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Wayward Niece, Favourite Nephew

Donald Macleod explores the difficult events of 1883, when Tchaikovsky was called on to deal with a family crisis and his self-destructive love for his own nephew.

Just as he was struggling to cope with his own domestic affairs, in 1883 Tchaikovsky found himself - entirely unwillingly - having to deal with a family crisis, as his wayward, morphine-addled niece Tanya arrived in Paris, heavily pregnant with an illegitimate child. Uncle Pyotr was called upon to sort out the mess - just as he was falling heavily - self-destructively - in love with Tanya's brother, his own nephew Bob.

Meanwhile, the composer was struggling with what was to become perhaps his favourite opera - though one little performed today: the tale of the Cossack warrior Mazeppa.

Donald Macleod presents excerpts from the opera, as well as a complete performance of Tchaikovsky's Second Suite for Orchestra - as the composer ditched his familiar symphonic form for a daring new exploration of dance, melody and colour.

1 hour

Music Played

  • Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Valse Sentimentale, Op.51 no.6 (1881) (arr. Harjanne)

    Performer: Jouko Harjanne (trumpet)

    • FINLANDIA 0927492522.
    • 12.
  • Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Mazeppa (excerpt)

    Performer: Sergej Larin (Andrei) Performer: Galina Gorchakova (Maria) Performer: Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Neemi Järvi

    • DEUTCHE GRAMMOPHON 4399062.
  • Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Suite no.2 for orchestra, Op.53 (1883)

    Performer: New Philharmonia / Antal Dorati

    • PHILIPS 4561882.
  • Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    "The Crown Of Roses" (1881-3)

    Performer: The Choir Of King’s College / Sir David Willcocks

    • DECCA 4448482.

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