A Continuous Dialogue: Bartok, Hayden & Tchaikovsky – Naomi Yoran

In many aspects, last week’s concert was for me a continuation of the previous concert, performed two weeks ago: Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony followed his 5th Symphony, Bartok reminded me of Vali’s Symphonic Poem and a "Lion of a conductor"–Christoph von Dohnanyi followed his "younger self"–Manfred Honeck. No need to mention the "constant PSO",
except that somehow, under the batons of great conductors, the
orchestra sounded as though it climbed up to a higher level of

I perceived the last concert as a continuous dialogue. Bartok’s Divertimento (which I had never listened to in a live performance before) was "conversing with" Haydn’s Symphony No.88 in its bygone Baroque style of a Concerto Grosso. The historical gap had more than a touch of irony: Bartok’s
music, composed at the start of the horrific WWII reaching out to the
last cheerful & witty years of Paris, just two years before the
French Revolution. Haydn had no clue– delight & humor all the way.  Bartok
knew better… And even through the beautiful melodies, the dances
& folk music one could feel the agitation & nervous disposition
of the composer.

The dialogue between Tchaikovsky’s "Pathetique" & his 5th Symphony
is obvious. In a way, I always percieved his music as being the most
autobiographical of all other composers. As though there is no need to
read his biography in order to know the rollercoaster of his emotions.

The 5th Symphony "told me" of his final reach for greatness & victory of spirit. His 6th Symphony
was final. Tragically so. Did he know when composing it that his last
notes on this earth will forever evoke pain and dispair? We will never
know. The speculations over his sudden death, just days following the
first performance of this most passionate music is going on for more
than 100 years. Personally, I do not believe that he took his life. I
do believe that emotionally he was (again…) in a state of mind which
perceived itself as facing doom & faliure. In retrospect, it
offered so many composers after him, inspiration in their need to
express similar emotions and it allows us all to have a dialogue with
personal pain transformed into art

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