Recorded on 11/26/2008, uploaded on 03/19/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
During a two-week vacation at Brailovo, the Ukranian country estate of his wealthy patroness Nadezhda von Meck, Tchaikovsky put together his Souvenir d’un lieu cher, op. 42, or Memory of a dear place, a set of three pieces for violin and piano. Tchaikovsky relationship with von Meck was somewhat unusual. Though she supported him financially, leaving the composer free to indulge himself in creative endeavors, her patronage came with the strange stipulation that the two were never to meet. Nevertheless, Tchaikovsky was not hindered from taking advantage of von Meck’s beautiful country estate. The original manuscript of the Souvenir d’un lieu cher Tchaikovsky sent to von Meck as a token of his gratitude. However, he also intended the work to be published and asked von Meck to arrange a copy be made and sent to the publisher P. Jurgenson. Interestingly, Tchaikovsky dedicated the piece, not to von Meck, but to Brailovo itself.
The first of the three piece of opus 42 is Méditation. Composed in March 1878, it was original intended to be the slow movement of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. Yet, it was deemed unworthy to take the central position in that great work and was replaced by the popular Canzonetta. Unwilling to let the piece go by the wayside, he recast it for violin and piano and chose it for the opening piece of opus 42. To it was added a Scherzo, which also had been begun earlier, and the famous Mélodie. This last piece had perhaps gained the most fame of the three pieces. It is a blithe work, a gentle Moderato in E-flat major, with a caressing theme over a simple piano accompaniment. The piece’s outer sections flow along unhurried with a sort of lazy grace and wrap a livelier central episode that takes on a joyous disposition. Joseph DuBose
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
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