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Happy Birthday Brahms and Tchaikovsky Playlist
The thought of Johannes Brahms and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky blowing out birthday candles on the same day is enough to make some people’s heads explode. If you love classical music, it’s hard to imagine them doing anything together.
Yet these two composers had a great deal in common–starting, believe it or not, with their reverence for music of an earlier time. Brahms demonstrated that in the finale of his Symphony No. 4, which is based on a Bach chorale. The counterpart to that is Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 4, his loving tribute to Mozart, which concludes with a theme that Mozart himself borrowed from Gluck. The unrequited love that Tatiana pours out in her Letter Scene, from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, is balanced nicely by the conflicted feelings in Von Ewiger Liebe, Brahms’s setting of an expression of love in the face of potential shame.
Tchaikovsky and Brahms were also dismissed, now and then, for a certain less-than-adventurous, perhaps even academic, approach to music. Yet the Academic Festival Overture, by Brahms, concludes with a drinking song. And the Slavonic March, by Tchaikovsky, quotes Slavic folk music.
There are more surprising parallels to discover in the lives and works of these composers. All you have to do is listen–and enjoy!
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