History of the Vienna Symphony


  • Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 ‘Pathétique’

Performed by the Wiener Symphoniker, Philippe Jordan conducting.

The Vienna Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1900; today it is know by its German name, Wiener Symphoniker.

On October 25, 1893 Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky died, and Russia arranged for a lavish state funeral. Ultimately the idea of using Tchaikovsky’s Symphony in B-Minor as a requiem for the composer began to circulate, and a tradition was born for its memorial performance. On December 14, 2013 a recording session took place in the Golden Hall of the Vienna Society of the Friends of Music, and it also marked the dawn of a new era for the Wiener Symphoniker orchestra.

The history of this traditional Viennese orchestra is filled with 282 celebrated performances of P. I. Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique symphony. And now the orchestra’s new chief conductor Philippe Jordan will lead this group in this highly significant work.

The Times wrote on the 30th of August 2014: “this account of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony is often beautifully played, especially by the strings, and texturally very clearly defined. Not all will be convinced by the indulgent variations in tempo, but Jordan mostly avoids sentimentality, especially in a well-paced finale.”

Here is the opening of the Tchaikovsky Symphony No 6 B minor, “Pathétique”, with Geog Solti conducting the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra:  


And next, here is the “Finale” from the Tchaikovsky Symphony No 6 in B minor Op 74 ‘Pathetique’ as conducted by Seiji Ozawa in Vienna: