National Orchestra of Wales
Leader, Albert Voorsanger
Conducted by Reginald Redman
The tuneful gaiety and homely sentiment of this piece make it a constant favourite.
It will be remembered that it embodies tunes from the Opera-the Children's Prayer at the opening (on the Horns); the Witch's Magic (Trumpets); the Song of the Sandman who puts children to sleep; and so forth.
Tchaikovsky said of this Symphony:
'I love it as I have never loved one of my musical offspring before'. He did not live to witness its abounding success: a fortnight after its first performance he was dead. The separate Movements of the Symphony are as follows:-
First Movement. (Slow Introduction. Then fairly quick-Rather slow-Quick and lively -Rather slow). That is to say, this is a Movement with many changes of speed. With the 'fairly Quick' section the Movement proper opens. It is made out of two chief tunes, one agitated and broken in character, and the other gracious and flowing.
Second Movement. (Quickly, but gracefully).
This is the favourite Movement, with five beats to a bar, instead of the two, three, four, or six usual at the time this work was written. (Considered in another way, it consists of alternate bars of two and three beats).
The Third Movement is a Scherzo. Throughout most of this Movement Strings and Wood-wind maintain a delicate swift flight of notes. But there is an unmistakably military, even heroic feeling in tho March-tune which very soon appears and swells over the whole Orchestra.
In the Fourth Movement (Slow and lamenting, then somewhat quicker) the moods pass through pathos and pity to final despair-a sadly appropriate ending to the composer's last Symphony.
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