Tchaikovsky's evocative miniatures - The Seasons - are far more significant than their naive simplicity and picturesque titles might suggest. Paired with the avant grade works of Lourie, Roslavets and Volkonsky are they a comforting bridge into an 'old' Russia of their imagination: a place untouched by social inequality or unrest that would lead to the turmoil and horrors of civil war or revolution. Or, are Tchaikovsky'ssketches a prophetic vision of change: a 'new' Russia of many seasons to come?
The legendary Russian pianist and pedagogue Heinrich Neuhaus was rather fond of word games. His term 'autopsychography' captures the Romantic idea of subjectivity: that a piece of music is suffused with the soul. It is an art that glorifies the narration of the complex inner emotional and psychological world of the self - the ultimate sublimation of the ego. A composer leaves this trace in his works. A performer, willingly or not, reveals their self-portrait every time they touch their instrument.
In terms of synonyms, beauty and art can seem a perfect match. Defining beauty we often hear that it is in the 'eye of the beholder.' Fierce debates throughout history have raged over what is or isn't beautiful and the moral aspects of indulging in the pleasure of losing oneself in beauty. The great French poet of the modernite Baudelaire had a wonderful concept that beauty lies in the everyday, the living moment: only boredom was ugly - the allure of beauty is its 'strangeness.'