On the evening of Wednesday, September 25th, I had the pleasure to go to a concert by Davidson Orchestra in which they performed Tchaikovsky’s Symphony #5. Though I consider myself a relatively big classical music fan, my main go-to pieces are mainly from romantic musicians, like Mozart. I had never actually heard music by Tchaikovsky before, so I was really excited about this experience. As the first movement started, I was overwhelmed. Tchaikovsky started off the piece with a kind of solemn sentiment, by repeating the theme over but each time with deeper notes. As the piece progresses, the mood became brighter and brighter. It reached its peak during the fourth movement. As the sound goes up, my body starts shaking with the music and my feet start tapping according to the beat. At that moment, I truly felt like I was in the middle of the story that this symphony was trying to tell. This experience has truly been amazing and I wish I will go to more orchestra performances in the future.
Now I’ve decided to write my research paper on Russian music, I found this experience even more valuable to my understanding of Russian music. Tchaikovsky composed Symphony #5 in 1888, which is kind of the end of the glory of the Russian Empire. However, Tchaikovsky, because of his achievements, is an epitome of the Russian or even European classical/romantic music genre and can provide us what the popular taste of music was during the Imperial Russia Era.
We can still there’s a clear change of music style after the Soviet Revolution. Before the communists took power, popular Russian music is very close in style with the rest of Europe. Composers like Tchaikovsky were greatly influenced by their counterparts in rest of Europe. After the communist took power, however, the regime attempted to differentiate itself culturally with the rest of capitalist Europe by imposing a unique Soviet culture. Leading artists under the Soviet Union, such as Sergei Prokofiev, had to erase the “bourgeois” elements in their works and politicize them by glorifying either the wit of the Soviet people or the leadership of the Communist Party.