The NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra soloists will present two string sextets by two composers, who did not have too much mutual understanding and sympathy for their work. Today, both have taken their rightful place in the pantheon of composers of the greatest masterpieces of all time.
String Sextet in D minor op. 70 “Souvenir de Florence” by Pyotr Tchaikovsky is his late composition. It was written in 1890 and premiered two years later. This piece features all the qualities that make Tchaikovsky’s work so popular – the melody skilfully contrasted with more emotional and more dramatic moments. The subtitle “Souvenir from Florence” came from the fact that the composer started sketching the sextet in this city, but at that time he was mainly busy writing one of his most valuable operas, The Queen of Spades.
String Sextet No. 2 in G major op. 36 was written in a beautiful setting too, as Johannes Brahms wrote it during his summer stays in the spa town of Baden-Baden in the years 1864–1865. This work contains a musical cryptogram – a motif composed of sounds a-g-a-h-e symbolizes Agathe von Siebold, with whom the composer was in love at the time and to whom he proposed. The proposal was accepted, but Brahms could not decide to get married, and as a reason (or an excuse) he cited the failure of his own compositions (Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor was very coldly received) and the related potential inability to support a family. Agathe broke off her engagement and, although she later married, did not forget about Brahms: she dedicated her novel Jugendliebe to her love for Brahms