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     Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)     

     After Sodom and Gomorrah, people were so encouraged, that they founded numerous gay societies and spent a lot of effort and money to promote Sodomite values.  It became a large industry with a demand for a new philosophy.  To promote gay doctrine, a growing list of prominent gays has been highlighted by gay historians.
     It has already been over a century since the gossip that Tchaikovsky was a gay began
to circulate in our society.  For some reason it is forgotten, that in Russia, in the 19th century, people often were killed for calling someone gay.  It is a late development, flourishing mostly in Western countries, that enables people to feel proud of being homosexual.
     Absolutely self-sufficient as a composer, Tchaikovsky had no need to be guided by Balakirev, leader of the composers' group 'The Mighty Five', or compete with the director of the Moscow conservatory, Rubinstein.  Now the conservatory bears the name of Pyotr Tchaikovsky.  Such independence and unbeatable popularity caused the jealousy of fellow composers, who used his unsuccessful marriage to promote a scandal, making Tchaikovsky the target of many lies, including the tale that he was homosexual, which brought the  composer of genius to suicide.  Tchaikovsky was extremely depressed, watching how seriously Russian society and the Tsar, whom he respected and loved, took the gossip.  The most terrible thing was that these accusations were pointed at a composer who devoted a lot of time to children and was author of the famous "Children's Album."  Tchaikovsky's death deprived us of many more great compositions.  He was 53.

     Variations on a Rococo Theme, op. 33
     "Variations on a Rococo Theme" was commissioned by cellist Wilhelm Fitzenhagen in 1876. Tchaikovsky made two versions of this composition.  The first is for a small orchestra of 18 musicians - a double set of woodwind instruments, a pair of horns, timpani and strings; the second version is for cello and piano.  The cello part was heavily edited by Fitzenhagen. The premiere took place in Moscow in 1877.  Nikolai Rubinstein conducted the orchestra.
     "Variations on a Rococo Theme" is one of the most precious compositions of Russian classical repertoire.  It incarnates expressiveness and sincerity of musical images, upright feelings and moods, artistic simplicity of ideas, and clarity of form.
     At the time of creation of "Variations on a Rococo Theme", Tchaikovsky also worked on his symphonic poem "Francesca da Rimini". His admiration of Italian Renaissance, Dante, Mozart, and Russian folk music is sincerely expressed in both compositions.

     Souvenir de Florence, op. 70
     In 1886 Tchaikovsky was elected honorary member of the St Petersburg Chamber Music Society and had promised to write a new work for them.  After he finished the opera "The Queen of Spades", the work on "Souvenir de Florence" started.  It is remarkable, that Tchaikovsky lived in Florence, whilst working on both compositions.
     Writing to his friend Alexander Ziloty, Tchaikovsky confided that he was thinking in orchestral terms and composed that version before arranging his ideas for string sextet.  The sextet "Souvenir de Florence" for two violins, two violas and two cellos was composed in June - August 1890.  The piece was a great success. The composer reached an almost orchestral richness of sound due to the abundance of imitations and the simultaneous
combination of different motifs.  The two last movements of the sextet were revised in 1892.

     This album features top Russian artists: Mstislav Rostropovich, the Borodin String Quartet, Gennady Rozhdestvensky and the Leningrad Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra.
Mstislav Rostropovich has performed and recorded nearly the entire cello repertoire and
inspired the creation of an unprecedented large quantity of new compositions for the instrument.  Composers who have written music for Rostropovich include: Britten, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Khachaturian, Boulez, Berio, Messiaen, Schnittke, Bernstein, Dutilleux and Lutoslawski.

     The distinguished Borodin String Quartet was named after a pioneer composer of Russian instrumental chamber music, Alexander Borodin.  The brilliance and cultural background of the musicians, who are devoted enthusiasts of chamber music, and their never-ceasing and self-denying efforts aimed at mastering an inexhaustible treasury of music, have won the gratitude of music lovers around the world.

     Gennady Rozhdestvensky, USSR People's Artist, Lenin Prize Winner, is an  outstanding musician of today.  An artist of universal ideas and wide artistic interests, Rozhdestvensky has paid tribute to the art of the 20th century and mostly to Russian music, works of his contemporaries, from the very beginning of his career.

     Leonardo da Vinci, a famous painter from Florence, created "Lady with an Ermine" - a portrait of Cecilia Gallerani, who was the mistress of Leonardo's patron, the Milanese strongman Ludovico Sforza.  You may see "Lady with an Ermine" on the cover of this booklet.

2003 Evgeni Kostitsyn

Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893)

1.  Variations on a Rococo Theme for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 33   18:45
     String Sextet in D minor, Op. 70   "Souvenir de Florence"
2.   Allegro con spirito 10:12
3.   Adagio cantabile e con moto 10:32
4.   Allegretto moderato 6:17
5.   Allegro vivace 6:53

Total time - 52:59

Mstislav Rostropovich, cello
Borodin String Quartet
Gennady Rozhdestvenksy, conductor
Leningrad Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra

cover painting - "Lady with an Ermine" by Leonardo da Vinci

Variations on a Rococo Theme were recorded in 1963 by Pakhter
and Souvenir de Florence in 1965 by Skoblo.