25th anniversary season

Music is for me a manifestation of freedom and naturalness

Daniela Roubíčková — horn · PATRON OF THE CONCERT | photo: Milan Mošna

‘The suffering of a young composer’ or ‘Why Tchaikovsky did not compose at night!’

Allegedly, this piece cost Tchaikovsky more labour and suffering than any of his other works. His First Symphony with the idyllic title ‘Winter Dreams’ took two years to compose, from March 1866 until February 1868. “My nerves are extremely fraught again for the following reasons: first my lack of success in composing the symphony, second Rubinstein and Tarnovsky spend all day trying to torment me, and third being unable to shake off the thought that I might die without even managing to complete the symphony,” writes Tchaikovsky to his brother Anatoly in the spring of 1866, age twenty six. During the work on his first symphony the young composer began to suffer from insomnia, which in July resulted in a terrible nervous attack, accompanied with hallucinations and a complete paralysis of the body. After this experience Tchaikovsky never wrote a single note at night.  

Further fortune of the symphony was not trouble-free either. In 1874 Tchaikovsky completely revised it; however, the new version when prepared for publication contained not only a great number of errors, but — to Tchaikovsky’s displeasure — the publisher added the parts previously deleted by the composer. He writes angrily to the publisher: “The score of my symphony, as it stands, contains innumerable mistakes…” and asks him to immediately take steps to correct them.

In spite of all the difficulties that beset this work, these days the First Symphony is considered one of the most beautiful and much-favoured of Tchaikovsky’s works, and he himself had a very special relationship to it:  “I am very fond of this symphony and deeply regret that it’s had such an unhappy existence. Despite all its huge shortcomings, I still nourish a weakness for it, because it was a sin of my youth.  Although it is in many ways very immature, fundamentally it is still richer in content than many of my mature works.” he writes in several letters. True words and exceptionally beautiful, romantic music you should definitely not miss.  

“Dear audience, come with us and together we shall touch sound at its best. It will be worth it!”

Pulcinella by Igor Stravinsky, Pierre Wissmer’s Violin Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 ‘Winter Dreams’ – that is the programme of our next PKF – Prague Philharmonia subscription concert. For me the choice of works in terms of dramaturgy is somewhat atypical, but it will certainly have an immediate appeal. It is a pity that Stravinsky’s Suite from the ballet is infrequently performed on Czech stages. It is a piece from the composer’s neo-classical period and very close to me personally. I can feel the return to traditions and at the same time enjoy the new ideas Stravinsky included in the composition.

Wissmer’s Violin Concerto will be performed by the outstanding violinist Eva Zavaro and I am anticipating it with excitement. I admit that I am wondering what mood and approach she will project into this work. It is certainly not an easy piece in terms of interpretation and musical rendering. We, the orchestra players, will try to give Eva our support and inspiration. At the same time I believe that her concept of the work, being of similar age, will be very close to mine and I will find in it my own ideas.

I very much look forward to Tchaikovsky’s symphony ‘Winter Dreams’ in the second half of the concert. It is a programme-oriented piece and that always encourages greater imagination. Although it is the composer’s first symphony, to me it feels confident and well thought out. I believe that under the leadership of conductor Jiří Rožeň you will hear a sophisticated sound, appropriate contrasts and together with us will enjoy the concert.  

Daniela Roubíčková — patron of the concert

Pulcinella, Suite from a ballet
Violin Concerto No. 2
Symphony No. 1 in G minor Op. 13 ‘Winter Dreams’

Eva Zavaro — violin
Jiří Rožeň — conductor

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