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This charming violin work owes its generation to the unique relationship between Tchaikovsky and his wealthy patroness, Nadezha von Meck. Effectively freeing the composer from any financial burden in life, this patronage carried with it the unusual "rider" that the two parties were never to meet. This stipulation did not, however, prevent Tchaikovsky from enjoying the amenities of Mme. von Meck's lovely Ukrainian estate when the mistress herself was away; during just such a stay in the spring of 1878 Tchaikovsky found the quiet grounds and comfortable home so much to his liking that he immediately set about commemorating the vacation by putting together the Souvenir d'un lieu cher, Op.42 for violin and piano. The dedication of this three-movement musical truffle, the musical cousin of the Violin Concerto the composer had completed just one month earlier, is in fact made not to Mme. von Meck, but instead to the estate itself: Bra?lov.
Perhaps the strongest piece of the set of three pieces, and certainly the only one to have achieved any real fame of its own, is the "Melodie" in E flat major that concludes the group. It has a gorgeous violin melody that moves along in arch-shaped eighth note groupings, sometimes lovingly imitated by the piano, to which a very brief central portion in grazioso scherzando sixteenths provides some contrast. The little codetta at the end is as tender as music can be.
This piece is arranged for standard string quartet with an optional bass part.
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