The Unspoken in the Programme of Symphony 4 by Tchaikovsky Cover Image

Премълчаното в програмата на Четвърта симфония на Чайковски
The Unspoken in the Programme of Symphony 4 by Tchaikovsky

Author(s): Natasha Yapova
Subject(s): Fine Arts / Performing Arts, Music
Published by: Издателство НМА „Проф. Панчо Владигеров”
Keywords: Russian Music; Tchaikovsky; Fourth Symphony; Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

Summary/Abstract: The article reflects on the famous quite often quoted programme of the Fourth Symphony, written by Tchaikovsky himself in a letter to Nadezhda von Meck. On the basis of the analogy between the opening Symphony theme (“theme grain”) and a Great Ektenie it is argued that the existential issues that keep the composer’s attention have received artistic response through borrowing of Orthodox musical material. Sin, Death, The Last Judgement, Redemption, Salvation – these are significant categories for the notorious Russian composer, adopting also the spirit of the doubt concerning his contemporary European Romanticism. While approaching to the church music with Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, following the Symphony, outlines an entire area of church music, this approach is implicit in the Fourth Symphony and appear itself in a number of next composer’s works – more intimate or emphasized, with borrowings in the musical material or through other thematic and symbolic referenses.