Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations

Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations
Composer Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Artist István Várdai cello
Tibor Bogányi conductor
Pannon Philharmonic
Format 1 CD
Cat. number 94876
EAN code 5028421948768
Release December 2014

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About this release

An ardent admirer of Mozart, Tchaikovsky’s splendid Variations on a Rococo Theme are full of subtle homages to the Classical composer. The theme itself, however, is an original invention by Tchaikovsky himself rather than an excerpt from the past. Composed for German cellist Wilhelm Fitzenhagen, the piece was not performed in its original form for many years after its initial composition, as Fitzenhagen had insisted on making changes to the structure and virtuosic cadenzas for its first performance, against Tchaikovsky’s wishes. Both versions are included on this release, allowing the listener to fully appreciate the struggle between Tchaikovsky’s Classical vision and Fitzenhagen’s desire for the cello to shine. The composer’s love for Mozart also comes to the fore in the Nocturne Op.19 No.4, one of six pieces initially composed for piano that showcases the lyrical melodies and clear structure Tchaikovsky strived to create. The folksonglike Andante cantabile was one of the composer’s most popular movements during his lifetime, and, as was common, was often performed separately from the rest of the quartet. Along with Tchaikovsky’s last piece for cello, the sprightly Pezzo capriccioso, this album exemplifies the composer’s innate understanding of the instrument and illustrates perfectly how he brings this understanding to life. Featured on this disc is Hungarian cellist István Várdai, whose precocious talents led him to debut in The Hague at the age of just 13. Since then he has enjoyed a busy career, regularly performing at prestigious venues all over the world and most recently winning the 63rd ARD International Music Competition in Munich. This release sees him joined by the Pannon Philharmonic, also hailing from his home country, with young Finnish conductor Tibor Bogányi (himself a cellist) at the helm, whose 2013 release of Nielsen and Heininen was described by Gramophone magazine as “exquisite”.  

Debut release on Brilliant Classics by István Várdai, recent First Prize winner of the prestigious ARD Competition 2014 in Munich, Germany!  Várdai, a young Hungarian of prodigious talents, performs the complete works for cello and orchestra by Tchaikovsky. A special feature are the two versions of the famous Rococo Variations, the original “classical” version and the concert version written for virtuoso Wilhelm Fitzenhagen. New recording, recorded in Pécs (Hungary) with the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Tibor Bogányi. With biographies of István Várdai, Tibor Bogányi and the Pannon Philharmonic.

Other information:

Recorded in 2014 at the Kodály Centre, Pécs, Hungary.

Notes on the composer and the pieces.

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Variations on a Rococo Theme, TH 57: Op. 33 in A Major
  2. Nocturnes No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 19: Andante sentimentale
  3. Pezzo capriccioso, TH 62, Op. 62 in B Minor: Andante con moto
  4. String Quartet, TH 111, Op. 11 in D Major: II. Andante cantabile
  5. Variations on a Rococo Theme, CW 59 : Op. 33 in A Majore