It’s hard to believe there was a time when Tchaikovsky genuinely thought his music for the balletSwan Lake would fall into oblivion.
The first impression of Swan Lake came about thanks to Anna
and Tanya Davidová, Tchaikovsky’s cherished nieces. Uncle Piotr
presented a summer afternoon’s entertainment to them in 1871, music that
the composer then merged with selections from two of his early
ill-fated operas, to create the first version ofSwan Lake. But
it was far from a great success at its Moscow premiere six years later
and Tchaikovsky feared his music would be forgotten.
Before his death in 1893, Tchaikovsky asked his publisher for a copy
of his score, as he intended to select a suite from it. He never did,
but the suite – whoever chose the pieces – is a Romantic orchestral
masterpiece adored the world-over. The ballet would of course, go on to
become one of the most popular of all time.
Tianyi Lu will make her Melbourne Town Hall debut for this
magnificent concert, and brilliant Australian–Chinese cellist Li-Wei Qin
will tackle Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto.
Camille Saint-Saëns’ first Cello Concerto premiered in 1873 – a time
when pianos and violins most frequently took centre stage in the
concerto format. Known for its compression of the traditional
three-movements into one uninterrupted 20-minute piece, Saint-Saëns
champions the cello with a solo part which demonstrates both its lyrical
and dramatic qualities.
Completing the program is Ravel’s tribute to Baroque style, his 1919 orchestral suite,Le Tombeau de Couperin.