A journey through self-discovery, Anna Karenina takes the listener through the life of Tolstoy's muse and her disputes with both family and her own consciousness. Lyrical melodies and folk rhythms provide the barre as Karenina dances her way through this drama. In Tolstoy's own words: "Happy families are all alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
"Happy families are all alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." And so Anna Karenina came to see her family in Tolstoy's timeless 1875 novel. Tolstoy examines Anna's relationships with her family members, an extra-marital affair she has with her brother's acquaintance, Vronsky, and her families' activities after she commits suicide by jumping in front of a train, all of which are based on the real life of muse Maria Hartung (1832-1919), the elder daughter of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin.
The ominous chords in the beginning of the composition reflect the emotional onset following the novel's tragic opening events in which Anna witnesses a civilian commit suicide by jumping in front of a train. This event proceeds to develop into an evil omen throughout the novel. The lyrical B minor melody illustrates the emergence of self-discovery as Mrs. Karenina begins to see life through a different perspective while outside of her unsatisfying arranged marriage. The instability and confusion Anna experiences during her affair are then portrayed, featuring the constant disputes between Anna, her husband, Karenin, and her lover, Vronsky. The composition also exposes the death of Anna and the mourning that followed, and ends on an emotionally elevated notion when Levin, Anna's brother's childhood friend, develops a faith in the Christian God within the joys and fears of fatherhood.
- Jacob Frasier
Grade Level: 4
Number of Players: 4
Listen to Recordings