Recorded on 06/30/2010, uploaded on 11/25/2010
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
With the rise of interest in folk music throughout the 19th century, the Ukrainian duma (pl. dumy), a melancholic or introspective epic ballad, became a source of inspiration for some composers, particularly those of Slavic background. Thus, the word dumka (pl. dumky), being a diminutive form of duma, was introduced to describe these folk-infused compositions. The composition of dumky became quite popular after the publication of an ethnological study and a number of lectures given by the Slavic composer Mykola Lysenko in 1873-74 in Kiev and St. Petersburg, which featured performances by a Ukrainian kobzar. Arguably the most famous dumka to follow Lysenko’s lectures is Antonín Dvořák’s Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor, better known as the “Dumky” Trio. However, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Dumka, op. 59 for piano solo is also a well-known example and is one of the composer’s most successful compositions for the instrument.
Composed in 1886, Tchaikovsky’s Dumka begins with a weary lament, marked Andanta cantabile, in C minor. The piece soon awakens and begins to shake off its heavy burden when the right hand lingers on a repetitive scalar passage which then becomes an accompaniment to a restatement of the lament. The growing energy of this opening section leads into a Con anima in E-flat major. The introduction of syncopated rhythms and sprightly grace notes add to the liveliness of this section. A slackening in tempo (Poco meno mosso) and a shift to G minor interrupt the jovial Con anima, but the restless energy of before is nevertheless maintained and eventually causes the piece to break off into a cadenza. A fiery Moderato con fuoco begins after the cadenza and leads to a final introspective recapitulation of the opening lament with which the piece closes. Joseph DuBose
Dunka, op. 59 Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Tchaikovsky's Dumka, is one of the Russian composer's few works for solo piano. This narrative Slavic folk song evokes a whirlwind of emotions, starting and ending with a rich, melancholy theme in C-minor, and a celebratory, animated middle section in Eb-Major. Like so many of his other works, Tchaikovsky uses repetition and variation as a main compositional tool for musical development. Evan Mack
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
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