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I was in a celebration mood today, so I went to see the New World Symphony Season Finale at the Arsht Center, in their All-Tchaikovsky Program.

Polonaise from Act III of Eugene Onegin.

A favorite of mine, which I often play at home, this piece is usually used in Cuba for the Grand Desfile that opens the International Ballet Festival, so every time I listen to it I travel back in time. I also have the opera in DVD, and the effect of the striking contrast of extroverted charm and drive of the dance against Onegin's loneliness as an observer of the crowd when he sings an aria right immediately always hits me.

Concerto No. 1 in B Flat Minor for Piano and Orchestra Op 23

What can I add to the title of this masterpiece...? The simple four-note motif in the horns that makes the opening is certainly one of the most famous and recognizable moments in the history of music, and even if the soloist's hammer chord gestures, which frame the tune, have been endlessly parodied by Liberace stylings, it remains a curtain raiser of a jaw dropping excitement and grandeur. I make sure to enjoy the tune while I can, for which it only returns once in this lengthy introduction and then is gone for good.

Symphony No. 5 in E Minor Op 64

The slow introduction of the Fifth-(the "Fate" theme)-with its shy melancholy is so beautiful!!. Then we are lead to a world of total contrasts and shocking climaxes, as well as vivid orchestral coloring, and as the first movement continues to reach the great climax at the end of the exposition, it always reminds me of the similar driving rhythm from the first movement of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. Then we have the Andante's variation of the melancholic sounds of the opening movement, and its famous horn melody. The third movement and its dreamy sensibility goes then in the manner of one of Tchaikovsky's characteristic waltzes. Then, the finale provides a reverse mirror image of the first, again with the same overall structure of a slow introduction leading to the main movement, with the theme triumphing in the major key. What a beauty. :(

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