Tchaikovsky: Neapolitan Song Op 39 No 18
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Like so many other Northern European composers, Tchaikovsky was fascinated by Italy: by the light, the warmth and the popular culture in particular. After his doomed attempt at marriage, he ran away with his brother Modest, and in the spring of 1878 arrived in Rome, where he wrote to his patron, Nadezhda von Meck: ‘Just imagine, after all the horrors of Parisian winter, I am now under a clear blue sky where sun is shining in all its magnificence... I go out wearing nothing but a suit... I have an impression that a magical shift is finally happening to me.’