Tchaikovsky’s Lyricism


  • Symphonies Nos. 1-3

My personal favorite among the six Tchaikovsky symphonies is the symphony #5. And the reason is likely because I was a member of an orchestra that performed it, and in the rehearsals and preparation I got to love this music so much. The lyrical aspects of this symphony and the expression of sadness and tragedy are incredible.

Still, there’s a lot to learn about the composer’s life and maturity process form listening to these three earlier works:


  • Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op. 13 ‘Winter Daydreams’
  • Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17 ‘Little Russian’
  • Symphony No. 3 in D major, Op. 29 ‘Polish’

Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev.

Tchaikovsky’s early symphonies are also full of the rich expressive melodies, and we hear the influence of Russian folk tunes, particularly in the ‘Little Russian’ symphony number 2.

Here are some quotes from the British press:

Sunday Times, 16th September 2012:

“…what lovely and characteristic things are to be found in them, how full of Tchaikovskian panache, melodic richness and rhythmic vitality they are, and how brightly they shine in these vivid performances”

The Guardian, 6th September 2012:

“Gergiev can transform works that often seem problematic into something compelling and totally coherent. In this set, he does exactly that with the Third…which he not only reveals as a totally convincing reworking of traditional symphonic form…but links it dramatically with Tchaikovsky’s operas… both [the First & Second] are full of wonderful touches, of sharply etched detail, vivid colours and tremendous focused energy.”

Here is the Tchaikovsky Symphony No 2 C minor. ‘Little Russian’, with Gergiev, and the Mariinsky orchestra:


And next, here is Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3 in D major, op. 29


Tags: Tchaikovsky, Valery Gergiev, symphonies 1-3

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