Sunday Serendipity

Though today isn’t as bleak a winter day as some Tchaikovsky saw in Moscow when he composed this symphony. It is winter and we have already had a good start on the cold weather.

Enjoy Jack

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13 thoughts on “Sunday Serendipity”

  1. jack, thanks and a happy new year to you. a little something on your fine selection:

    Winter Daydreams: A Guide to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 (houstonsymphony.org)

    Winter Daydreams: A Guide to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1
    Following the success of the recently opened St. Petersburg Conservatory, the first institution of its kind in Russia, a second conservatory opened in Moscow in 1866. Among the new professors was one of the first graduates of the St. Petersburg school: a young composer named Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
    A large proportion of the Moscow Conservatory’s first students were young women, many of whom had no ambition to become professional musicians. Tchaikovsky wrote to his stepmother, “I confess I was terrified at the sight of such an enormous number of crinolines, chignons, etc. But I still hope that I shall manage to captivate these fays…” Captivate them he did, although not in the way he had hoped. One of his female students later remembered him as “young, with nice-looking, almost beautiful features, a deep, expressive gaze in his beautiful dark eyes, fluffy, carelessly combed hair, and a marvelous blond beard.” He had plenty of admirers, although the painfully shy, homosexual composer was frustrated by the lack of seriousness some of them displayed toward their musical studies. Imagining him as Apollo surrounded by the Graces, Tchaikovsky’s father wryly responded to his letter: “I should be very curious to see you sitting there, blushing in confusion.”
    By March of 1866, the young professor embarked on a major project: his First Symphony, a milestone for any composer. He had composed about half-a-dozen shorter orchestral works thus far, only a couple of which had been performed, but felt ready to attempt something more ambitious. “No other work cost him such effort and suffering…Despite painstaking and arduous work, its composition was fraught with difficulty,” recalled his younger brother Modest.
    Tchaikovsky became increasingly frustrated with his teaching responsibilities, which took time away from his composing. Thus, during his summer vacation, he joined his family at a small dacha outside St. Petersburg determined to make serious progress on his symphony. He worked late into the night, consuming numerous cigarettes, until he suffered a breakdown from exhaustion. He never composed after sundown again.
    Before returning to Moscow, he showed his still unfinished score to some of his former professors at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, hoping they would agree to have it performed once it was finished. Unfortunately, they did not like his new work and offered many criticisms, most of which Tchaikovsky felt were unjustified. He would spend over a year more slaving over the symphony that refused to cooperate, and would make further revisions to it in 1874, some eight years after beginning it.
    Nevertheless, Tchaikovsky had a special fondness for the work, regarding it as “a sin of my sweet youth.” Its charming melodies and vivid orchestration give little hint of the trouble it cost the composer, and the unmistakable Tchaikovsky sound is already in every measure.
    Tchaikovsky gave the symphony the descriptive title “Winter Daydreams,” and gave atmospheric titles to the first two movements as well.  [continues to describe each movement]

  2. from same houston symphony link:

    The last movement is based on a variant of the Russian folk song “I will plant, young one,” which Tchaikovsky could have heard sung in towns throughout Russia. Here is a translation* of one version of the song:

    I will plant, young one,
    A few flowers,
    The flowers will start blooming,
    And tearing at my heart.

    I gazed at the flowers,
    With my heart fainting,
    With my little heart fainting,
    Waiting for my friend.

    How is my joy coming along,
    He’s not coming soon.
    I see, I see, that my joy
    Doesn’t want to love me.

    Love, love, my joy,
    Whomever you wish!
    I said farewell to you,
    Now you say farewell to me!

  3. jamie, at least you’re being practical about yours.  good luck with your goal to read more. mine? just trying to stay calm and carry on as they say.

    Aaaah it’s that time of year again – New Year’s Resolutions! What impossible, unrealistic goals will we set for ourselves this year I wonder…

  4. happy birthday, amazing grace. you’re aging well.

