Tchaikovsky described his Sixth Symphony as ‘the best thing I ever composed or shall compose’. Just three weeks after he conducted the world première, the composer was dead, and debate has raged ever since about how events unfolded and the meaning of this monumental piece.
Certainly the most controversial of his works, with the Sixth, Tchaikovsky introduced a radically new concept of the symphonic journey and set the stage for a new century of bleak requiems, no longer following Beethoven’s model of ‘light over darkness’. The symphony is about death itself and its final image is of musical, emotional and physical collapse. Of all of Tchaikovsky’s works, this symphony spans both extremes of the emotional spectrum to the greatest extent.
Alongside the contributions by Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky, the programme also features Prokofiev’s First Violin Concerto, performed by one of the RNCM’s Concerto Competition winners, Erkki Louko.