Stirred by Tchaikovsky

“V for Vendetta” is, unequivocally, my favourite movie. Beyond impressing the principles of the protagonist, it has also had a deep impact on several aesthetic aspects in me. For a start, my blog “Ideas are Immortal” is a paraphrasing of V, when he proclaims “Ideas are bulletproof”.

Another subtle way in which this impeccable movie influenced me was by kindling my interest towards western classical music. Those of you who have seen V for Vendetta would immediately recognise the role a famous piece of music plays in the plot. The piece is orchestrated by V at the start of the movie on the terrace, and also befittingly used at the end of the movie. That scintillating piece I learnt was “1812 Overture” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. And that is, clearly the point in my life where I consciously started seeking more of western classical music and thus I attribute my favourite movie to having introduced me not only to the ocean of western classical music, but also to the maverick composer — Tchaikovsky.


Portrait of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Ever since, I have consciously tried to groom my uncultivated sense of western classical music. For, I quickly realized it was more than what you hear or see in a performance. In my understanding, it also captures the epoch in which it was composed and invariably each of the greatest pieces of western classical music comes with inspiring tales.

Returning to Tchaikovsky, I soon discovered he was as versatile a composer one could get and have been proclaiming him to be my favourite composer. This also emanates from  the deeply moving story of his life. I will let the reader, you, to discover his life and shall only focus on ranting about my amateur admiration of his music.

As “1812 Overture” was the first Tchaikovsky’s composition I was introduced to, it only baffled me all the more to see that he’d composed, unwillingly, the most popular ballets ever: The Nutcracker and Swan Lake! These, he believed, were not challenging him as a composer and yet was forced to compose. These are still the most popular pieces of concert music played by orchestras world-wide.

Of late, I have started “listening” to his symphonies and trying to grasp them. And as yet, I am oscillating between his Symphony No.1 and Symphony No.6.

Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.1, subtitled “Winter Daydreams”, is seen as a landmark composition in Russian symphony music. He had completed composing it, when he was 26 (!) and is simply breathtaking. As a lucid lover of melody, the main melody in “Winter Daydreams” reverberates through all four acts in various forms and grandeur, and leaves the keen listener filled  with emotions, that only great art such as this can.

Tchaikovsky’s last symphony, Symphony No.6, which is popularly mis-attributed as  “Pathetique”, was performed for the first time just 9 days before he died at the age of 53. Tchaikovsky considered it to be his masterpiece and it does impress the listener easily. It has been widely debated and discussed, and the interpretation I really connect to is that the symphony is a metaphor to life. It captures all the energy, troubles, chaos and ends silently like a wave drawing back from the shore. The final act has a calming effect and invariably leaves me mellowed down. This is unlike most other symphonies, where the final act is when the crescendos grow to take over and end usually with a big blast of energy.

There’s five more symphonies by Tchaikovsky alone, and I’m certain there’s a life’s worth joy in savouring them and all other masters of classical music.

Abstract art forms such as music and painting are the elixirs of life. And I sincerely hope, there’s nothing like too much of it!

PS: I found these resources on Tchaikovsky and Symphonies highly insightful.

About Raghav/Raghu

A fortunate mass of hydrogen cloud conscious enough to be contemplating that very fact.
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2 Responses to Stirred by Tchaikovsky

  1. sadhukkam says:

    Good 2 c that u moved towards WC. Taking solace in WC is a way of finding a complex beauty in music. All abtracts are complex. I suggest u 2 listen Guiseppe Tartini’s Devil’s Trill Sonata.

  2. Pingback: Swan Lake in the city of Bach | Ideas are Immortal

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