    How sweet the sound: new orchestral piece to celebrate 250 years of Amazing Grace | Music | The Guardian

    A declaration of gratitude and humility, the Christian anthem Amazing Grace is sung around the world at significant moments. The stirring lyric sometimes expresses a sense of loss, yet equally often a shared hope for the future.
    The song, familiar as the soundtrack to social protest, is also closely associated with the arrival of the new year, and its verses were first heard in public 250 years ago on 1 January in the small Buckinghamshire town of Olney, near Milton Keynes. The lyric, thanking God for enlightening a sinner, was originally part of a sermon written for New Year’s Day 1773 by the Rev John Newton, a repentant former slave trader who presided over the congregation at the Olney church of St Peter and St Paul.
    Now a major new orchestral and choral piece entitled Forever will be performed in recognition of the landmark anniversary. The collaborative project, being created by leading black and ethnically diverse British talent, aims to celebrate the international resonance of Amazing Grace.
    In the 20th century, the hymn earned a special role in the American civil rights movement, despite Newton’s links to slavery. Now the award-winning poet Rommi Smith is writing the libretto for music composed by the leading operatic tenor Roderick Williams. Their piece will be premiered this summer by Britain’s much-garlanded Chineke! Orchestra as part of the Milton Keynes International Festival.
    [continues]

  5. Zelenskiy delivers New Year message of hope as Russia launches fresh strikes on Ukraine | Ukraine | The Guardian

    As air raid sirens wailed across the country and air defences were brought into action, some people in Kyiv shouted from their balconies, “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to heroes!” Reuters witnesses reported. In Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities, an 11pm curfew had already precluded large New Year parties, with many marking the moment inside shelters.
    […]
    The attacks came minutes after Zelenskiy delivered his first wartime New Year address, with no end in sight to the conflict. He said: “2022 struck our hearts. We cried out all the tears. All the prayers were yelled. 311 days. We have something to say about every minute. But most words are superfluous. No explanation needed. Silence is needed to hear. Pauses are needed to realise.
    “We don’t know for sure what new 2023 will bring us. I want to wish all of us one thing – victory. And that’s the main thing.
    “Let this year be the year of return. The return of our people. Soldiers – to their families. Prisoners – to their homes. Immigrants – to their Ukraine. The return of our lands. And the temporarily occupied will become forever free.
    “Return to normal life. To happy moments without curfew. To earthly joys without air alerts. The return of what has been stolen from us. The childhood of our children, the peaceful old age of our parents.
    “May the New Year bring it all. We’re ready to fight for it. That’s why each of us is here. I’m here, we’re here, you’re here – everyone’s here. We’re all Ukraine.”

  6. Thanks Jack!
    Although… it isn’t cold here… we are in the 50s.  We’ve lost most of our snow.  Ski areas are off to a really rough start.  But I’m sure winter will return…

  7. wish I’d seen this toon from the new yorker to go with last thread’s topic.  might be good to hang on to when next crisis crops up

     

  8. Happy New Year everyone.  It is lovely here today sunny and warm.  Rain starts again tomorrow.
    We are quite safe here no floods no near-by trees likely to fall.  The only isssue would be is the roads leading in have too much debris.  But so far so good
     

  9. https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/01/politics/mccarthy-key-concession-speakership-race/index.html

    “This group is still pushing to give a single lawmaker the power to call for a vote toppling the speaker, and they also want a commitment that leadership won’t play in primaries, among other things. Since McCarthy can only afford to lose four votes on the House floor, it means he still has a lot of work to do before Tuesday.”

    “…he has agreed to a threshold as low as five people to trigger a vote on ousting the speaker at any given time, known as the “motion to vacate” the speaker’s chair, and pitched it as a “compromise.”

    “Some moderates – who fear the motion to vacate will be used as constant cudgel over McCarthy’s head – pushed back and expressed their frustration during the call, sources said.”

    A weak speaker is also called a puppet.

    The GQP has infected the Republican Party; it won’t survive.

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