1888 – Tchaikovsky


1888 Peter Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5
Instrumentation Strings, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani
Movements I: Andante – Allegro con anima (e) II: Andante cantabile (e) III: Valse: Allegro moderato (A) IV: Andante maestoso (E)
Overview This symphony with its soaring tunes and heart-on-sleeve emotion is the epitome of the late Romantic Symphony – Tchaikovsky’s reportedly anguished personal life completes the common Romantic idea of the suffering artist producing great works (like Beethoven). The symphony follows an E minor to E major path from tragedy to blazing triumph and makes an interesting comparison with Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony that ends not in triumph but despair.
D) 3rd mov. / Minuet Tchaikovsky replaces the Minuet/Scherzo movement with a Waltz, part of a picture of more varied dance styles in Romantic third movements. It is also worth noting how the orchestral textures are incredibly varied. A good example is the tricky Bassoon solo at letter D (see score)