Symphony No. 6
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Tchaikovsky's last symphony, called the Pathetique, was first performed in St. Petersburg under Tchaikovsky's direction on 16th October (28th October on the Western calendar), 1893. The programme of the work, which had been sketched earlier in the year and orchestrated during the summer, was autobiographical. He had jotted down a rough plan in 1892. The whole essence of the plan of the symphony is Life. First movement- all impulsive, confidence, thirst for activity. Must be short. (Finale – Death - result of collapse). Second movement love; third disappointments; fourth ends dying away (also short). In the succeeding final movement there is a stark confrontation with death, as the music, entrusted as at the beginning to the darker toned lower instruments of the orchestra, fades to nothing. Tchaikovsky conducted his sixth and final symphony in St. Petersburg nine days before his death. The symphonic fantasia Francesca da Rimini was written in 1876 and given its first performance in Moscow early the following year.