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Radio Series on Tchaikovsky

I am a writer who lives in South Africa. For years I have had an intense interest in Mozart, after I had published a novella based on an incident in his life. Last year I wrote a radio series of 13 episodes of 50 minutes each: Mozart - the Man and his Music which was broadcast on the main national Afrikaans radio service in my country.

A member of the public who had heard my Mozart series, asked me why I did not consider Tchaikovsky for my next project - and now as a result of this mere remark I have been involved for the past few months with a similar series on Tchaikovsky. I have bought all David Brown's important studies as well as those of Alexander Poznansky, Vladimir Volkoff's - self portrait , Modest Ilich's Life and letters of Tchaikovsky and many more books and articles.

I have also watched many documentaries and films, and I have listened to countless recordings of his compositions and recently acquired the Diamond Classic Colleciton - the Tchaikovsky Edition of 60 Cds which includes 8 complete operas. And even with my Mozart research I did not find as much information as on the wonderful Tchaikovsky Research page.

And after all this, I realize that I have only scratched the mere surface of what this great man and composer had left us.

When my 13 part radio series: Tchaikovsky - the Man and his Music starts in October I hope I can convey a bit of my knowledge and love of his music to South Africans who might merely know him as a composer of three ballets and of course the 1812.

This program of which I will also be the presenter is in the Afrikaans language.

Philip de Vos
Cape Town, South Africa
17/05/2013 11:42

Dear Vos!

can I know what will be the radio that will broadcast in October 2013, your program and the frequency?


Antonio Garganese
27/06/2013 15:39

Dear Mr Garganese

The Tchaikovsky series will be broadcast on the South African channel Radio Sonder Grense (Radio without Borders). One can listen to a direct broadcast, but there won't be any podcasts available because of music copyright. The series will start on Sunday 6th October for 13 Sundays and there is also a repeat later in the week. I will let you know nearer the time about the exact times and radio frequencies, but their website is and for direct listening one has to click on LUISTER NOU (Listen now)

Each program will be about 50 minutes long and even though it is in the Afrikaans language about 10 - 12 minutes will be speech and the rest will be Tchaikovsky's music which will include some rarities, and lesser known works.

Warm wishes from Cape Town.

Philip de Vos
29/06/2013 21:57

Dear Mr. de Vos!

thank you very much! I visited the link RSG, I also found the station in a system (RarmaRadio) on the Internet, which allows you to find a lot of radio in the world and also you to record!

Let me know the time of transmission or what they prefer (but on the site of RSG, also appears the program schedule).

I will listen very willingly (the time zone is similar to my).

Sincere wishes from Tuscany!

Antonio Garganese
30/06/2013 15:00

Mr. de Vos, Since very few people know the Afrikaans language this is a program that will be understood by only a few..furthermore since Tchaikovsky's music is so well known I dont think we will learn anything new from these programs...if all we have is just to listen to his music...unless you were to play the better lesser known works that havent been done to death....

Thank you,

Albert Gasparo
02/07/2013 12:21

Dear Mr Gasparo

I realize that my Tchaikovsky series will unfortunately be understood by only a few people, mostly Afrikaans speaking South Africans, but maybe also by those who understand Dutch, I do nevertheless feel honored that I can at least make a few people aware of Tchaikovsky as a person and also as an introduction to his music.

I know that many people regard his music as kitsch and chocolate box, mainly because of over exposure of his First Piano concerto, the 1812, Romeo and Juliet and of course the ballets. In fact some snobs reckon that Tchaikovsky has become too popular to be taken seriously.

I have attempted to give a balanced intoduction to Tchaikovsky as a person and have touched on his kindness, his idiosyncrasies, his depression, his love of nature, his homosexuality, his love of Russia, his humanity, etc, etc.

In the 13 episodes I give a general introduction and then go chronologically from birth to death.

I include music from every single period of his life - there are in fact about 170 separate music clips in the complete series, starting with his first composition, the Anastasie Waltz, and ending with his Pathetique Symphony and I have managed to collect clips from nearly every important work.

Music from the operas: Eugene Onegin, Queen of Spades, Mazeppa, the Oprichnick, The Maid of Orleans, Charodeika, Cherevichki and Iolanta, Here I even iclude the Insect and Flower chorus from the unfinished Mandragora and a duet from Undina which later became the famous pas de deux in Swan Lake.

Of his student compositions, I play examples from The Storm, his Overture in C minor, both versions of his Overture in F major and early compositions like his cantata Ode to Joy and his Overture on the Danish Anthem, etc, etc.

Of his later compostions I play examples from all the ballets, symphonies, chamber music, piano music, all three piano concertos, choral works and songs as well as incidental music to the Snow Maiden and Hamlet, etc.

Apart from Tchaikovsky’s music I also include a clip of his voice and sound bytes of an orchestrion – on which he heard Mozart’s Don Giovanni for the first time. Occasionally I would play other composer's music like for example an extract from a Rubinstein piano concerto, music from Giselle (his favourite ballet) and Carmen and even an extract from Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld – a work which he hated.

I hope these few examples give a small idea of music used in this series.

Nearer to October I will put a short English synopsis of each episode on this forum and also a list of music played in that specific episode - so even if one cannot understand the language, there is the music to listen to.

Philip de Vos
(Cape Town - South Africa)
03/07/2013 17:28

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This page was last updated on 05 November 2013