A Picture Worth a Thousand Words - by Rolf A. F. Witzsche


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893)
Symphony No. 6 in B minor, 'Pathetique'

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky by Nikolay Kuznetsov, 1893



Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 - 1st movement

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 - 2nd movement

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 - 3rd movement

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 - 4th movement

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The general plan of Tchaikovsky's symphonies include a very 'pessimistic' first movement, a sad, peaceful second, and allegro movement (often in dance form) and a fourth movement full of vigor.  His 6th symphony, the Pathetique, however, is an exception.  The themes are broad, decorative, and striking, and the orchestration is rich - but without any attempt at spectacular effects.  The last movement is slow and mournful, and recent research reveals the reason.  The Pathetique was only partly finished when news spread of a homosexual 'encounter' Tchaikovsky had with a fellow student.  He was tried by an illegal court and condemned to die by his own hand.  The composer finished the symphony as a farewell to life.  (comment)

His life was stolen from him. In this he shares the fate of mankind.

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