Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36

This list discusses the Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36 by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893). Composed between 1877 and 1878, it had its premiere in Moscow on the 22nd of February, 1878. Eschewing the normal symphonic structure (which he considered limiting in his first three symphonies), Tchaikovsky now, starting with the fourth, preferred a cross between symphony and symphonic poem. In a letter to his patron Nadezhda von Meck, he stated that, while composing the work, he used only a “general outline to the usual traditional forms,” allowing him the freedom to compose more from the heart than the brain. Tchaikovsky composed the work during a particularly rough time in his life. Considered today to have been a homosexual, he wed in July 1877 to a woman he barely knew and who had, according to Tchaikovsky’s brother, threatened suicide if the composer did not comply. Tchaikovsky may have also taken advantage of the situation in an attempt to stave off rumors about his sexual orientation or, as some have alluded, as an attempt at a “cure.” The marriage dissolved after only two months with Tchaikovsky suffering a nervous breakdown. The symphony is a masterpiece of melancholy and resignation. It starts with a declaration of the composer’s 'Fate' motif, a bleak outlook on life that he explained as “the fatal power which prevents one from attaining the goal of happiness.” The middle movements seem almost out of place and are, perhaps, what led a former pupil of the composer’s to write that they seemed “attached to justify it being called a symphony.” The final movement is an extension of the first, with an introduction of a Russian folksong and the return of the 'Fate' motif and, then, ending brightly with what could be considered a feverish desire for that unattainable happiness, bringing full circle Tchaikovsky’s ambivalent feelings about the future.
I. Andante sostenuto - Moderato con animaSymphony No. 4
18:25
II. Andantino in modo di canzonaSymphony No. 4
09:59
III. Scherzo, Pizzacato ostinato - AllegroSymphony No. 4
06:05
IV. Finale: Allegro con fuocoSymphony No. 4
08:06
I. Andante sostenuto - Moderato con animaSymphony No. 4
19:12
II. Andantino in modo di canzonaSymphony No. 4
10:11
III. Scherzo: AllegroSymphony No. 4
05:30
IV. Finale: Allegro con fuocoSymphony No. 4
09:47
I. Andante sostenuto - Moderato con animaSymphony No. 4
19:13
II. Andantino in modo di canzoneSymphony No. 4
09:41
III. Scherzo: Pizzicato ostinato. Allegro - Meno mosso - Tempo ISymphony No. 4
05:34
IV. Finale. Allegro con motoSymphony No. 4
08:29
Symphony No. 4 in F minor Op. 36: I. Andante sostenuto_Moderato con animaSymphony No. 4
19:04
Symphony No. 4 in F minor Op. 36: II. Andantino in modo di canzoneSymphony No. 4
10:15
Symphony No. 4 in F minor Op. 36: III. Scherzo: Pizzicato ostinato, allegroSymphony No. 4
05:38
Symphony No. 4 in F minor Op. 36: IV. Allegro con fuocoSymphony No. 4
08:50
I. Andante Sostenuto-Moderato con anima-Moderato assai, quasi Andante-Allegro vivoSymphony No. 4
23:19
III. Scherzo: Pizzicato ostinato-AllegroSymphony No. 4
07:12
IV. Finale: Allegro con fuocoSymphony No. 4
10:38
I. Andante sostenuto-Moderato con animaSymphony No. 4
18:50
II. Andantino in modo di canzoneSymphony No. 4
10:02
III. Scherzo: Pizzicato ostinato, allegroSymphony No. 4
05:24
IV. Allegro con fuocoSymphony No. 4
08:28
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