Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B Minor “Pathétique”

Sunday 1 December


Balmain Town Hall

Adult $25 | Concession $15 | Children $15 | Children 2 are free

Brian Buggy OAM, Conductor

SYO Philharmonic

BRAHMS Academic Festival Overture

TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 6 in B Minor “Pathétique” Op. 74

This symphony is Tchaikovsky’s last work, and it is universally hailed as one of his finest.The first movement is conventional in its form, but the mature composer exhibits a sense of tight construction, and weaves the movement with his characteristic contrast of exciting, dynamic motives and delicious lyrical melodies. The second movement is one of the most well known of his symphonic movements, cast as it is in five-four time, an absolutely innovative use of the metre in art music (is it not unknown in Russian folk music). 

The main theme and its manipulation is so smooth and adroit that it is altogether easy to forget the unusual time signature, and simply experience the music as being some kind of waltz with a “limp.” The third movement is an exciting and optimistic march, but the heavy brass and snappy rhythms notwithstanding, it doesn’t seem a military march at all. The final movement in many respects is the characteristic movement of the symphony.  It is most unusual in that it ends softly—very softly.   No Romantic symphony had ever ended that way—they end loud and with a bang—right?   And great applause!  But in this case the agony and beauty of this reflection of the composer’s life and experience terminates in a final expiration that is remarkable for its challenging softness.   “This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.”  Hold your breath . . . and then respond.

© 2015 William E. Runyan

Additional Information:

Young children are welcome at Sydney Youth Orchestra concerts. For all performances, children two years of age or older must have a ticket (even if the accompanying adult intends to sit the child on his/her knees).

Doors will open 30 minutes prior to the start of the event.

Please bring your ticket to display at the door and gain entry to the venue.

Concert programs are available for a gold coin donation.