One of Piotyr Ilych Tchaikovsky’s most emotional and subjective symphonies, Pathétique originally was skewered by critics while being simultaneously adored by audiences. Tchaikovsky was not known for his compositional subtlety, and this piece rivals any of Tchaikovsky’s others as far as drama is concerned—as is also implied by the name, laden with connotations of passion, emotion and inevitable suffering.
Unbeknownst to Tchaikovsky was that, as his sixth symphony, Pathétique would be his last. Appropriately, the raucous work ends with a foretelling double bass line that slowly dies out, mimicking a grief-stricken heart pumping its final beats of life.
Also on the bill for the evening will be a pair of Maurice Ravel works that should both match the Tchaikovsky in entertainment value while bringing the overall mood of the night up a few notches— enter the Suite from Ma Mére L’oye (Mother Goose) and Shéhérazade.