Story of the Symphony, Vol. 5: Tchaikovsky (1984)

Genres - Music  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Instrumental Music, Music History  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |  
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This film is a fascinating study of the Russian composer Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), whose melodic and intensely emotional music continues to be some of the best-loved by popular audiences. Famous for his scores for ballet, including Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Sleeping Beauty, he also composed symphonies and concertos. Narrated by Andre Previn, the documentary examines both the professional and personal side of Tchaikovsky. The composer suffered from mood swings and depression, and he feared he was losing his musical genius at a time when he actually produced some of his greatest works. Unhappily married, and suicidal, he poured his emotionality into his music. His last work, Symphony No. 6, appropriately called the Pathétique, was written in his last year of life. He had recently returned to Russia from a tour in the United States. While in St. Peterburg for the symphony's first performance, he contracted cholera and died. Andre Previn and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra perform the Pathétique.

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Keywords

composer, Russian [nationality], symphony