Venue Details: Lighthouse
- Borodin : Polovtsian Dances
- Tchaikovsky : Violin Concerto
- Liadov : Kikimora
- Borodin : Symphony No.2
Although he worked on Prince Igor intermittently for nearly twenty years, Borodin never finished the opera but audiences did get to hear the music of the Polovtsian Dances in concert. Borodin researched the folk music of some of Russia’s nomadic tribes to obtain thematic material which unfolds as a succession of well-contrasted and memorable melodies.
Despite some terrible initial hostility and criticism that it was unplayable, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto lost little time in establishing itself as a concert favourite. Today it holds an outstanding place among all violin concertos. One of the more demanding works for the violin virtuoso, it is more remarkable still for its unwavering melodic inspiration and passionate expression of human feeling. Tchaikovsky speaks to us from the heart, using the voice of the solo violin as his medium.
Liadov is possibly best known for not taking on the Diaghilev commission for The Rite of Spring. But he did create some exquisite musical miniatures, and the tone poem Kikimora, composed in 1909 using music he had written in 1879 for an unfinished opera, is a superb example. The brilliantly imaginative orchestrations conjure up the Russian demon/poltergeist of folklore and her unceasing malicious acts.
It has been suggested that Borodin’s Second Symphony is a distillation of the spirit of Prince Igor. The 1st movement represents the assembly of the Princely Court and the preparation for war. The scherzo conjures images of the wide-open skies of the Russian Steppe. The 3rd movement, with its bardic minstrelsy, is the romance between Igor's son and a Tartar maiden, and the final movement is revelry and feasting. The music is essentially lyrical, with a hint of the Orient in his harmonic writing, and full of rhythmic vivacity.
Pre-Concert Talk: 6.20 - 6.50pm
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