A Few Words About Chekhov

 

Dominic Argento’s song cycle A Few Words About Chekhov was first performed in 1996 after a commission from The Schubert Club of St Paul set the composer on a path exploring the turbulent and short marriage of Anton Chekhov and Olga Knipper. 

The pair met during rehearsals for the Moscow Art Theatre’s rehearsals of Chekhov’s ‘The Seagull’ where Olga played Arkadina and Chekhov, assisting the actors, was immediately arrested by her. This programme draws us into that moment of their first meeting before exploring Argento’s settings of their letters and Olga’s reminiscences alongside the music of Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky, contemporaries and close friends of the pair, before ending with Chekhov’s poignant death only six years later.