When Tchaikovsky Met Brahms...

When Tchaikovsky Met Brahms...


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

7:30pm - 9:30pm

Italian Academy at Columbia University

1161 Amsterdam Avenue

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Alexander Sitkovetsky, violin
Wu Qian, piano
Illustrated talk by Nicholas Chong


Tchaikovsky Souvenir d’un lieu cher, Op. 42
Brahms Violin Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 100
Grieg Sonata No. 3 in C minor

Although Tchaikovsky and Brahms both wrote some of the most glorious, heart-warming melodies in the Romantic musical literature, they disliked each other’s music. Their first meeting might have gone badly had Grieg not also been present – somehow he managed to smooth things over and, with the added help of several bottles of wine, the two antagonists ended up getting on famously. So what might have happened if they’d managed to drop their guard and simply listen to each other’s music for what it was? Apart from bringing together three exquisite pieces, this concert could also be seen as an attempt at posthumous reconciliation. Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir d’un lieu cher begins with his original attempt at the slow movement of his Violin Concerto. How could the Brahms who wrote the Second Violin Sonata fail to be moved by it? And how could Tchaikovsky miss the soulfulness in Brahms’s long-breathed melodic writing? And between them – perhaps as in that first meeting – sits Grieg, his melodic talent as ardent and sweet-toned as Tchaikovsky’s, as finely formed as Brahms’s.