Fri, Feb 08
Three distinctive, intense musical voices –German, French, and Russian—epitomize the extraordinary richness of the 19th century romantic era. Wagner’s medieval hero achieving redemption through love, and Berlioz’s obsession with the Shakespearean actress that he would later marry, provide the set-up for the ultimate romantic, Tchaikovsky. He (or his brother) dubbed his final symphony the “Pathétique,” which translated from the Russian means passionate. Declaring he put his “whole soul into this work,” Tchaikovsky pulled out all the emotional stops to produce great depths of emotion. Was the decision to end his last completed work in tragic despair done in the knowledge that he was to die only 9 days after the first performance? We will never know, but we do know that we cannot be without Tchaikovsky’s aching melodies and wrenching harmonies.