Pyotr Tchaikovsky spent the spring of 1878 on Lake Geneva, healing his wounds after his disastrous three‑ month‑ long marriage. His came out of his depression among the Alpine landscapes, and his renewed optimism and relaxed mood soon found their expression in a new work: the Violin Concerto in D Major, Tchaikovsky’s only work for this instrument, which, however, proved to be a milestone in the history of violin music. Its dominant moods are those of cheerful lyricism, spontaneous joy and vitality, which we can hear in the motifs of fast Russian dances in the finale. The original dedicatee of the work, the famous violinist Leopold Auer, rejected the gift and called the concerto unperformable. It was only three years later that Adolph Brodsky took up the task of premiering the piece.
Ballet music for Romeo and Juliet, commissioned with Prokofiev, was written in mid-1935 and soon clashed with the dreary Soviet realities. After initial hearing, it was rejected by the Leningrad theatre as... not danceable. In comparison with the daring form and sound of his music from the previous decades, this piece seems almost retrospective. Its harmonies are rich and attractive, but rather traditional; its melodies – highly lyrical and expressive. The figures of the ballet are vividly characterised by recurring motifs. However, the main criticism levelled at the composer by conservative Russian choreographers was that his music was too autonomous, that many of the episodes were ‘not fit for dance’, the rhythms – complicated, and the orchestration – supposedly too subtle, inconvenient for the dancers. Unable to stage Romeo and Juliet in the USSR, in 1936 the composer created two orchestral suites (a third one was added in 1946). This version achieved considerable popularity, while the ballet itself had to wait many years more for the general recognition it now enjoys as a canonic work.
You are invited to this concert by PKO Bank Polski – Warsaw Philharmonic Strategic Patron of the Year