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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5

20 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 10 February 2012

Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony is the middle of a last, great trilogy of symphonies whose musical ideas, the composer admitted, address great issues of Fate, Death, and Providence.

Stephen Johnson explores the connections between Tchaikovsky's last three symphonies, written at a time when the composer was struggling with depression and fears over his homosexuality.

How do these masterpieces intersect with the composer's own troubled psychological state? And how much can we really read into the way that their themes and motifs develop and intersect as emblematic of Tchaikovsky's own inner world?


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