(Born at Votkinsk, in the government of Viatka, Russia, May
7, I84o; died at St. Petersburg, November 6, 1893)
IT IS TRUE that in more than one page of his symphonies Tchaikovsky narrowly escapes the reproach of vulgarity; but the earnestness, the sincerity of the speech makes its way even before the development and the amplification make them seem inevitable. The heart of Tchaikovsky was that of a little child; the brain was that of a man weary of the world and all its vanities. And so we have the singular phenomenon of naïveté, accompanied by a super‐ refined skill—and all this in the body and mind of a man fundamentally oriental in his tastes and especially in his love of surprising or monotonous rhythms and gorgeous colors. The very modernity of Tchaikovsky, his closeness to us as the spokesman of the things we think and dare not say—these qualities may war against his lasting fame; but in our day and generation he is the supreme interpreter by music of elemental and emotional thought. The emptiness of life obsessed him, and in the expression of his thought he is again the man of his period. When faith returns again to the world, his music may be studied with interest and curiosity as an important document in sociology. But in the present we are under his mighty spell.
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Publication information: Book title: Philip Hale's Boston Symphony Programme Notes:Historical, Critical, and Descriptive Comment on Music and Composers. Contributors: John N. Burk - Editor, Philip Hale - Author. Publisher: Doubleday, Doran. Place of publication: Garden City, NY. Publication year: 1935. Page number: 343.