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On This Day… October 16

In my most recent WA Youth Orchestra concert, we performed the piece that we look at today. Our conductor talked about the special moments that we could have in our musical careers, and the Last movement of this symphony was one of them. Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique, Symphony Number 6, premiered on this day in 1893.

The title of this symphony in its original Russian translates roughly to “passionate” or “emotional” as opposed to “arousing pity.” The name is thought to have come from Tchaikovsky’s brother, Modest, however there are conflicting accounts as to whether Tchaikovsky liked the title.

The symphony is in a standard four movement form, with the first movement in a modified Sonata-Allegro form, a 5/4 limping waltz, a scherzo, whose brilliant finish brings many to think it’s the finale of the symphony, and a final movement which returns to the dark brooding tone of the first movement.

For your listening pleasure today, we have Karajan conducting the Vienna Philharmonic. Hope you enjoy.

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