Musical Journey: Russia / Ukraine

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The Places – Our visit starts in St Petersburg, with its palaces and gardens and strange white nights by the
River Neva. It continues with scenes of life in Moscow, Red Square, the Kremlin, monasteries and the Bolshoy
Theatre. There is a final homage to the poet Pushkin, with portraits and memorabilia from Ukraine and from
The Music – Tchaikovsky completed his Fifth Symphony in 1888, and regarded it with his usual critical
diffidence. ‘Having played my symphony twice in St Petersburg and once in Prague, I have decided it is a
failure. There is something repellent in it, some over-exaggerated colour, some insincerity of invention, which
the public instinctively recognises’, he wrote, in a letter to his patroness Nadezhda von Meck. It nevertheless
achieved considerable success, eventually winning Tchaikovsky’s own approval, and has remained a popular
element in Russian symphonic repertoire ever since. His Marche Slave of 1876
reflects patriotic Russian feelings at a time of Balkan conflict with Turkey.


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