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2004 Russia - Eastern Europe III

The 2004 season ended with programs of works by composers from Eastern Europe and Russia: languages often marginalized in discussions of Bach and Beethoven, but that nevertheless produced a tremendous treasury of chamber music. Bartók’s Contrasts, written for the Hungarian violinist Joseph Szigeti and clarinetist Benny Goodman, seamlessly incorporates Hungarian folk dances with American jazz stylings. Polish composer Karol Szymanowski’s Songs of an Infatuated Muezzin offer listeners a taste of one of Easter Europe’s lesser-known but most individual musical voices. Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir of Florence, though begun while the Russian composer visited Italy, is unmistakably Russian from its first measure. A tour de force for string sextet, the work shows off the composer’s innate melodic gift.

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