The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is performing works by Brahms, Tchaikovsky and of course Romania’s most famous composer, George Enescu, at the Enescu Festival in Bucharest.
Tugan Sokhiev is conducting Brahms’s well-loved Haydn Variations and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1. The young Tchaikovsky took inspiration from Russia, Beethoven and Mendelssohn. The title ‘Winter Daydreams’ is largely connected with the first two movements, entitled ‘Dreams of a Winter Journey’ and ‘Land of Desolation, Land of Mists’. Always critical, his fellow composers, who had already put the young Tchaikovsky through his paces, were of the opinion that the First Symphony was too ‘Western’ and not Russian enough. This is rather odd – with its prominent themes taken from Russian folk music and its melancholy character, it could well be called the first emphatically Russian symphony.
The Romanian composer George Enescu began his career around 1900 composing a large number of works inspired by the folk music of his native country. At the end of his life, the influence of folk music returned. He wrote the Concert Overture on Popular Romanian Themes after the Second World War while living in poverty in Paris.