We must admit honestly that while choosing compositions by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, which we would like to play this season, we came to the conclusion that the biography of this composer is filled with strange facts. We have already mentioned Beethoven's pompousness, Schumann's madness, the liberty of Brahms's life and the complicated fate of Mahler. But it is only in the case of Tchaikovsky that one may ask themself: what was it all about?
Surely, Tchaikovsky was a great composer but no conductor. It is enough to read a recollection of his friend Nikolay Kashkin about one of the concerts: "When he reached the conductor's podium, he looked as if he would rather be somewhere else. He did not remember a single note from his own composition. (...) Fortunately, the orchestra knew the piece very well, so the musicians rarely looked at Tchaikovsky, smiling from ear to ear every time." And no wonder. Tchaikovsky conducted only with his right hand. With the left one, he supported his head because from his early youth he was obsessed that it would fall off.
It was not better in private life at all. His marriage lasted only nine weeks. When, after this adventure in the company of a friend, he was getting over a mental crisis in a Swiss resort, he wrote Violin Concerto Op. 35. When a friend refused to perform it, he changed his dedication to another. A footnote for the inquisitive ones: a large number of "friends" in his biography is not a coincidence. Because the times differed from today, it was not a matter that Tchaikovsky wanted to boast about.
But all these adventures did not prevent him from gaining great fame in his lifetime. To this day, both the Violin Concerto and many other of his works (a few months ago we performed the poem Romeo and Juliet) belong to the canon of orchestral and solo repertoires around the world. The question remains whether the more complex the life of the composer is, the more interesting his work becomes. We can find the answers together at a concert in our Philharmonic.
CZAJKOWSKI | BRAHMS
Symphony HallFilharmonia im. Mieczysława Karłowicza w Szczecinie
ul. Małopolska 48