John Eliot Gardiner conducts the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2. Tchaikovsky had used Ukrainian (formerly ‘Little Russia’) folksongs in his symphony – hence the nickname ‘Little Russian’.
With his Symphony No. 2, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky made a good impression on the composers of the ‘Mighty Handful’, a sort of nationalist collective. Tchaikovsky played the symphony’s last movement at a party at Rimsky-Korsakov’s and “the entire assembled company almost tore me apart with delight”. This was not surprising, for although Tchaikovsky’s Second Symphony was indeed composed in a Western manner, melodies from Ukrainian (formerly ‘Little Russia’) folksongs had been woven into it – hence its nickname ‘Little Russian’.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner has made numerous appearances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra since 1994. Gardiner is one of the most versatile British conductors of our time. He is a key figure in the development of historical performance practice, from the early Baroque up to and including the twentieth century. Gardiner is also the founder and artistic director of The Monteverdi Choir, the English Baroque Soloists and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique.