Symphony Saturday

Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor is very, very new to me: I first heard it a week ago, after I posted about the Symphony No. 1! I don’t really have a great deal to say about this symphony, actually. It’s a very nice work, and it would undoubtedly be a lot better known if it hadn’t been so overshadowed — along with the First and Third — by the back half of Tchaikovsky’s symphonic output. The Symphony No. 2 abounds with the feel of Eastern European folk music (he actually used Ukrainian folk songs in the work), and Tchaikovsky’s typical fine and transparent orchestration, with some wonderful writing for the horn, strings, and woodwinds.

This is a fairly short symphony, clocking in around 35 minutes. Apparently Tchaikovsky revisited the work some years after its initial composition, and thus we now have two versions — the original (which ran 40 minutes) and the revised version, which the composer preferred. Critics and musicologists have argued compellingly for each version, but I tend to defer to the wishes of creators in such matters.

Here is Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor.

Next week: The Third Symphony!

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