Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony number 5 in E minor, Op 64

The South Birmingham Sinfonia performed this symphony as part of the Summer 2015 concert.

Tchaikovsky's fifth symphony is an ever-popular work, and frequently heard. It is in four movements:

Tchaikovsky's fifth is a cyclical symphony with a recurring motif representing "fate" that is present in all four movements.

After a slow introduction, introducing us straight away to the "fate" motif, the first movement is a clever combination of march rhythms in 6/8 that give way to delicate waltz time in the second subject. The movement ends in a slightly unexpected way with the marching going off into the distace.

The second movement is a lyrical piece featuring a well-known melody on French horn. However fate is never far away, and the fate theme appears twice, the second time even more sudden and insistent, before the movement can return to relative tranquillity.

The third movement is, appropriately, a waltz. "Fate" returns at the end, transformed and apparently more subdued, and this prepares for the opening of the final movement which will develop these music ideas to greater depth. The main part of the finale is in a brisk martial tempo, leading ultimately to a final affirming coda marked "Presto".