RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Live – David Brophy conducts Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky
The romance and jollity of a Russian winter brings welcome cheer and warmth where fantasy and colour abound.
You can’t get more seasonal than the title of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Christmas Eve, albeit it’s an opera with more than a touch of Halloween about it. The tale of a young villager challenged with an impossible task to win the hand of his beloved and thwarted by the Devil himself, its eventual happy ending begins with the celebrated Polonaise. Drawing on a popular Polish folkdance, glossed by a stately formality and shot through with fairy-tale playfulness and a swirling, demonic energy it’s a perfect curtain raiser for two evocative pieces by Tchaikovsky.
Delving into Russian folklore, The Snow Maiden heralds the arrival of spring in an enchanting tale of an ill-fated mythical creature longing for love and a human soul. Liberally borrowing from traditional folk songs, Tchaikovsky’s colourful and animated score spotlights sections of the orchestra to brilliant effect in the atmospheric, scene-setting ‘Introduction’, the dark, liquescent beauty of the appropriately titled ‘Melodrama’ and in the drunkenly effervescent ‘Dance of the Tumblers’.
Aptly titled Winter Daydreams, his splendid First Symphony is a virtual sleigh ride through a landscape magical transformed by snow and ice. Bracing and romantic, it revels in Tchaikovsky’s flair for brilliant orchestrations that ring out with all the drama, poetry and romance of the Russian soul.
Polonaise from Christmas Eve
Introduction, Melodrama and Dance of the Tumblers from The Snow Maiden Suite
Symphony No. 1, ‘Winter Daydreams’