2 parts by 45 minutes
The Year 1812 Overture
The programme is subject to change
The concert to mark Russia Day. Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov
The Year 1812 Solemn Overture and cantata “Moscow” by Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninov’s poem “The Bells” are in the programme of festive concert to mark Russia Day.
It’s interesting to note that both pieces were commissioned to Tchaikovsky by the Russian State. The Year 1812 Overture was due to be performed at the opening of All-Russia Arts and Industry Exhibition, and the Cantata was ordered for the coronation of Alexander III. Tchaikovsky was somewhat reluctant to accept both commissions; in his letters to Nadezhda Filaretovna von Meck he confesses that he wrote the Overture “without warmth and without love”, and The Cantata felt to him like “a burden”. Nevertheless, both pieces enjoy good fortune. They both had immediate public acclaim, and the composer included both pieces – even the “unlovable” one – in his concerts.
Rachmaninov didn’t write “The Bells” on request – an anonym sent him a letter, where he kindly asked him to try and create music to the poem of the same title by Edgar Allan Poe, using Russian translation of Konstantin Balmont. Rachmaninov, a keen admirer of bell’s ringing since his youth, started writing the piece with enthusiasm. It was only after the composer’s death that the identity of the sender was found to have been Maria Danilova, who was then a young cello student at the Moscow Conservatory.
Four parts of the Poem reflect the whole earthly life of human being, a life that stretches from hopes of youth to deathbed. As a Rachmaninov scholar once noticed, with the music of the composer the images of the poem had assumed “Russian flesh and blood”, but its universal philosophical and poetical meaning remains.