On Air Now
The Classic FM Concert with John Suchet 8pm - 10pm
His Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Pathétique has one of the most sublime moments of music. Let's listen.
So we just our hands (and ears) on a very fancy pair of Technics EAH-T700 headphones...
Usually, when you get hold of a new piece of hi-spec audio kit, you reach for something truly loud and epic to put it through its paces. But not us.
For us, few things are more sublime than a pianissimo in Russian music, specifically the soft, sonorous singing used to sublime impact in Russian Orthodox church music.
Or there’s the final symphony from Tchaikovsky, which stands out as a simply incredible moment of near-silence. One of his final musical utterances, the sixth symphony has a mood of intense reflection and melancholic beauty. In it, he includes performance markings for the orchestra of a quietness unprecedented in music.
The marking ‘ppp’ was not quiet enough for him - instead, he used dynamics markings for strings and woodwind of pppp and ppppp In one incredible moment, Tchaikovsky gives a marking of pppppp in a solo line of the first bassoon. Music doesn’t get more magical than that.
Symphony orchestras are spectacular in full voice and volume, but so, so beautiful when they’re quiet. And they’re even more mesmerising when you’re wearing these EAH-T700s.
Take a listen and experience the moment yourself, with the score. The exquisite moment is 10 minutes into the first movement: