Select section for details. The Symphony No. In the first ten years after graduating from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in Tchaikovsky completed three symphonies. After that he started five more symphony projects, four of which led to a completed symphony premiered during the composer's lifetime.
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As for the numbered symphonies, Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. Unlike its two predecessors, Symphony No. On 15 April , about a month before he began composing the symphony, the composer sketched a scenario for its first movement in his notebook, containing " Like the Symphony No. Unlike No. The Symphony is in four movements :. The symphony displays an overall tonal trajectory of E minor to E major. The first movement ends in the minor mode, which allows the narrative to continue through the rest of the symphony:.
The recurring main theme is used as a device to unify the four movements of the symphony. This motto theme, sometimes dubbed "Fate theme",  has a funereal character in the first movement, but gradually transforms into a triumphant march , which dominates the final movement. A typical performance of the symphony lasts somewhat less than 50 minutes. Motto Theme, mm.
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Primary Theme 1 PT1 , mm. Primary Theme 2 PT2 , mm. In the exposition of the first movement, the initial tonality E minor is relatively unstable. A D major tonality slips in and out E minor as V of the relative major G major , but not until mm.
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The exposition concludes in D major after integrating part of the PT1 into its cadential moment mm. Motive X frames the secondary theme group by preceding the ST and reiterating D major afterwards. The development consists of four distinct sections. The first section exhibits a sequence based on the PT1 superimposed with motive X. This is accompanied by a bass line that diatonically descends over an octave and a fifth.
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The second section develops the head motive from PT1. The shifting meter from 6 8 to 3 4 , and diminished sonority m. The third section is a brief allusion to the PT2, interrupted by a fugato based on PT1. Motive X returns strongly and insistently in m. This can be interpreted as an effort to re-establish sonority in D. The re-transition to recapitulation is rather abrupt, yet a clever use of common tone modulation can be observed.
The recapitulation of this movement follows the convention of sonata form. The second movement begins with the continuation of the tragic sonority in B minor, as if the movement will be in the minor dominant of the tonic of the symphony. Instead, a common chord modulation leads to a D major theme first introduced by a solo horn. Theme A1 1st horn : . Theme B clarinet in A : . Compared to the stable A section, the B section exhibits instability in many ways.
Moreover, the segmentation of a theme, fugato texture, and rapid shift of hyper meter contributes to the instability of this section. In this movement, the motto theme appears twice: from mm. The third movement is a waltz,  with some unusual elements, for example, hemiola and unbalanced phrase structure at the outset of the movement. These elements take over the movement in the trio section, which is a scherzo. The scherzo theme initially played by the first violins can be seen as a superimposition of 4 4 over 3 4. Hemiola is used again as a transitional technique mm.
The waltz returns, but with the texture from the scherzo.
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The return of the motto theme in the third movement, preceded by a waltz in a major mode, recalls the opening of the symphony,  but with a hemiola element:. Introduction — Motto Theme: .
The exposition of the last movement begins in E major, whilst the D major sonority seeks to establish itself. Unlike the first movement, there is an early statement in D major, as well as in V 7 of D major mm. A passage of key oppositions, increasing harmonic rhythm, segmentation, and rapid changes of themes culminates at m. The development is very brief, lasting about 60 measures.
In the recapitulation, a new melody is superimposed over the texture, but never returns. Following this, the coda succeeds in reemphasizing the tonic, using different themes and many cadences in the tonic. Hemiola is used again as a transitional technique mm.
The waltz returns, but with the texture from the scherzo. The return of the motto theme in the third movement, preceded by a waltz in a major mode, recalls the opening of the symphony,  but with a hemiola element:. Introduction — Motto Theme: . The exposition of the last movement begins in E major, whilst the D major sonority seeks to establish itself. Unlike the first movement, there is an early statement in D major, as well as in V 7 of D major mm.
A passage of key oppositions, increasing harmonic rhythm, segmentation, and rapid changes of themes culminates at m. The development is very brief, lasting about 60 measures. In the recapitulation, a new melody is superimposed over the texture, but never returns. Following this, the coda succeeds in reemphasizing the tonic, using different themes and many cadences in the tonic. Some of the themes used here are the motto theme m. Some critics, including Tchaikovsky himself, have considered the ending insincere or even crude. After the second performance, Tchaikovsky wrote, "I have come to the conclusion that it is a failure".
Despite this, the symphony has gone on to become one of the composer's most popular works. The second movement, in particular, is considered to be classic Tchaikovsky: well crafted, colorfully orchestrated, and with a memorable melody for solo horn. Possibly for its very clear exposition of the idea of "ultimate victory through strife", the Fifth was very popular during World War II , with many new recordings of the work, and many performances during those years.
source site One of the most notable performances was by the Leningrad Radio Orchestra during the Siege of Leningrad. City leaders had ordered the orchestra to continue its performances to keep the spirits high in the city. On the night of October 20, they played Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. As the second movement began, bombs started to fall nearby, but the orchestra continued playing until the final note. Since the war it has remained very popular, but has been somewhat eclipsed in popularity by the Fourth and Sixth Symphonies.
Critical reaction to the work was mixed, with some enthusiasm in Russia. On the symphony's first performance in the United States , critical reaction, especially in Boston , was almost unanimously hostile. A reviewer for the Boston Evening Transcript , October 24, , wrote:.
Of the Fifth Tchaikovsky Symphony one hardly knows what to say In the Finale we have all the untamed fury of the Cossack , whetting itself for deeds of atrocity, against all the sterility of the Russian steppes. The furious peroration sounds like nothing so much as a horde of demons struggling in a torrent of brandy, the music growing drunker and drunker. Pandemonium, delirium tremens, raving, and above all, noise worse confounded!
The reception in New York was little better.
A reviewer for the Musical Courier , March 13, , wrote:. In the Tchaikovsky 's Fifth Symphony Musical purists objected to the use of a serious symphonic work for a ballet. Passages from this symphony were used in the motion picture Maytime , starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. The music appears not only in some of the background score, but also in the form of a sung pastiche invented by Herbert Stothart as a fictitious French opera entitled Czaritsa , composed by the character Trentini for the lead soprano MacDonald. It is alleged  that a fragment of the "fate" theme is quoted by Dmitri Shostakovich in his Symphony No.
This is supposed to mean that the destructive force is of Russian origin, and so the underlying message in the Leningrad is as much anti-Stalin as anti-Hitler. However, this assertion is virtually impossible to substantiate in practice. The second movement was featured in the film Lucas Part of the second movement was given English lyrics under the title ,  recorded by Glenn Miller and Chet Baker among others.
An instrumental arrangement was recorded by George Greeley on his Warner Bros. The beginning of Annie's Song by John Denver is almost identical to the first horn theme in the second movement, but it seems this was unintentional and only pointed out to Denver by his producer Milt Okun. An arrangement of the second movement was used in a prominent s Australian advertisement for Winfield cigarettes,  with the slogan Anyhow, have a Winfield sung by a choir to the movement's central theme.
The ads were presented by Paul Hogan , who also used the arrangement as the theme for his Australian comedy show.