Tchaikovsky's Pathétique, Symphony No. 6 in B minor, 4th Mvt. - a great new interpretation!<< Previous classical music pieceNext classical music piece >>
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The Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, Pathétique is Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's final completed symphony, written between February and the end of August 1893. The composer led the first performance in Saint Petersburg on 28 October of that year, nine days before his death. The second performance, conducted by Eduard Nápravník, took place 21 days later, at a memorial concert on 6/18 November. It included some minor corrections that Tchaikovsky had made after the premiere, and was thus the first performance of the work in the exact form in which it is known today. The first performance in Moscow was on 16 December , conducted by Vasily Safonov. It was the last of Tchaikovsky's compositions premiered in his lifetime; his last composition of all, the single-movement 3rd Piano Concerto, Op. 75, which was completed in October 1893, a short time before his death, received a posthumous premiere.
The Russian title of the symphony, Патетическая (Patetičeskaja), means "passionate" or "emotional", not "arousing pity", but it is a word reflective of a touch of concurrent suffering. Tchaikovsky considered calling it Программная (Programmnaja or "Programme Symphony") but realised that would encourage curiosity about the programme, which he did not want to reveal. According to his brother Modest, he suggested the Патетическая title, which was used in early editions of the symphony; there are conflicting accounts about whether Tchaikovsky liked the title, but in any event his publisher chose to keep it and the title remained. Its French translation Pathétique is generally used in French, Spanish, English, German and other languages. It was published in reduction by Jurgenson of Moscow in 1893, and by Robert Forberg of Leipzig in 1894.
The symphony is scored for 3 flutes (3rd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, bass drum, cymbals, tam-tam (ad libitum) and strings.
A bass clarinet is sometimes used to play the bassoon solo marked pppppp in the first movement, to achieve the desired dynamic level (e.g. a recording by the Hungarian conductor Ferenc Fricsay). In a recording of this work with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, a recording engineer failed to hear the string opening of the symphony because Fricsay had them play almost inaudibly. The engineer missed the first five bars completely but the performance (which earned the conductor a 10 minute standing ovation) was eventually broadcast on the anniversary of Tchaikovsky's death in 1993 by BBC Radio 3 and later released on the Naxos label.
The symphony contains four movements
Adagio -- Allegro non troppo (B minor -- D major -- ambiguous key -- B major)
Allegro con grazia (D major -- B minor -- D major- D minor- F-sharp major- B-flat major- D major)
Presto: Allegro molto vivace (G major -- E major -- G major)
Finale: Adagio lamentoso -- Andante (B minor -- D major -- B minor- B major)
In popular culture
The second theme of the first movement formed the basis of a popular song in the 1940s, "(This is) The Story of a Starry Night" (by Mann Curtis, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston) which was popularized by Glenn Miller. This same theme is the music behind "Where," a 1959 hit for Tony Williams and the Platters as well as "In Time," by Steve Lawrence in 1961, and John O'Dreams by Bill Caddick. All four songs have completely different lyrics.
Excerpts from Tchaikovsky's Sixth can heard in a number of films, including Now, Voyager, the 1997 version of Anna Karenina, The Ruling Class, Minority Report, Sweet Bird of Youth, Soylent Green and The Aviator. It has also accompanied the cartoon The Ren & Stimpy Show.
Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony has also been featured during the 2010 Winter Olympics closing ceremony, being danced by Russia's national ballet company.
Tchaikovsky's Sixth plays a major role in E. M. Forster's novel Maurice, where it serves as a veiled reference to homosexuality.
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Music License: Public Domain
Music Source: http://blog.musopen.org/post/29482882056/done-and-done-musopen-kickstarter-project
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