Memories from long ago

• Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 5

When my family and I came to the US in 1951, I was 14. And one of the wonderful things that my Mom (Z/L) did for me is that she made it possible for me to join my very first orchestra.

I had been playing the violin for 7 years by then, and the orchestra was made up of experienced players, doctors, and other professional people who came together to make music. I recall that the group’s conductor was a former first Oboe player under Arturo Toscanini.

To this day, I remember every composition that we rehearsed and ultimately performed. And the Symphony #5 of Tchaikovsky was one of the pieces. That’s the major composition on this CD.


  • Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64
  • Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32

Performed by the Simón Bolívar Orchestra of Venezuela, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel

I love this music because of its huge excursions in emotion. We get quiet beauty in the Andante Cantabile movement. And we get huge excitement and emotional outbursts in the other movements. All of this represents, in a way, the turbulent life of the composer.

Here is what I read in the press:

The Telegraph, 18th February 2009:

“The playing packs a passionate punch, the aching pangs of the first movement delivered with palpable anguish, the outbursts charged with hot-blooded fury. Dudamel’s pacing of the andante slow movement might tax any solo horn-player’s reservoir of breath, but the youngster allotted the part here takes it mellifluously in his stride.”

And one more:

“A sinewy, uninhibited Tchaikovsky Fifth – you’d expect nothing less from this source. Dudamel and his young players feed on one another; the exchange of energy is extraordinary. As for the finale… the allegro vivace comes off the starting-blocks at such a blistering pace as to register a nanosecond of disbelief that such a tempo is even possible…”

The movement titles are as follows:

  • Tchaikovsky: Symphony #5 In E Minor, Op. 64 – 1. Andante, Allegro Con Anima
  • Tchaikovsky: Symphony #5 In E Minor, Op. 64 – 2. Andante Cantabile, Con Alcuna Licenza
  • Tchaikovsky: Symphony #5 In E Minor, Op. 64 – 3. Valse
  • Tchaikovsky: Symphony #5 In E Minor, Op. 64 – 4. Finale: Andante Maestoso, Allegro Vivo
  • Tchaikovsky: Francesca Da Rimini, Op. 32

Here is Dudamel, leading the Tchaikovsky Symphony No.5; 4th Movement:


Feel free to add your comments at the bottom of this Post

Tags: Gustavo Dudamel, Tchaikovsky, Symphony #5, Bolivar orchestra

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *