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Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony

YouTube - Glenn Gould plays Grieg piano sonata in e minor Op 7 IV. Finale: Molto allegro 

In the correspondence of Sept 1, 2008 a question was raised about the origin of the major theme of the first movement of Tchaikovsky's Fifth symphony....well in David Brown's biography on Tchaikovsky, Volume Four 1991 page 149 footnote he states:

"In view of Tchaikovsky's first intention of making Grieg the dedicatee, (of the Fifth Symphony), it is curious to note the similarities between the opening Allegro con anima and the finale of Grieg's Piano Sonata also in E Minor . ....the sonata was revised and republished in 1887, and it is difficult to believe that this new version did not feature in the musical exchanges of the composer and is not merely that there are similarities between the first subjects of the two movements, there are also tiny touches which suggest this Molto Allegro haunted Tchaikovsky's creativity as he composed his far more sophisticated sonata structure"....he did dedicate his next piece, the Hamlet Overture to Grieg....

You can hear and see for yourself the truth of the above in this excerpt from the sonata....this may help to clarify the issue....

Albert Gasparo

In David Brown's biography of Tchaikovsky Vol. 4 page 148 the author mentions that the introduction of the Fifth Symphony represents a quote from Glinka's "A Life for the Tsar"....the first two bars of this aria are almost identical with the first four bars of the theme of the introduction to the symphony which then is played in all the other three movements and finally reaches its apex in the finale....if interested one can turn to page 56 of the piano vocal score above and see for oneself....but be alerted it takes time to download the lengthy score.....

Albert Gasparo

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This page was last updated on 05 November 2013