Romeo and Maria

This morning I was driving to Redmond and rocking out to Tchaikovsky.  I was listening to the Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture, which you probably know from the incredibly famous love theme . 


There's a part near the very end of the twenty-minute piece  that caught my attention.    


Listen to the low strings in this clip.  


Sound familiar? 


There's a place for us


Is this a coincidence?  Or is Bernstein quoting Tchaikovsky?  West Side Story is itself inspired by Romeo and Juliet.   It seems equally plausible that the score from the musical also pays homage to its forbearers.


The placement of these segments within their pieces is very similar as well.  Musically, in the Overture, it's pretty clear that this part come after the lovers are dead (or at least Romeo).  In West Side Story, Somewhere is sung by the living Tony and Maria, but the theme reprised again in the Finale after Tony is shot. 


 I think this is intentional, but I can't find proof.   (While searching, I did find this cool NPR story, though.)  What do you think?


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