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Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Nationalist Era > Symphony No. 5, in E Minor. Op. 64 (Tchaikovsky)


Symphony No. 5, in E Minor. Op. 64

Pytor Il'yich Tchaikovsky
(1840-93)



1. Andante. Allegro con anima.
2. Andante cantabile.
3. Valse.
4. Finale.

The Fifth Symphony was written in 1887, and reflects one of the sad moods of the composer. The introduction is based upon an exceedingly sombre theme which is prominent through most of the work. It leads to an Allegro which is more animated in character and is based upon two subjects, one of them melancholy in color but the other bright and vigorous. After their development, however, the sombre theme of the introduction reappears, finally dying away in the bassoons.

The second movement is in the form of a romance, the melody being given out by solo horn, then passing to cello and afterwards to the strings. The theme is one of exceptional beauty and is followed by new themes for oboe and clarinet, the development of which is serious in character leading to a tremendous climax, the whole orchestra joining in the opening theme. The second part of the movement is based upon the same themes and works up to a similar climax, the theme returning fitfully, the movement closing with a Coda based upon the second theme.





In place of the conventional Scherzo the composer has given us a very graceful and poetical waltz based upon two themes, its flow being interrupted occasionally by the reentrance of the principal theme of the first movement.

The Finale has a long introduction in which the principal theme is heard again. After being worked up a grand crescendo it disappears. After an impetuous subsidiary theme is developed the second theme is given out, first in the windwinds and then in the violins. From this point to the close these two themes are treated, but the ominous theme of the introduction is continually prominent. The situation clears up at last, however, and the symphony ends with a vigorous climax.





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