Fun Facts about Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique” Symphony 

For the timeless classics part of tonight’s season opening Orchestra Classics concert, the first back in their home Whitney Hall and with a live audience (vax checks, lower capacity), the Orchestra played Tchaikovsky’s final symphony, the “Pathetique” from French for “full of feelings” (or MOOD), not the English “pathetic”.

It was completed just before Tchaikovsky died of Cholera, though some thought it a suicide by Cholera which is real weird.

Fun Facts about Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique” Symphony 

The symphony starts and ends quite dark but has a joyful laughing (literally, the strings play a couple “laughs”) waltz and a bombastic march in the middle, so definitely a MOOD.

Fun Facts about Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique” Symphony 

“Pathetique” was dedicated to Tchaikovsky’s nephew “Bob” (a nickname for Vladimir, obv) and left as a “riddle” to audiences. *Some* modern interpretations are there were homoerotic undertones in their letters and that the symphony is a memoir of a lonely composer with a rough life and a brief gay incestuous love affair, and uh, wow that is weird MOOD.

Another reminder that “Classics” are so often wilder than we than we give them credit for.

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Fun Facts about Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique” Symphony 

Semi-Related Aside: It was my first Orchestra Concert at Whitney Hall since Carmina Burana, the work best known for the big ominous “O Fortuna” (“Yo Luck!”) you often hear sampled at sports games. The story of that symphony was a horny German monk decided to add music to one of the horny monk’s most favorite softcore porn poems. Classic!

Fun Facts about Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique” Symphony 

Anyway, “Pathetique” was an interesting Classics MOOD to welcome audiences back with. The “theme” of the evening was “A Concert for Unity” and the thoughts were toward trying to come back together after the year and a half we’ve all had. It’s a lot. It’s a MOOD.

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