My first time live with Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony was back in 2010, when the French conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier beautifully conducted the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra at Sala Sao Paulo, in Brazil. It was not when I first heard this masterpiece, but it was certainly that one time when I seriously connected to it in a very deep way. I was lucky enough that a CD recording was made at that very session, enabling me to revive that magical event every now and then.
Tchaikovsky considered naming his 6th Symphony “Program Symphony”, but eventually gave up this idea since he was not willing to share his motivations, what the program was all about. To me, it is enough food for thought to keep on considering its program annotation that reads “the ultimate essence of the symphony is Life”.
Oh life… all about passion, confidence and willingness to go up and beyond. Love and disappointments along the way. And then, eventually, death. In his very words, Tchaikovsky’s soul can be met at the heart of this masterpiece. And it is a soul plenty of passion, fury, melancolia and, at times, serenity.
Always provocative, its execution is coming up this week in London at SouthBank Centre, with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by the Russian Tugan Sokhiev. Not to be missed!