Recorded on 05/06/2008, uploaded on 01/11/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
In the wake of his failed marriage, Tchaikovsky removed himself from society, resigning from his position at the Moscow Conservatory, and taking up the life of a nomad. He first went to Clarens, a resort on the shores of Lake Geneva where he stayed to recover from the emotional strain of his marriage, but he travelled extensively in the ensuing years across Europe. This dramatic turning point in the composer’s personal life ushered into the world several of his most well-known and beloved works—the Fourth Symphony, Eugene Onegin and the Violin Concerto. However, after this compact period of intense creativity, Tchaikovsky’s prowess began to wane and he settled into less taxing smaller forms of composition. One of the products of this period was the 6 Romances, op. 38.
The most popular of the six songs of opus 38 is “Distant Alpujarra’s lights,” better known as Don Juan’s Serenade. The text comes from the play, Don Juan, written by Aleksey K. Tolstoy, second cousin to the famed Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy. An energetic piece in B minor, it opens with a driving bass line accompanied by a flurry of notes in the right hand. The vocal melody is well suited to the text, full of vim and vigor, as the poet calls to his beloved to come to the balcony and gallantly vows to fight any man to the death that does not think her the fairest of all women. Joseph DuBose
Darkness descends upon Alpujara's golden land my guitar invites you, come out, my dear! Whoever says that there are others that can be compared to you, whoever burns for your love, I challenge them to mortal combat! Now the moon has illuminated the sky. O' come, Niseta, quickly to the balcony!
From Seville to Granada, in the silence of the nights, the serenades resound, as do the clash of swords. Much blood and many songs pour forth for the lovely ladies, And I, for the most beautiful of all, am ready to give my blood and song! Now the moon has illuminated the sky. O' come, Niseta, quickly to the balcony!
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
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