Unlike Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky could relate to some degree of brain fade. Struggling to compose his 5th Symphony, he frequently complained of ‘writer’s block’ and began to wonder whether he has simply run out of ideas. History demonstrates, of course, that nothing was further from the truth. This symphony with its theme of “ultimate victory through sacrifice”, was ordered to be played during the World War II Siege of Leningrad in an endeavour to keep up the spirits of the city’s population, thus ensuring its popularity. One performance was broadcast live to London and listeners could hear the sounds of bombs exploding as the musicians played on. This symphony was the central item for the second of our sessions this month - but without any added sound effects of bombs.
A Spring Festival Overture by Chinese composer Li Huanzhi and Schumann’s Spring Symphony helped put spring into our step as we celebrated the arrival of the new season, while Smetena’s romantic “The Moldau” and Bruch’s 1st Violin Concerto with its dreamy adagio movement, proved a perfect foil to the drama of Tchaikovsky Symphony.
Li Huanzhi - Spring Festival Overture
Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No.3
Schumann - Symphony No.1
29th September - Session Notes
Smetena - The Moldau
Tchaikovsky - Symphony No.5
Bruch - Violin Concerto No.1