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Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6

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Tchaikovsky described putting his entire soul into his Sixth and final symphony, the ‘Pathétique’.

When it was premiered, the reception at first appeared mixed. But in writing about it afterwards, Tchaikovsky explained: ‘Something has happened in the case of this symphony! It’s not that they dislike it, but the public doesn’t know how to approach it. As far as I’m concerned, I am more proud of it than of all my other compositions.’

It took Tchaikovsky just twelve days to draft the work and it has been shrouded in mystery ever since. The composer once said: ‘I am bewildered by the fact that my last symphony … is steeped in a mood that is tantamount to a requiem.’ He himself couldn’t explain the dark moods it takes the listener through. What is certain, though, is that the work has a place among the greatest symphonies of the late nineteenth century.

Here, the monumental first movement is performed by Philippe Jordan and the Wiener Symphoniker on the orchestra’s own label.

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