Thursday, November 24, 2011

Boston Symphony: Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5



The Boston Symphony Orchestra performs Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, opus 64, under the majestic and energetic baton of Leonard Bernstein, at Tanglewood, the symphony's summer home in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, in 1974. This is the full symphony, running at more than 50 minutes. If you want to view only the triumphant finale from the same concert, you can view it here. It's more than wonderful, it's pure inspiration.

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Pyotr Tchaikovsky completed the four-movement symphony in August 1888; it was first performed in St Petersburg, Russia, at the Hall of Nobility on November 6, 1888. Tchaikovsky was the conductor. It is dedicated to Theodore Avé-Lallemant, a German musician and music teacher. The symphony follows a trajectory, common to many who have successfully overcome adversity, of tragedy to triumph. The composition was played during the Second World War, on October 20, 1941, during the beginning of the Siege of Leningrad (today's Saint-Petersburg), a dark and difficult period that lasted 900 days.