Okay so, first of all, don’t let all the rambling words in the above title put you off. What you need to know simply is that I am recommending the second movement of Kalinnikov’s first symphony. The G Minor and the Andante Commodamente are the kinds of extra information that people who have an understanding of music theory like to say. It sounds more pretentious and that is the attraction of it all. But it must not put you off.
Especially when it comes to a piece of music like this which is so staggeringly beautiful and really is an underrated gem by a composer who is so completely overlooked by most that it should be illegal!
Vasily Kalinnikov as you can tell was Russian and was a contemporary of Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky. He died in 1901 just before his 35th birthday of tuberculosis having failed to get the notoriety and recognition that his contemporaries did, though both men tried to help his cause and helped him get publishing contracts for his work, and Tchaikovsky helped him get two theatre posts, however his sickness worsened and he had to resign.
He wrote this piece in the mid to late 90s in Yalta where he was convalescing from his illness and it was premiered in Kiev. This and the third movement went down so well with the crowd that they demanded repeat performances of both movements during the concert and when you listen you will see why. It is romantic music done in a way that only the Russians seem to know how to do best.
Kalinnikov never had it easy, poverty blighted his life and made his sickness somewhat inevitable. But it shouldn’t be inevitable that someone who wrote music like this should be overlooked and forgot. So I really urge you to click on the link below and listen not only to this recommendation and my first one too. You seriously will be glad that you did.