Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Is there a Tchaikovsky Seventh Symphony?




As we enter the final week of our Tchaikovsky festival, we ask the question: is there another Tchaikovsky symphony that comes after the Pathétique? The answer to this is both yes and no.

The site http://www.tchaikovsky-research.net/ provides a one-stop shop when it comes to all things Tchaikovsky. When we look at the symphony page of this site, we discover that Tchaikovsky is credited with two more symphonies.

He worked on a Symphony in B-flat major (around the time of The Tempest), which the first theme was later reworked for piano in the Capriccioso—No. 5 from the Six Pieces, Op. 19.

A second, more substantial Symphony in E-flat dates May–November 1892 and was abandoned with only part of the first movement orchestrated. This makes it a work that precedes the Pathétique. In 1893 Tchaikovsky reworked movements I, II and IV for piano and orchestra as the Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 75 and the Andante & Finale, Op. 79; the Scherzo was arranged for solo piano as Scherzo-Fantasie—No. 10 of the Eighteen Pieces, Op. 72In the 1950s the symphony was reconstructed from the manuscript sources and completed by Semen Bogatyrev (1890-1960) and is sometimes wrongly listed as "Symphony No. 7".

More about the history and reconstruction is provided at http://www.tchaikovsky-research.net/en/Works/Unfinished/TH238/index.html 

I found a recording of the symphony on YouTube, and posted it on the ITYWLTMT YouTube Channel. The link to the YouTube playlist is: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?p=PL224D83D97100993B 



The recording (re-issued on CD with the "Rococo variations") is by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

You decide if it is a worthy addition to the Tchaikovsky catalogue.

More on May 27, with the final installment of the Mravinsky cycle.




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