Destiny: the fatal power that stands as a threat between human beings and their happiness. Anger and jealousy put a spanner in the works and always cast a dark shadow. This timeless theme also figures in Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony. As turbulent as his life, the work shows the composer alternating between heart-rending romanticism and subdued classicism – expressive, personal and unconventional.

It must have been a desperate Tchaikovsky who, in warm and sunny Italy, gave shape to the ice-cold opening measures of his 4th Symphony. His marriage, which was to provide an acceptable façade for hide his homosexual leanings, ran aground after just a few months. Devastated, he fled from Moscow, first to Saint Petersburg and later to Paris, Switzerland and Italy.

There he found liberation and peace, and an emotional outlet in his music. He finished his 4th Symphony, among other works, in Italy, delivering an intensely autobiographical composition. He tried to encapsulate his whole life in the symphony, with imagination and fate as the common thread – for, as he put it, “the power of fate is too powerful ever to be overcome – merely endured, hopelessly.”


Johannes Brahms
Konzert für Klavier und Orchester Nr. 2, op. 83
soloist: Nikolai Lugansky, piano

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Symphony No. 4 in F minor, op. 36

A historic recording with Leningrad Philharmonic & Yevgeny Mravinsky (generally considered the reference performance) and a contemporary version from 2017 by Liverpool Philharmonic & Vasily Petrenko:

discover more

finale: allegro con fuoco

Enjoy London Philharmonic Orchestra's 'Cymbal Moments' - clapping along allowed!

watch the clip

this is tchaikovsky

Enjoy almost nine hours of music by Tchaikovsky including dancing swans, exploding cannons and brave nutcrackers in this Spotify playlist.

listen to the playlist

symfomania! (8+)

Playing, singing, drawing, listening... and mostly: enjoying Tchaikovksy’s music! Discover this fun kit for young music loving do-it-yourselfers.

download symfomania! diy


update: consultative committee 3 December 2021

From Monday 6 December onwards, indoor events and concerts are limited to 200 sitting audience members. Ticket holders of this concert on 17 December will be contacted by CCHA. More info.