Why do some many people in academia love to attack poor Tchaikovsky? Because he's popular? because he's emotional? I don’t get it. Recently i read an attack on his symphonies and was, more or less, offended.
Stravinsky and I shared a similar upbringing - in terms of Tchaikovsky- the first ballet i ever saw, when i was very young- 5 or 6, was Tchaikovsky. From then on it was a sort of tradition every year or so to go with my mother to the Nutcracker. I loved the music then, i love it now. I share Stravinsky's admiration.
His music has ideas. Its passionately expressive music, and the emotion is hightened by his melodic inventiveness and lyrical brilliance. Really, could you dream up a melody more sublime than those found in his Symphonies or Ballets?
A while back I read Tchaikovsky's letters (all 400 pages of them), and it turns out (surprise surprise!) that he valued the melody as a core expressive element in music. I cant argue with that, and seeing that was his aims, can you fault him? If we value music in terms of its expressiveness, in terms of its musical ideas what is to stop us from admiring his works?
He certainly wasn’t a perfect composer, but no one is. Tchaikovsky may not have constructed his symphonies in proper symphonic form and all that crap, but maybe its because he wasn’t primarily interested in traditional compositional formats.
I've overheard some attack him for "sounding like a cheesy movie". Come on, he died long before the art of hack-- I meaning writing music scores came into practice. Its not his fault that he proved popular with Hollywood.
His last 3- the 4th 5th and 6th symphonies are masterpieces, no question. if you doubt this, if you think you can do better, please, get back to me.
Im still chuckling over my picture. Is that vanity?
BAZ at 100
3 days ago