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RCCNY was invited to explore this theme by Carnegie Hall, earlier in its 2011-2012 season. Carnegie Hall hosted a series of events to honor Tchaikovsky for conducting its Opening Night, 120 years ago, in October 1891. As part of Carnegie Hall's Neighborhood Concert Series, RCCNY brought the "Tchaikovsky and His Contemporaries" program to the Richmondtown Library on Staten Island. Listeners enjoyed tracing the roots of Tchaikovsky's music in those he influenced, including Rachmaninoff and Arensky. Tchaikovsky’s innovations in Russian sacred and secular music gave powerful impetus to many subsequent generations of Russian composers.
Now, RCCNY will repeat the program--with a few enhancements for the January 2012 performance. The musical landscapes of Tchaikovsky's piano cycle The Seasons will feature the "January" movement ("By the Hearth"), performed by pianist and composer Mikhail Zeiger. Zeiger is well known to RCCNY listeners as a composer and arranger. Tchaikovsky’s cantata for women's chorus and soloists, Nature and Love, is a setting of the composer's own text, expressing the themes of romance and beauty.
As Tchaikovsky's themes permeated Russian Romanticism, the young Rachmaninoff reflected them in the deep emotions and poetic images of his Six Choruses for Women's Voices, with piano accompaniment. The passionate aria Iolantha's Arioso continues these themes. And though Rachmaninoff's Vocalise was written for a single voice with piano accompaniment, for this special concert Mikhail Zeiger has arranged its nostalgic melody for chorus, piano and cello.
Tchaikovsky found an enthusiastic admirer in his contemporary Anton Arensky. RCCNY performs Arensky's Three Quartets for Chorus and Cello, a gem of Russian Romanticism, accompanied by the talented cellist Adrian Daurov. For the concert's finale, RCCNY has selected Voshod Solnsta (Sunrise) by Sergei Taneyev, a distinguished composer and one of Tchaikovsky's close friends.
Tickets are $25 ($20 for students and seniors 65+) at the door. For more program information and to purchase tickets online, visit www.rccny.org/ConcertSchedule.html or call (212) 928-1402.
Laura Schlachtmeyer sings with RCCNY and is a member of its board.