Tchaikovsky was commissioned by a St. Petersburg-based music journal Nouvelist to provide a piece for each month of the year. He called his piece for April "Snowdrops" after the flowers which bravely pierce through the still-snowy landscape at the start spring. The first edition carried this poetic epigraph:
The blue, pure snowdrop-flower,
and near it the last snowdrops.
The last tears over past griefs,
and first dreams of another happiness.
Elsewhere, this morning's musical selections celebrate courage through the work of composers whose careers required a fearless commitment to overcoming personal and societal obstacles. Beethoven's well-known hearing impairment had deprived him almost completely of his most cherished sense by the time he composed his 6 Bagatelles, Op. 126--his final works for piano. Clara Schumann managed to remain a vibrant creative force as a pianist and composer, while caring for her husband Robert Schumann through the throws of declining mental health and raising their eight children. African-American composer Margaret Bonds became a major figure in the world of classical music in the mid-20th century, when the profession was dominated by men of European descent, and Valerie Capers--a favorite musical guest at CUUC!--was the first visually impaired graduate of The Juilliard School. Read on for programming details, and stay tuned for live introductions.
Centering Music: Adam Kent, piano
April, Op. 37, No. 4
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Mazurka in G Minor, Op. 6, No. 3
Clara Wieck Schumann
Bagatelle in B Minor, Op. 126, No. 4
Ludwig van Beethoven
"The Monk" from Portraits in Jazz