The instruments of the orchestra fall into four major families: strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion. See a picture of the instruments used in Tchaikovsky’s orchestra; hear the sound of that instrument and see the members of the orchestra talking about their own experiences in music.
The Finale is a culmination of the emotional scenarios in the three preceding movements. An individual has felt isolation in a crowd, but can still find gratification from the people around him. The dynamic between loneliness and fulfillment is both a universal human condition and a reflection of the deepest conflict in Tchaikovsky’s own life.
Tchaikovsky’s description of the Third movement underscores his abilities as a scene painter, even in a work that has no specific plot. It is in these moments that his imagination is most playful, witty, and free.
Tchaikovsky describes the Second movement as a series of bittersweet emotions evoked by reflecting on the past. He tells of being overtaken by childhood memories that bring feelings of intimate familiarity and yet, at the same time, irretrievable distance.
Tchaikovsky wrote of the opening of the Fourth Symphony: “The Introduction is the kernel of the whole symphony, unquestionably its main idea: this is Fate, the force of destiny, which ever prevents our pursuit of happiness from reaching its goal, which jealously stands watch lest our peace and well-being be full and cloudless.”
Experience this masterpiece in Tchaikovsky’s own words. Learn about the events and influences that defined his character, his career, and his genius. See and hear the instruments of the orchestra that Tchaikovsky used in his music.
How can marks on a 150-year-old page transform into the unflinching emotion of Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony? From decoding the score, to uncovering Tchaikovsky’s hidden history, through rehearsals, tuning, and the big bang of opening night, Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) gives us a backstage pass to the making of a performance.