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Romeo and Juliet

Overture - Fantasy

Peter Tchaikovsky/arr. Mark H. Hindsley

Romeo and Juliet is transcribed from Tchaikovsky’s overture-fantasy for orchestra that was inspired by Shakespeare’s play.

Romeo and Juliet, written early in Shakespeare’s career, is a tragic tale of two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families.

During the winter of 1868–69, Tchaikovsky was struggling to make a living by teaching and arranging when he fell madly in love with an opera singer. Soon after, she married someone else. When Tchaikovsky’s mentor suggested a composition based on Shakespeare’s tragedy he set to work with an aching memory of lost love. The strong delineation and at times Shakespearean fire of this piece testify to a rich emotional experience.

Peter Tchaikovsky (1840–1893) began his adult life as a law clerk in the Russian government. Disillusioned by an “unjust promotion” over his head, he entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music. His compositions reflect the emotional extremes of his complicated life. He is beloved for his many ballets, symphonic poems, symphonies, operas, songs, piano music, and chamber works.