Category Archives: Symphonies

The End of an Ambitious Project

At the beginning of 2012 I decided to listen to a different symphony every day of the year.  I began on January 1st with a recording of Kalinnikov’s Symphony No. 1 in G minor by Kiril Kondrashin and the Moscow … Continue reading

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88: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 Little Russian

The symphony takes its name from the use of Ukrainian Folk Songs; Ukraine often referred to as Little Russia in Tchaikovsky’s day. Tchaikovsky wrote most of his second symphony while staying with his sister’s family in Kamianka, Ukraine. He finished … Continue reading

Posted in 1850-1900, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Russian, Symphonies, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

89: Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 2 “Lobgesang”

The printing press was invented by German inventor Johannes Gutenberg in 1440. For the first time, men could mass produce the written word. No longer were all books and Bibles tediously copied by the hands of monks and scribes. Knowledge … Continue reading

Posted in 1800-1850, Felix Mendelssohn, German, Symphonies | Leave a comment

90: Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4 “The Inextinguishable”

Our second Nielsen symphony on the list is another symphony about conflict and struggle. Nielsen’s Fifth symphony was written in the aftermath of World War I; his Fourth would be written in the midst of it. The idea for the … Continue reading

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91: Nielsen’s Symphony No. 5

Carl Nielsen began writing his fifth symphony in 1920 in the aftermath of World War I. He says he was not consciously thinking of the war when he wrote it, but “not one of us is the same as we … Continue reading

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92: Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4

In 1935 Joseph Stalin was shaping Soviet Russia into a new world. Russia was still largely agrarian, uneducated, and backward. He feared the Western nations and was determined to catch up to them. He began industrializing the nation at an … Continue reading

Posted in 1900-1950, Dmitri Shostakovich, Russian, Symphonies | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

93: Sibelius’s Symphony No. 6

Jean Sibelius’s Sixth Symphony was completed in early 1923. While Sibelius did not indicate a key in the score it is often given the key of D minor, which is the saddest of all keys, I find. I don’t know … Continue reading

Posted in 1900-1950, Finnish, Jean Sibelius, Symphonies | Leave a comment