, piano music, and solo songs.   


Bramwell Tovey conducts the New York Philharmonic in an all-Tchaikovsky program - perfect summertime listening!  They're joined by pianist Simon Trpčeski in a performance of the infrequently heard Piano Concerto No. 2.  Selections from Act IV of Swan Lake, and the ever-popular 1812 Overture round out the program. Sunday, August 5th, 3 to 5 pm.

More Information about the program.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote his piece The Year 1812, Festival Overture in E flat major in commemoration of the Russian Army's successful defense of Moscow against Napoleon's advancing troops at the Battle of Borodino. Most Americans, however, know the piece as the bombastic tune that accompanies Fourth of July fireworks shows all over the country.

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