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Tim Page's review of the Kirov-Mariinski ballet and opera gala contains this about Tchaikovsky. What do you think?

"Coming to terms with Tchaikovsky is a puberty rite for many listeners. Upon first hearing, we love him for the unbridled passion and grandeur of his music. Later on, we may go through a phase when it all seems a bit much -- the swooping strings, the hypercharged emotionalism, the intense subjectivity -- and react against him. Finally, in what passes for full maturity, we return to Tchaikovsky and discover him once again, this time for keeps. By now, we are willing to forgive some occasional bursts of effusion so long as we can savor those marvelous warm melodies and lose ourselves in his eternally inventive orchestration."

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Tchaikovsky's music was a 'rite of puberty' for me, having fallen in love with his music at the age of 13 ('Sleeping Beauty' did it). But I never went through the middle stage the author mentions. I'm a proud Peter Ilyitch fanatic and will be till my dying day. The man was a genius and his radiant, wearing his heart on his sleeve melodies and innovative orchestration have stood the test of time.

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I'm glad you said it first smile.gif I never went through Tchaikovsky withdrawal either. I fell in love with him at 6. My first piano recital piece was a baby version of "Marche Slav." There was a little bio that said he was a Russian and that Russians were fatalists. I didn't know what a fatalist was, but it sounded lovely. I looked up Russia in the Atlas and found that Lithuania (where my father's family came from) was part of the Soviet Union. Politics were not a concern at that age, and for years I thought I was Russian and loved being a fatalist smile.gif

In that way, Tchaikovsky is perfect for adolescents; there I agree with Page. Tchaikovsky and Dostoyevsky smile.gif I didn't know the Tchaikovsky of Sleeping Beauty until I discovered ballet. Those melodies are still in my head, after having the pleasure of hearing (almost) the full score for the better part of a week smile.gif

Anyone come to Tchaikovsky reluctantly? Or still prefer to stay away smile.gif

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never! i grew up in a household without much classical music. the only tchaikovsky i knew for a long time was a record with excerpts from different composers which contained the polonaise from 'eugene onegin', and that was enough till i heard the rest. i remain hopelessly in love with his music and quite happy to say so!

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What a good topic! Rediscovering his works is always exciting. A few days ago I popped in his Serenade for Strings, which I hadn't listened to in years (my ecclectic tastes constantly change in regard to music listening) and also, because I ahd the wonderful opportunity to dance in Serenade I couldn't listen to the music objecively without thinking about that particular ballet. Before performing it, I listed to his Serenade for Strings with a different ear. Now a few years have passed since performing that, and now am finally able to listen to it without a huge balletic association. As for his other ballet works, there is always an overwhelming association with the choreography so I just don't bother. Serenade for Strings always holds a new surprise for me, whether it is because of a different recording, or a slight nuance, etc. Tchaikovsky is just a blast sometimes smile.gif

PS: How do other dancers feel when knowing a piece of music, and then performing to it? How do your attitudes change (or not) concerning that music?

[ February 21, 2002: Message edited by: choreo ]

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