Souvenir d’un Lieu Cher (Memories of a Dear Place) is a collection of three pieces for violin and piano. The first – Méditation – was written in Clarens in Switzerland in March 1878.
Tchaikovsky originally intended it to be the slow movement of his violin concerto, but later replaced it with the more substantial Canzonetta and recast it for violin and piano.
The other two movements were composed in May of the same year on the estate of his benefactress, Nadeja von Meck at Brailovo in Ukraine which is the “dear place” of the title. It was published in in May 1879. The work is very characteristic of Tchaikovsky’s style. It is built on beautiful melodies, with a Russian folk inflection, and contains a variety of contrasting sections.
The outer movements are written in a gentle lyrical style, whereas the scherzo is fast and furious creating a mood of stormy anger. The trio section is based on a simple melody with a tinge of sadness about it.
The solo part exemplifies Tchaikovsky’s mastery of violin writing, using as it does a wide range of timbres and effects.