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THESE CONCERTS ARE SPONSORED BY THE ATHENA T. BLACKBURN ENDOWED FUND FOR RUSSIAN MUSIC
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, nicknamed Pathétique to describe the emotional turmoil evoked by its lush orchestral writing, anchors this program led by conductor Nathalie Stutzmann. Listen as the music twists its way through moments of touching tenderness and overwhelming passion before arriving at a deeply introspective final movement that has floored audiences since the work’s premiere in 1893. The program opens with three choral works by Johannes Brahms inspired by Classical mythology and featuring the SF Symphony Chorus.
For more information, including full program notes, visit the San Francisco Symphony’s digital program book platform at sfsymphony.encoreplus.app or text “SFS Concert” to 55741.
At A Glance
“I certainly regard it as easily the best—and especially the most ‘sincere’—of all my works” Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky said to a friend of his Sixth Symphony. He wrote another, “Without exaggeration, I have put my whole soul into this work.” However the premiere, led by the composer, was met with some puzzlement. The music seemed, somehow, “unfinal.” Yet the second performance, just three weeks later, made a powerful impression. Why? Between the two first performances, Tchaikovsky died unexpectedly. What a bewildering experience it must have been for early listeners of this astonishingly soulful piece, which ends with music that simply passes beyond our hearing.
—After notes by James M. Keller and Michael Steinberg