ABOUT THE CONCERT
Russian composers, especially those of Tchaikovsky’s generation, were determined to come out from under the shadows of the Western Europeans who had dominated their field for centuries. The ascent of Russian music was staggering in its speed and power, and in a few short decades these interlopers from the East became the most envied figures in music. One path was that of Tchaikovsky, who fashioned himself as a cosmopolitan composer; his Sixth Symphony is a worldly work that links directly back to the symphonic traditions of Beethoven. Less than 20 years later, Stravinsky ventured out into the world with the opposite approach, embracing his Russianness in a wild, untamed ballet score. Rachmaninoff found his own delicate balance between the past and the future, and he kept the flame of Russian Romantic music burning all through the tumult and displacement of the early 20th century.
By Aaron Grad