SATURDAY, June 6, 2020
I’m hearing this for the first time, completing my exploration of Tchaikovsky’s orchestral music. This is a very late work, not orchestrated until 1891, just a couple years before Tchaikovsky’s death. Listening to all the music written by someone can be a bit like trying to complete a collection, where some of the things you are collecting are not terribly important to you, but you just want the whole thing.
I had zero expectations of either the music or a recording, but Jaarvi is a very fine conductor, the orchestra is first rate and the recording is excellent. And the music? To my surprise I like it a great deal, so I wonder why I have not heard it before – and I wonder why it is not more often played.
This is yet another fine composition that Tchaikovsky destroyed, so we only have it today because the score was reconstructed from the parts. There is really no ending. If you read the story of how this written, and how Tchaikovsky got zero support from his friends, it’s clear that it was not finished. I’m sure he would have done more with this, had he gotten any encouragement. As it is we are lucky that the music survives at all.