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Concerts from the Library of Congress: Pick of the Week

Week of October 15, 2021

Introduction

This Pick of the Week features the 2021 virtual performance of Tchaikovsky & His Poets.

A sumptuous recital by an all-star trio paints an intimate composer portrait in performances of mesmerizing intensity. This masterly presentation interweaves Tchaikovsky's songs with poetic readings of Alexander Pushkin, Afanasy Fet, Mikhail Lermontov, and letters to the composer's brother Modest and patron Nadezhda von Meck. Alice Coote's breathtaking singing arrests the viewer with "sheer conviction and subtlety of perception" (The Times, London). Yearning, melancholy, soaring passion, anguish—a starkly dramatic range of emotions—are conveyed in nuanced shades of timbre and tone from both singer and speaker with beautifully played commentaries from the piano. Coote, Blackshaw, and Fiennes create a finely-drawn chiaroscuro rendering, offering a revelatory glimpse into the soul of an artist.

Presented in cooperation with Wigmore Hall.

Pick of the Week-October 15, 2021

Mezzo-soprano Alice Coote and pianist Christian Blackshaw talk with the Music Division's Anne McLean about Tchaikovsky & His Poets, a splendid recital created in collaboration with actor Ralph Fiennes as narrator. The program is a masterly presentation of Tchaikovsky songs, interwoven with recitations of poems by great Russian poets who inspired him, including Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov, Afanasy Fet and Aleksei Tolstoy. The artists discuss the process of crafting the program, which also offers readings by Fiennes of four of the composer's letters, to Alexander Glazunov, his patron Nadezhda von Meck, and his brother Modest. Their conversation touches on Tchaikovsky's personal life and love of literature, as well as concepts of artistic freedom and risktaking, for a concert providing an intimate, revelatory portrait of the composer.

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