Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky - Composer Study

Sophia and Olivia studied about Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky who was born on May 7, 1840 and died on November 6, 2893. His name is often anglicized as Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Tchaikovsky was a Russian composer whose works included concertos, operas, symphonies, ballets, chamber music, and a choral setting of the Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy. Some of these are among the most popular theatrical music in the classical repertoire.

As the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally, Tchaikovsky was often a guest conductor later in his career in Europe and the United States. One of these appearances was in 1891 at the inaugural concert of Carnegie Hall in New York City. Tchaikovsky was honored in 1884 by Emperor Alexander III, and awarded a lifetime pension in the late 1880s.

As part of learning about Tchaikovsky, Sophia and Olivia listened to six pieces by this composer. The first three pieces noted below were from the CD called "Complete Piano Works Vol. VII" and the latter pieces were from the CD called "Complete Piano Works Vol. V). They both featured Viktoria Postnikova who plays the piano (a Steinway).

Impromptu (3:32)

Sophia thought: It sounds like something you would hear during the classical period. It was very pretty and I liked it. I liked the tempo of it.

Olivia thought: It sounds like classical music. That sounds like a cat banging on the piano (at one point...not the entire song!). It's kind of in the center of me liking it - it's not my favorite piece and it's not my least favorite piece.


Meditation (4:59)

Sophia thought: I like the beginning better than the middle. It was quieter and more meditative.

Olivia thought: It definitely does sound like something you'd listen if you were meditating. In the middle it sounds like something you'd hear at a fancy party and everyone is dancing.


Chanson Elegiaque (7:45)

Note: we thought that elegiaque may have referred to something that is elegant so Sophia and Olivia wanted to listen to that versus a piece that has "rustique" in its title. I looked it up and it says the word refers to the writing of elegies.

An elegy is defined as a song of lamentation in which the writer praises the life and mourns the death of someone. 

Sophia thought: It's slow and sad. I don't like it - it's too quiet.

Olivia thought: It's sad. It's definitely something you'd hear at a funeral. I don't like it...it's too sad.


Cinquante Chants Populaires Russes - This piece had five separate sections to it: Green Vine Branches; Do not howl, Impetuous Winds; At Daybreak; Sadness; and Arise, Sun (2:49)

Sophia thought: Very lively (Green Vine Branches). It from bouncy to slow quickly (Do not howl, Impetuous Winds). I liked the first one better. I liked the first one better than the third one (At Daybreak). I liked the fourth one (Sadness) better than the second slow one (Do not howl, Impetuous Winds).

Olivia thought: Very bouncy (Green Vine Branches). Too slow and sad (Do not howl, Impetuous Winds).I liked the first one better too (Green Vine Branches vs. At Daybreak). I think he is doing a pattern of bouncy-slow-bouncy. I liked that one. The last two parts were okay. I liked the first part of the song the best (Green Vine Branches).


3 Romances - Berceuse (2:43)

Sophia thought: It's not very romantic. It sounds like something you'd hear at a ballet or a funeral. I don't really like this one.

Olivia thought: It sounds kind of sad. I'm thinking of when Juliet dies. It's very quiet - not loud at all. 


Theme and Variation (Theme - 0:50; Variation I - 1:07)

Sophia thought:I liked the Theme. It was kind of sweet. I like Variation better because there are more rises and falls in it. It's kind of like an ocean.

Olivia thought: The Theme was kind of slow. I didn't really like it. The Variation is a bit louder and a bit faster. I didn't notice much of a difference between this song and Theme.


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