Pëtr Il'ič Čajkovskij
Symphony No. 2 in C minor Op. 17, Little Russia
Variations on an Original Theme (Enigma Variations) Op. 36 for orchestra
Pëtr Il'ič Čajkovskij: Symphony No. 2 in C minor Op. 17, Little Russia
The inspiration for the Symphony No. 2 in C minor Op. 17 came to Čajkovskij in 1872 during a summer vacation spent in Ukraine with his sister's family. Čajkovskij had grown up in the bed of the Western musical tradition, from which he was influenced in style and writing, but as already experienced in his first symphonic work, also for the Symphony No. 2 chose to draw from the folkloric heritage of their land. The epithet Little Russia, which accompanies the work, is in fact due to the presence of Russian and Ukrainian folk songs, which substantiate the symphony from the first to the fourth movement. The first performance took place in Moscow on February 7, 1873 under the direction of Nikolai Rubinštejn. However, the success obtained did not prevent a revision of the score which led to the second version of 1881, according to a typical practice of Čajkovskij, never fully satisfied with the first version of his works. The symphony opens with a sustained Andante in which the horn intones a sad song, it is the quote from the popular song Our Mother Volga which will also reappear in the Allegro. In the second movement, Andante marziale, Čajkovskij uses the theme of a march written previously for the opera Undina, never completed, and a melody of folkloric derivation. The Scherzo offers a beautiful sample of rhythmic effects with the surprise entries of the woods that punctuate the unbridled rush of the strings, while the final movement is built on the quotation of the Ukrainian song "The crane", reworked and repeated several times by the various orchestral sections in a growing bright and sumptuous.
Edward Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme (Enigma Variations) Op. 36
Considered the father of early twentieth century English music, Sir Edward Elgar achieved international fame with his Variations on an original theme op. 36, better known as Enigma Variations. It was the first and great success for the musician who until then had not yet composed a wide-ranging orchestral page. The opera, born by chance in the four walls of the home during an exercise in musical improvisation, obtained unanimous approval from the very first performance - conducted by Hans Richter in London on June 19, 1899 - catapulting Elgar into the empyrean of the composers of his time. A perfect blend of constructive ability and English humor, the Enigma Variations consist of an opening theme followed by fourteen variations that portray in music, in a more or less obvious way, some characteristics of the author's friends and family. The first mystery was identifying who was hiding behind the initials and nicknames affixed to each variation. Over the years, scholars have managed to give a name to all the protagonists of the long roundup: the wife, the musicians in the trio, the violist pupil, the pianist friends, the patron, the publisher, the noblewoman perhaps loved in secret and so on, up to the last portrait that Elgar dedicates to himself. But the real enigma was born from the words written by the author on the occasion of the first performance: another and mysterious theme would have been used in the score without ever appearing in its entirety, a sort of hidden counterpoint that no scholar has been able to decipher despite numerous assumptions. advance over time. Reality or boutade? It matters little, since Elgar did not want to provide further clues to the enigmatic hidden theme, instead inviting the audience to listen to his music without external conditioning.