Hello, Violy violinists. The recently added “Albums” of violin repertoires on Violy — the best violin app needs you to make them ‘violy’. In today’s article, we will discuss the repertoire from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a Russian composer of the romantic period, whose works are among the most popular music in the classical repertoire. He was also a guest conductor in Europe and the United States.
Although musically precocious, Tchaikovsky was educated for a career as a civil servant. There were scant opportunities for a musical career in Russia at that time and there was no system of public music education then. When an opportunity for such an education arose, he entered the nascent Saint Petersburg Conservatory, from which he graduated in 1865. The formal Western-oriented teaching he received there set him apart from composers of the contemporary nationalist movement, which was embodied by the Russian composers of The Five, with whom his professional relationship was mixed.
While his music has remained popular among audiences, critical opinions were initially mixed. Some Russians did not feel it was sufficiently representative of native musical values, and expressed suspicion that Europeans accepted the music for its Western elements. In an apparent reinforcement of the latter claim, some Europeans lauded Tchaikovsky for offering music more substantive than base exoticism, and said he transcended stereotypes of Russian classical music. Others dismissed Tchaikovsky’s music as “lacking in elevated thought”, according to longtime New York Times music critic Harold C. Schonberg, and derided its formal workings as deficient because they did not stringently follow Western principles.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote several works well known among the general classical public — Romeo and Juliet, the 1812 Overture, and his three ballets: The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and The Sleeping Beauty. These 5, along with two of his four concertos, three of his six symphonies (seven if his program symphony Manfred is included), and two of his 10 operas, are probably among his most familiar works. The Manfred Symphony, Francesca da Rimini, the Capriccio Italien and the Serenade for Strings are almost as popular as the works mentioned above.
The Violin Concerto in D major, one of Tchaikovsky’s freshest-sounding and least pretentious works, is filled with melodies that could have easily come from one of his ballets. It is also one of the best-known violin concertos. The composer also had some chamber music works, including string quartets and one string sextet.
There are totally 6 pieces of music in the self-titled Album of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky on Violy, including:
1. Andante Cantabile| Andante cantabile = 76
· This work is from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet №1 in D major Op. 11. It was the first of his three completed string quartets that were published during his lifetime. An earlier attempt had been abandoned after the first movement was completed. Composed in February 1871, it was premiered in Moscow on 16/28 March 1871 by four members of the Russian Musical Society: Ferdinand Laub and Ludvig Minkus, violins; Pryanishnikov, viola; and Wilhelm Fitzenhagen, cello. Tchaikovsky arranged the second movement for cello and string orchestra in 1888. The quartet has four movements: Moderato e semplice (D major), Andante cantabile (B♭ major), Scherzo: Allegro non tanto e con fuoco — Trio (D minor), and Finale: Allegro giusto — Allegro vivace (D major).
2. Chanson Triste | Allegro non troppo = 120
3. Dance of Little Four Swan | BPM = 100
4. June: Barcarolle | Andante cantabile = 80
5. Melodie in E Flat Major, Op. 42 №3 | Moderato con moto = 84
· This work is from Souvenir d’un lieu cher (Memory of a dear place) Op. 42 for violin and piano. It was written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky between March and May 1878. It consists of three movements: Méditation (D minor), Scherzo (C minor) and Mélodie (E-flat major; Tchaikovsky also described it as a “chant sans paroles”).
6. Theme for Swan Lake | BPM = 82
· Swan Lake Op. 20, is a ballet composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1875–76. Despite its initial failure, it is now one of the most popular of all ballets. The scenario, initially in two acts, was fashioned from Russian and German folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse.
The ballet was premiered by the Bolshoi Ballet on 4 March 1877 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Although it is presented in many different versions, most ballet companies base their stagings both choreographically and musically on the 1895 revival of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, first staged for the Imperial Ballet on 15 January 1895, at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. For this revival, Tchaikovsky’s score was revised by the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatre’s chief conductor and composer Riccardo Drigo.
Swan Lake is scored for the typical late 19th-century large orchestra:
Strings: violins I and II; violas, violoncellos; double basses, harp
Woodwinds: piccolo; 2 flutes; 2 oboes; 2 clarinets in B♭, A and C; 2 bassoons
Brass: 4 French horns in F; 2 cornets in A and B♭; 2 trumpets in F, D, and E; 3 trombones (2 tenor, 1 bass); tuba
Percussion: timpani; snare drum; cymbals; bass drum; triangle; tambourine; castanets; tam-tam; glockenspiel; chimes
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi,
and finally, Dmitri Shostakovich.
Stay tuned, Violy musicians, let’s bring the music fashion of violin back~
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