Tschaikovsky - 1812 Overture, op. 49

Tchaikovsky's Overture 1812 expresses Russia's nationalist spirit for the Russians' magnificent victory over Napoleon. In 1880, when he was writing the charming Serenade for Strings, Tchaikovsky undertook to compose a "ceremonial introduction" for an exhibition of industrial art in Moscow. As a theme of his introduction he chose Napoleon's Russia Campaign, which ended with the great victory of the Russian Army. At first the composer intended the introduction to be for outdoor performance and felt that it should be "very loud and noisy". Since then the introduction has become his most famous and most popular concert work. The "1812 Overture" is in fact an introduction to a concerto, in other words is a stand-alone work of orchestral music and not an introduction to opera or a more extensive work. The play describes the invasion of Russia by Napoleon's troops in 1812 and their retreat and defeat in the winter of the same year. Despite

Chopin - Introduction

Painting of Chopin's portait

In Aleksander Ford's film "Youth of Chopin" the protagonist embodied a young man with an elaborate appearance, whose eyes looked on and yet were absent from the meeting scene... This young man never smiled, too bad, because it would look like he'd have a nice smile... Ford's film helped me more than my listenings helped me out 20 years ago, sketching composer Chopin.

Shortly afterwards I read another subversive "biographical" novel that troubled me again: he chronicled his contradictory life, presenting him as an unwitting, atrophiedly sensitive guy with eccentrically expresed melancholy. I was at the beginning of my pianist career and all this meant a lot...

Twenty years later, studying through the sources of his works and his life, I believe Chopin was a witty man, low-voiced but dynamic, a lover of beauty, a dreamy Apostle of Poland. No, Chopin was neither an enemy of life nor a victim of it. He allowed himself to become independent from the measure of others, avoided their own regularity.

He lived with his own rubato, what List described so nicely: "Look at the trees, the wind plays with the leaves, makes them flutter, but the tree stays still".

Chopin was a tree that ideally protected a delicate romantic soul and perfectly projected a maximum classic spirit.

(Efi Agrafioti)


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