Tone Poem Tuesday

Let’s get right into 2024 with something familiar, and yet…not!

Rodion Shchedrin is a Soviet/Russian composer, born in 1932. He is still alive as of this writing, and he has apparently been a very productive and prolific composer over his lifetime. The work on tap today is a ballet he composed for his ballerina wife, Maya Plisetskaya, who died in 2015. The ballet is actually a re-imagining of Carmen, using melodies from the Bizet opera–but Shchedrin had put his own enormously creative stamp on these melodies that nearly everybody has heard, as he composes for string orchestra and percussion. It’s a fascinating listen, bringing something new and fresh to material that sometimes fails to be either of those things, so familiar has it all become.

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