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Tchaikovsky: Songs

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: only the organs know…

While Tchaikovsky is better known as a composer of larger genres, he also composed many songs. “None but the Lonely Heart” is his best-known song outside of Russia. The common English title is taken from the first line of a singing translation, conceived to fit with the rhythm of the music. The original song text was a Russian translation of a German poem by Goethe. In German, this poem had been set to music by anyone who was anyone, including Schubert and Schumann. As a set, the opus six songs may have been inspired by Tchaikovsky’s romantic involvement with Russian diva Désirée Artôt. While Tchaikovsky’s later frustrations over his marriage are better-known, this serious, although ultimately unsuccessful relationship has made life difficult for later biographers who sought to pin down a sexually complicated individual.

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