1869-1880: Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet in B minor

SATURDAY, June 6, 2020

Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet, age 29-40

This is one of the great milestones in Tchaikovsky’s career. It was written relatively early in his career. The complete story is complicated, since it is shown to have been composed in 1869, but the final version we hear today was not completed until 1880.

Instrumentation:

  • piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets (in A), 2 bassoons
  • 4 horns (in F), 2 trumpets (in E), 3 trombones, tuba
  • 3 timpani, cymbals, bass drum
  • harp,
  • strings

This recording by Stokowski was released in 1970, coincidentally about a century after it was composed. It’s a Phase 4 recording, a controversial recording process that used a lot of close miking. I personally enjoy these recordings. One unusual detail is that Stokowski used an alternate ending suggested to Tchaikovsky in replacement of the rather loud and dramatic ending he wrote – which I have always felt was out of place. I prefer this ending.

 

 

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