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Tonight's concert from the Academy of St. Cecilia, Rome, conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano, is devoted entirely to the music of Tchaikovsky.
The Academy of St. Cecilia has worked extensively with many Russian conductors and musicians - including Valery Gergiev, Mstislav Rostropovich and Yuri Temirkanov, who continues to return each season with the orchestra.
Tonight's exclusive concert from Rome is devoted entirely to Russia and the music of Tchaikovsky.
We’ll hear the composer’s exploration of fate in his 5th Symphony. It was composed between May and August 1888 and premiered on 17 November 1888, in Saint Petersburg, with the composer conducting the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Society. Audiences loved it but Tchaikovsky, as was his won't, decided the less-than-enthusiastic critics must be right and went so far as to explain away the audience’s enthusiasm, saying in one letter, “Having played my Symphony twice in Petersburg and once in Prague, I have come to the conclusion that it is a failure. There is something repellent in it, some over-exaggerated color, some insincerity of fabrication that the public instinctively recognizes. It was clear to me that the applause and ovations referred not to this but to other works of mine, and that the Symphony itself will never please the public.” He was wrong - the symphony has gone on to become one of the composer's most popular works.
The cellist Ha-Na Chang joins the orchestra for a performance of Tchaikovsky's beautiful Andante Cantabile.
The final work is Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.6, the 'Pathétique' - its Russian title meaning 'passionate' or 'emotional', not 'arousing pity' as one expects. After completing his fifth symphony in 1888, Tchaikovsky did not start thinking about another until April 1891, on his way to the United States. His first drafts failed to please him however and he tore up the manuscript. Two years later, he mentions an entirely new symphonic work in a letter to his brother, telling him: 'I believe it comes into being as the best of my works.' The premiere was met with great appreciation. But no one could have expected that the composer would be dead just nine days later.
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.5
Tchaikovsky: Andante Cantabile
Soloist: Ha-Na Chang
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.6 (‘Pathétique)